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Chiton
Harry

When I started grade school, my mother decided that I should walk to school with little Harry, my next door neighbor.  Each morning, I knocked on their side door, and Harry's mother would let me in and have me sit by the door, on a stiff, wooden bench.  Harry was Armenian, and his home reeked of exotic spices and boiled things.  From the far end of the kitchen, Harry's mother and Auntie would hold court while drinking copious amounts of coffee.  As I patiently waited, Harry, his younger sister, or his father would dash into the kitchen, share a heated exchange with his mother or aunt - often in a strange language - and then dash back to the unseen and unknown remainder of their home.

It being the early to mid-sixties, when the first Star Trek series was all the rage, Harry often wore bright velour pull-on shirts, with several inches of zipper extending down from the neck.  As we walked to school, I would sneak glances at Harry's shirt's zipper; hoping that it might become partly unzipped.  It never happened.

I had decided that Harry and his family were giant insects.  They wore human suits that disguised their hard, chitonous bodies.  I wanted Harry's velour shirt to come unzipped so that I could sneak a peak at his assuradly green exoskeleton.  It was obvious to me that Harry's home smelled from the scores of ccaptured and cocooned humans stored, like kindling, in the unseen rooms, waiting to get ripe and juicy.

Children have little choice but to do as their parent's wish.  And, the ramblings of children often are ignored or misunderstood.  They catch tiny glimpses of how the world functions, but the big picture escapes them.  Consequently, taken as a whole, they are a rather fatalistic bunch.

Each morning, my mother sent me to Harry's house, where I waited to die.  I was resigned to the fact that, one day, I would suffer the same fate as those who had been stung, enshrouded in silken cocoons, and stacked for eventual consumption.  It was inevitable that, soon, my school chum would unzip his velour shirt, pull back his fake human head, and use his foreclaws to pull me into his razor-sharp mandibles.   I wondered if a child raised on mac and cheese, hamburgers, hotdogs, and grape soda would taste good to a giant insect from the planet Armenia.  It was only a question of time.