Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author

25 November 2013

Unprotected Sex in a Tuscan garden.




There’s no experience quite like that of leaning out of the unshuttered upper storey window of a country villa on a sensuously warm Tuscan summer night and looking out over a valley upon whose hillsides specks of light mark ancient villages. On the honeyed air comes the seductive perfume of nocturnal flora, the barking of distant dogs and the rustle of the leaves of chestnut trees

Below the window, upon terraces where moon-silvered olives share grassy slopes with vines and raspberry canes fireflies weave like drunkards with torches trying to find their way home. You can’t help comparing this to paradise; it’s all too unbelievably perfect. Those fireflies, they’re so beautiful that we would like always to think well of them, but to their magical world there’s a grisly, dark and sinister side.

Take two species: photuris and photinus. Be careful, those names are deceptively similar.

The female of the species photuris is a siren who eats male fireflies. She has the decency not to tuck into her own menfolk, but with diabolical cunning she copies and then imitates the light signals of that other species, photinus.

Having done so, like a Cornish wrecker she lures into her air space any hot and lusty young photinus bent on a bit of nocturnal nooky, but it’s neither sex nor a good meal she’s after, she wants a chemical called lucibufagins which photinus has but photuris hasn’t. Indeed, she needs it badly because once she has ingested it from the doomed dupe it will guard her from attacks by predators - spiders, bats and the like. They don’t like the taste of lucibufagins so they avoid any firefly that’s got it.

So when, in the northern hemisphere summer, you savour the night air of the Tuscan terraces and are wooed by the enchanting illuminations of those meandering insects remember to reflect upon the casual, routine murder that's taking place before your misty eyes; and weigh the astonishing notion that when the crunch comes, photuris actually benefits from unprotected sex.

Now there’s a twist!

[ENDS]


© DON DONOVAN. donovan@ihug.co.nz 
www. don-donovan.blogspot.co.nz or donovan0001.blogspot.co.nz


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Blurb

RANDOM SAMPLINGS F...
By Don Donovan