While out for a drive…
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The Mourning Cloak

Before I was a teenager I collected butterflies. My butterfly of choice was the mourning cloak. It was rare around here then; and I haven’t seen one since. Still, I was quite determined to capture one of these beauties. I had fantasies of pinning it down on the mounting board, and putting it in my collection. Of course you have to neutralize the little beasts first, but I had my trusty cyanide bottle, that I had gotten from Professor Summers, an entomologist who lived around the corner.

I was out one spring day on a collecting expedition, and on that day it seemed that all butterflies were rare specimens. But then… What was that?!!! There it was, fluttering on a branch, with it’s huge dark reddish-purple wings flashing gold on it’s outer edges. I ran towards it, and made an awkward swing with my net. No! I missed it! He flew off, but then landed not far away. Supercharged with adrenaline, I attempted a stealthy approach. I swung with a broad, smooth movement, and this time the prize was mine.

It seems strange, but I have no memory of what ever became of that collection. I have only a book of color plates of butterflies from the university that my father had gotten for me.

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