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A sleek black beetle went shooting across the floor in front of my feet.   Otherwise occupied, I said, “look, beetle, if you be patient I’ll take you outside.  But you’ll have to wait a sec.”  The beetle wheeled around, came back toward me and shot underneath the toe of my sneaker.

Not the brightest move but maybe it knew I once rescued a roly-poly out of a floor drain in a 7-Eleven, then carried it outside to deposit in the grass in a really rough neighborhood in downtown Milwaukee.

I’m sorry.  A roly-poly shouldn’t have to meet its end in a pile of cigarette ash.  And it was too a rough neighborhood; my 96-year-old godmother lives there and she hardly ever goes out at night.

When eventually I scooped the beetle up it panicked and began to run.  I didn’t drop it but there was no way I’d get out the door and across the street to the lone grassy spot without losing the bug, who was darting around my hand all willy-nilly.

“Beetle,” I said.  “I’m going to take you outside where you’ll be happier, but you’re going to have to sit still for a couple of minutes.”  I was clutching a kleenex, meant to subdue the bug.  It tucked itself into a fold, rear-end out, and sat there.  I waited.  It waited.

Finally we went outside, across the street and to a bush.  “Here you go, beetle,” I instructed.  It took a second; it can take all day to collect a bug and another one to convince it to go but eventually we both were on our way.

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