Flour Moth/Luna Moth

by Emily LAWTON
 

Nicola made an unwelcome discovery inside the canister of Italian-seasoned bread crumbs: moths. Three flew out, one flying directly up and hitting her on the chin, before she snapped the plastic lid back in place.

“What the hell?” she said, because: how did those get in there? When was the lid off those bread crumbs long enough for larvae to be involved? Though perhaps it happens very fast. She tossed the cylinder across the room and into the trash can. “Tyler,” she said, “how long does it take for a moth to lay eggs?”

Tyler headed to the set of Encyclopedia Brittanicas and grabbed the M volume. He settled onto the floor, a look of grave concentration on his face. “M….o…” he muttered, flipping through the pages. The entry on moths had several illustrations, including one full-color photo of a Luna Moth with lovely pale green wings.

“Ah,” he said eventually. “It doesn’t say. Should I check on the internet?”

“Maybe later; right now I need you to run to the store and get some bread crumbs for me.”

“Crumbs?”

“Yes, that’s right.”

“Like what happens when you eat toast?”

“Yeah.”

“You can buy them at the store? Does someone save them from their toast?”

“Well, no…” Nicola started. “They make them special, for people to buy…” Tyler was looking at her skeptically. “See, they also have spices in them.”

“There could be spices on the toast when they eat it…”

“No, it would take too many people eating too much toast to make that many crumbs. They just dry out a bunch of bread and then crush it all up.”

“And people pay money for that?”

“They do, and in fact you’re about to, on my behalf.”

“Okay. But I disagree on principle.”

“I can live with that.” Nicola pulled the container of bread crumbs from the trash and showed it to him. “Get this kind, understood?”

“Sure, sure,” Tyler said, taking the five dollar bill she offered. He had a genius-level IQ and knew it, which made him sloppy about day-to-day things like purchasing products.

Nicola stared after him as he walked down the driveway, feet crunching the dry leaves collected on either side. The meatballs could progress no further until he got back, so she uncorked a bottle of wine and sat down on the Berber carpeting. The encyclopedia was still open to the photo of the Luna Moth. She pulled it towards her, taking a drink from the bottle. Then she read the entry start-to-finish, so she could know at least one of the things her son knew.

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