Jul 15

Moth on the Blvd: A Story of Hope & Heroics

Category: chooch

Henry had to work for a few hours this morning, so Chooch and I were over here unsupervised. I decided that I didn’t want to make coffee so I woke him up and suggested that we walk down to Brookline Boulevard so I could get an iced latte from Cafe Noir. I used to hate Cafe Noir because it moved in when Cannon Coffee closed, and the first latte I had tasted strange, not bad per se, but just kind of off. However, I’ve been there numerous times since then and the lattes have been phenomenal so now I think it was a problem with the soy milk that day? MAYBE IT WAS ROTTEN?! I don’t know.

Anyway, Chooch and I made it all the way there without disaster or talking to strangers or getting bit by dogs. I guess it was too early for domestic disputes, and the bars weren’t open yet, so the Boulevard was pretty quiet.

Las Palmas didn’t even have their insanely popular taco cart set up yet — it was that early.

Even too early for any strippers to be leaning all slinkily inside doorframes. (Chooch and I actually passed a trio of suspect hookers/strippers the other evening. When I mentioned it after we walked away, Chooch said, “Oh I didn’t notice. Why do you think they’re strippers? Because the one had on that that black shirt that was open all the way down to her bellybutton with a small bra underneath—”

And I interrupted to say, “Yeah and she had on that leather—”

“Choker,” Chooch finished knowingly. OK but yeah, he didn’t noticed.)

But yeah, back to this morning.

We made it to Cafe Noir, where I finally got my morning fix and Chooch ordered his Arnold Palmer with a strangulated stutter and then dwelled on it for the next minute, and probably even longer had we not noticed a small lump on the sidewalk two storefronts up from Cafe Noir.

At first I thought it was a furry leaf, but upon further inspection, Chooch and I found out that it was a MOTH! The largest moth I ever saw in real life! It was laying on its side with its wings together, so it just looked like a basic moth. I didn’t like that it was sitting out in the path of walkers, joggers, bikers, skaters, dogs, future serial killers who love to pull wings off beautiful things….so I said urgently to Chooch, “We have to move him. He’s not safe here!”

Chooch dove headfirst into the deep end of the animal rescue pool. If he was wearing long sleeves, this would be where he rolled them up in a serious LET’S DO THIS motion. JUST LIKE ON TV.

Ever since I was a child, I was always told DO NOT TOUCH A MOTH BECAUSE YOU WILL RUB OFF THE POWDER FROM ITS WINGS AND IT WILL DIEEEEE. So I have never touched a moth or a butterfly because I’m not a murderer.

Of animals or insects, that is.

So I grabbed the nearest leaf and gently tapped it against the moth’s legs or whatever they’re called.

And it was at that moment that it twitched and sat up straight, and in the most dramatic fashion it spread it’s huge wings open wide to reveal the grandest markings I have ever seen on this side of a slideshow in a darkened science classroom.

Chooch and I cried a seriously impressed “WHOA!” in unison, and leaned in closer to admire this total babe all spread out in front of us. People were walking by giving us double takes, because what are those dummies looking at, last night’s puke? A discarded syringe?

NO, JUST A GIFT FROM NATURE, RIGHT HERE IN FROM THE RECORD STORE. YOU WOULDN’T UNDERSTAND.

I swear to god, this majestic moth was the size of half my hand. We expected it to fly away now that it’s wings were open, but it still just sat there.

“Maybe it’s injured,” I said sadly. We tried a few more times to move it, to at least scoot it over closer to the window of the record store where it was out of the direct path of foot traffic but it was becoming increasingly clear that it wasn’t going to budge.

“We can’t do this without something sturdier to slide under it. I hate to leave it but I don’t think there’s anything we can do for it without touching it with our hands and I don’t want to hurt it!” I cried.

“Too bad we don’t have like, a plastic lid or something,” Chooch shrugged hopelessly as we started to walk away. And then 10 feet later, no lie, there was an old red tupperwear lid laying on the sidewalk.

WHAT ARE THE ODDS, ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? IT WAS A FUCKING OMEN! Just like the time Chooch was singing some semi-obscure song from the 80s that I can’t remember at the time of this writing, and then it came on the radio at Eat n Park. He has a bit of magic in him I think. OR HE’S REALLY GOOD AT HIDING HIS SORCERY SCHOOL SYLLABUS. Why did I capslock that, who knows with me, I have blogging dementia. 

Chooch grabbed the magically materialized lid and we excitedly ran back to our post-caterpillar charity case and if this were a silent film from the 20s, the caption at the bottom would say HELP IS ON THE WAY! as Chooch and I crashed into each other and fell into a heap of incompetence and idiocy.

With steady concentration and determination, we were able to scoop the moth up on the lid. There was a small grassy area — you know, like a tree bed or whatever you call those parts of sidewalks that are grassy with flowers and bushes and usually some small trees too — a few feet away from our starting point, and I made it almost all the way there before the moth flopped back onto the sidewalk.

“Nooo!” Chooch and I yelled with unbridled anguish. We sat back down on the sidewalk, trying to essentially tickle the moth back onto the lid with a leaf.

An old man stopped.

“Wow, that’s a big Monarch butterfly!” he exclaimed and we were like yeah whatever guy it’s not a butterfly, probably, but we don’t know, so maybe. (Actually, we used our Phone a Friend lifeline later and asked Chris via text, who confirmed that it was a moth so…..sucks to be wrong, old man.)

I explained that it appeared to be injured so we wanted to move it out of harm’s way so that he wouldn’t think we were mothnapping it for our bug prostitution ring or something.

“Oh it’s injured?” he repeated.

Well I mean it’s NOT FLYING AWAY SO EITHER HELP US OR LEAVE, OLD MAN, UGH.

He lost interest and left.

But then a couple who had passed us earlier paused on their way back. The man part of the couple got real close to us and asked tentatively, “So, what’s going on here?” while the girl part of the couple stood far back, shaking her head in an UH UH, NOPE, NO BUGS FOR ME fashion.

We sighed and explained once again our mission, but this man, this kind brave avuncular soul said to us, “Oh, I have something that I can help.”

He set down the shopping bag he was carrying and I waited for him to pull out the butterfly net or the Magic Moth Dust jar, but instead it was two Avon flyers. He placed one on the ground, on either side of the moth, slowly pushed them together until the moth was in the middle of the makeshift gurney, and asked us, “Where we taking it?”

Chooch pointed to the grass next to us, and our wonderful Samaritan gently laid the flyers down and let the moth free in its new safe haven.

“Oh my god, thank you so much!” I cried.

“Oh, you’re welcome! I like helping animals too. Oh, and while I’m at it….” he said, pausing to reach into his shopping bag for the chloroform-soaked handkerchiefs to help him turn Chooch and me into the latest items of his People of Brookline trafficking catalogue. “—I’m helping my daughters sell Avon, so you keep that flyer and here’s an Avon book, too,” he said, handed me all kinds of Avon literature, which I happily accepted because I’d rather wear gross Avon perfume than a chloroform handkerchief any day.

The guy’s name was Marcus, and I will never forget him.

As we parted ways, saying one last goodbye to Moth, we turned just in time to see a man walking his pug straight into the path of where we had originally found Moth.

“DID YOU SEE THAT?!” Chooch yelled with his hand over his chest like a Golden Girl. “THAT is why we had to move that moth!”

I wholeheartedly agreed.

We walked the rest of the way home, sucking on our Cafe Noir drinks with the force of two firefighters, exhausted and dehydrated from putting out some 5 Alarm blaze, recounting our Super Big Exciting OMG Can You Believe It Morning, adrenaline pumping and egos flaring. Then Chooch and some old man crashed into each other on Pioneer Ave, and then awkwardly stood in a weird embrace as the old man struggled to regain his bearings, and Chooch wiped his Arnold Palmer spills from his shirt. It was great to watch as a third-party bystander.

As soon as we got home, I sent Henry this text:

He literally had no fucks and negative cares to give about this. Chooch and I were extremely offended.

“What exactly did you save it from?” Henry went on to text from work.

“Imminent death?!” I replied, like duh, what a dumb question, and Henry replied that he thought I was being a bit extreme.

*************************************************

“Why didn’t you just pick it up?” Henry asked me just a little while ago, so I told him about what I had learned as a kid.

“Didn’t you ever hear that?” I asked.

“No!” he laughed, and his outright skepticism made me google it just now and turns out IT’S NOT TRUE! So I basically missed out on 30+ years of moth touching? I did read a lot of things just now that say while it won’t kill moths and butterflies, it could still shorten their lifespan and handling them incorrectly could fatally injure them. So probably it’s for the best that we didn’t pick up Moth with our fumbling, uncoordinated meat-mitts. I also read that they like to play dead, so hopefully that means Moth wasn’t actually injured, but just in some type of self-preservation mode.

A few hours ago, Chooch and I walked back to where we left Moth, and he was gone! We took that as a good sign, that Moth presumably flew home to his family in….a bush or wherever they live, with Saturday morning donut crumbs from Party Cake bakery. What I refuse ti believe is that some dumb dog devoured him or that it hopped out into the road and…..don’t make me spell it out for you. :(

God, it feels great to be a hero though. If I was a Girl Scout, I bet I would have earned a badge.

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