Dr. Optera’s Intelligent Bugs

Dr. Optera’s Intelligent Bugs
by Wendy Nikel

Dr. Cole Optera leaned in toward the tiny six-legged creature. Its unblinking eyes stared back at him.

“Come on,” he whispered. “Say something.”

The creature sat silently. Its leg twitched. Not precisely the sign of intelligence he’d been hoping for, not after all his time and effort. Not after all the ridicule.

Optera sighed and set the beetle back in its enclosure. There was still something wrong with his methods, some factor he wasn’t considering. He rubbed his head and squeezed his eyes shut, trying to concentrate. When he opened them, he caught sight of the digital clock, its bright red numbers chastising him for being up so late, for skipping dinner (again), and for drinking too much coffee past sundown.

Resignedly, Optera stumbled to the hotel-room bed and threw himself upon it, still fully clothed in the slacks and button-down shirt that he’d donned for his conference presentation so many hours before. He flicked off the light on the beetle, still sitting perfectly still in its enclosure.

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