Worms. No, beetles. What am I talking about—spiders! When you helped Simon dismantle his garden shed, those great black horrors holding to the rotten wood. Or those white striped disc-like jumpers, flat as communion wafers, and fast, my god, in that guesthouse in Zambia. Worse than the attempted break in, I remember you said, worse than the stories from the other charity workers about the rapes and HIV. Kept you from sleeping, those spindly fuckers. Or that time the foot-long stick insect got up inside the back of your t-shirt, and you just thought it was an itch?
Ok, now I’m thinking. Wait. Of course. It’s not bugs, but the water. Sharks. Jellyfish, purple gelatinous globes hanging in the sliver of warmth where the sun just reaches down. But you navigate your way around those. Those, you can see. It’s sharks, isn’t it. From out of the black. The invisible deeps, sure, but even the shallows, you’ve seen the nature documentaries. Four feet is all a shark needs. Remember that time in the sea off Bundaberg, wading out? How about those Dutch girls from the zucchini-picking—now, they were liberal—their nipples cold and hard and all you could focus on was the water past the boats, looking for a fin. Even though other times you’d take your boogie board out at sunset and felt no fear. Its coming and going, catching like a breath. Is that what you dread?