One summer evening, Leonard, the lazy lightning bug, was lazily flying around at an altitude of about five feet above the forlorn, tortured surface of State Route T.

Yeah…lazy Leonard felt safe at this altitude, because ya see, Route T is so bad that the traffic has to slow down to traverse the rough fissures and craters along most of the really rough road!  Especially down by the creek, east of Bible Grove, MO.  This is where the “action” is in the lightning bug culture.

Leonard had a “crush” on Betty Beacon.  The trouble was that Leonard was kind of “slow geared”, to say the least!  So, Betty Beacon wasn’t particularly interested in lazy Leonard.  Betty did think he had a cute glow as lazy Leonard looped around though!

“Careful Leonard!” yelled Grady Glowplug,  Leonard’s friend.  “Ya gotta watch out for vehicles at this altitude, ya know!”

“I know,” said Leonard yawning.  “But the traffic crawls thru here.  It’s too rough for most folks to drive fast thru here.  I’m cool!”

Leonard was right.  Most drivers could only make progress, as if they were navigating a cow path in Botswana, or Togo, or Albania, or Paraguay, or Nepal, or Zululand!

So, Lazy Leonard lollygagged along, just coasting, while trying to get a signal from Betty Beacon to “come on down” by the creek, to hang out, or something.

What Leonard and Grady Glowplug didn’t realize at that moment was that a “desperate housewife” driving a 2005, burgundy, GMC Denali, was hurtling down the road at a frightening speed!

This was one of those “desperate housewives” that actually speeds up to cross railroad tracks!  She’s been known to charge thru the potholes in a bad parking lot with reckless abandon, laughing all the way! “ho, ho, ho!”

About this time, Betty Beacon’s friend, Charmin Electra, said, “Let’s give those boys something to think about, Betty!”  Charmin Electra lit up like a Christmas tree!  And, so did all the other lovely lady lightning bugs!

Now, the reason that State Route T was in such bad shape, was that all the money in Missouri seems to flow toward St. Louis, K.C., Branson, and Springfield, like it was being sucked down the darned drain!

I guess rural Missouri doesn’t carry much “clout” with the “powers that be” in Jeff. City.  The “Big Shots” would have meetings and study pie charts to determine where to spend tax dollars. Listen in…

“What is this insignificant little blip on our nice pie chart?”  It doesn’t even look like a wedge!  More like a porcupine quill!”  “Route T?”  “Well, this year, they only get three 5 gallon buckets of asphalt, and four wheelbarrow loads of gravel!”

“We need to build overpasses in K.C., and underpasses in St. Louis, and more intertwining color coded bypasses in Branson, and skyways in Springfield!”

“Let them eat cake!”

Now, back to Route T.  Our desperate housewife is zooming down the really, rotten, rutted road as if it was the German Autobahn!  Her theory is that if you can get up enough momentum, you can fly over the potholes, rather than fall in them!

She may be right.  Her vehicle has over 286,000 manical miles on it!

Fred Firefly joins Leonard and Grady Glowplug.  They are excited about the ladybug lite show!  When Fred exclaims, “Look out you guys!  There’s a car coming!”  Milo Meal Moth scoffs at Fred Firefly, “I got all the time in the world!  Traffic really slows down thru here!  I’m really attracted to those headlights though.”

SPLAT!

“Eew!”  “That was a juicy one,” the desperate housewife says, kind of grossed out!

Luckily, thanks to Fred Firefly, Leonard and Grady escaped to a higher altitude, just in time!  But, Milo Meal Moth met his Maker!  He got creamed on the windshield!  He should have listened to Fred.

Later…I’m trying to wash the dried bug juice off the windshield of a 2005 GMC Denali.  The last place I stopped in N. Kirksville to get gas, the windshield washing container was bone dry!  So, now I’m watching the attendant of another gas station watch me try to clean the dried bug juice with the “slurry” of bug juice that he has so generously provided.

“Why doesn’t the jerk buy some gas,” he’s thinkin!

As I’m smearing the windshield, I remember that I recently voted for a rather “Pricey” gas tax.  The tax called for ½ to go for roads and ½ to go to the Missouri Highway Patrol.

It failed.

So now, I’m thinkin, “I wonder what would happen if we passed a gas tax increase that would be less than one that failed, but that would go mostly for roads?”

It’s like “fix the damned roads!  They are dangerous!  People are dying!”  Then the law enforcement, which are good folks, would have roads that they could drive on to enforce!  Then we could do some funding for their needs later.  I hope the “powers that be” in Jefferson City would remember the rural roads!  I know, that’s ‘aiming kind of high’.

Epilogue:

Catching up on our flashing heroes since this story was told…Leonard the Lazy Lightning Bug married Betty Beacon, after a whirlwind courtship of 20 minutes!  They had a multitude of children.

Fred Firefly married Charmin Electrra, who became famous!  They reside in Hollywood Holler, CA.

Good ‘ole’ Grady Glowplug stayed a bachelor, happily watching Route T traffic go by…just “bumping” along.

Davis M. Burrus

Note: 5 lightning bugs, 6 meal moths, and 1 screech owl lost their lives during the telling of this tale.