Stick on the right there has suffered a double knee capping but is doing well. Other sticks are in fine health. Bout of stick plague seems to have passed. New ivy and brambles arrived today and not too soon!
On a more serious note the following private message was intercepted on the back of a leaf but we are still trying to ascertain its precise origin, it was annotated in inky footprints by a ladybird from freezing cold outer tank. It was seen flying off earlier today when we attempted a conversation in 7 dots (their language). We suspect there is a stick in our midst who has developed a taste for stick knees! And this is of some concern:
"What's got you stumpy? Oh a bit of kneecapping never did anyone any harm.
I couldn't help it anyway you were lying across my mandibbly bits! What did you expect would happen?
They needed pruning and they're 99% ivy anyway.
I do know everything - I may seem tactless insensitive and inexperienced but I've heard it all in my inter-kneecap-interviews-and-research-of-utmost-discretion (discretion is upheld at all times except on wednesdays, saturdays and anytime after 11am in the kitchen). And I've read the blog.
It wasn't my responsibility to make you feel welcome and safe here, it was orders from the boss. We're very close you know.
Oh you thought I was in charge? Well yes, I am.
No, I know some of you call it anti knee capping, but that's just a tank wide code for nibbling a bit myself while cunningly diverting attention away onto others who have probably lost their eyesight and can't tell the difference between a leaf and a knee. It's got better recently but I just -
they are so awfully tempting.
It is my real job.in the real world, not this pesky tanks for small sticks. I am a stick in service of grater things - like potato peelers, :scoff: and it makes sense when you realise that Anty is my title! I am Anty. I actually work for a wider network of superior sticks, called Anty Knee Cappings Incorporated. Didn't you know?
I'm so innocently savvily skilled at it that I'm in charge of recruits. Now that you do know you should be careful of your elbows. I have my eyes on them and won't hesitate to sway on over and SCRONCH."
It is most troubling but we will either perform a mass evacuation or continue to monitor with a view to countering these attacks. Will update you soon.
So, like, everyone hates me, ostensibly because I am the death stick. Or so they say. Whenever I come and eat near them they seem to start standing on their back legs with their arms in the air waving about like they can't see and soon after they loose their grip and fall to the floor and lie there on their backs for about 3 days or humm 180 days in equivalent stick time until they die having lost a few legs which just drop off in the mean time. The great ape has been collecting many of my former 'friends' and taking them for the burial service in the garden. It has been a tragic time.
They say when I shake my stuff at them it's all over, so now, rather than climb all over me and hang off my legs or try to eat my antennae as they would normally do, they all just stay the other end of the enclosure and talk amongst themselves. I hear things like - "nice legs twiggy" or "just because you have the power of life and death doesn't make you special you know" or " think you look like an orchid stem do you - more like a stem of grass" this kind of chatter goes on far more than I could have thought possible only half a lifetime ago.
They blame me, they think it's contagious and that because I am fine, and yet so many have fallen, that it is my doing. Logic is not a stick insect strong point.
Thankfully I happen to have escaped this turbid atmosphere a couple of times for a tete a tete with the great ape. She is really very nice for a humungus pink four legged; well two at least - I think the top two might be kinds of antennae but anyway. She says it might have been poison. That some of the other super apes hate all living things and want to kill them all indiscriminately. Some of the super apes enjoy the horrible forms of death like it's a drug. Anyway she was really sad and sorry and said a prayer for each little life that ended (little to her being so ma-hussive). She says we are little phasmids. In some places in the unimaginably large container the apes live in, we are even revered as sacred. Sacred. I think that is right. I think it means, magically great at swaying. Yes. We are special. One super ape, she said, said that no one cares about stick insects or insects in general but she cares. In some super ape containers insects are pretty much allowed to be tortured to death and no one tells off the other super apes. Anyway. I learned a lot with our super ape, she's not so bad. She let me ride on her shoulder while she drew a comic (which is like lots of sticks lined up with weirdly bright colours laid out behind them) she said its about our relatives.
After a long while, say three weeks in super ape time, or 4 years in stick time, the numbers of deaths dropped off. Thankfully. It was a sorrowful time, a kind of plague. Super Ape says perhaps it was just old age. Most sticks only live for 1 human year and as we had such a large population perhaps we got overcrowded and so the weakest died off. She did mention very very quietly one day that she had thought some Maple leaves were a kind of Oak leaf and that perhaps feeding them to us had led to some irritable stick bowel syndrome and the writhing death pains in some of our more unfortunate number. Agh.
So a quieter time has arrived and she brought us some actual Oak leaves which I must say are delicious. Only four people have died this week which is not so bad. We are still numbered about 50 at least, so can still sing our silent song, even if half the sticks in here are barky twiglets who I don't need or like very much. I am happier without them crawling on me and trying to kneecap me with their mandibly bits. If I need a chat I can just squeeze out from under the muslin and place myself somewhere decoratively for the super ape to find. She's always pleased.
You know, when you're hungry enough you'll eat the stalks too.
But we got air lifted again so things are better now.
She's put some weird new leaves in with the ever delicious ivy (which is at the moment the nicest variety with flowers) we aren't completely sure what they are, - the new ones. She, the super ape, is hoping they are 'pri-vet'. Her Tortoise parents said they always feed their sticks privet, but they did keep theirs in a jam jar which would be like hell in a cell. No wonder they never lived very long. :sadstickface: they meant well, just weren't into looking things up very much. ANYWAY as loud and hot handed as our super ape is, at least we have a bigger house than that, and well, we quite like it. No one has lost any limbs, well no one except Frank, he had a stump for a while until he shed that skin, and then he was fine. There's that one that still hangs like a V sometimes, but she's in a different tank now so I don't get to chat much. She cleans us out very often now, but we poo A LOT so its a good job. What can I say?! We aren't made of PLASTIC!! I tell you what though, you never smelled such sweet smelling poo anywhere in the universe. OUR TANK smells like very expensive perfume. How much do super apes in Tokyo Paris or Milan pay for their bottled version of what we produce out of pure love on a daily basis. Our super ape is very lucky and knows it too. Our communication lines are very good these days, so much so that she even helped me bring this message to you, all about the delicious scent of our many many bottoms.
PS I've taken up ballet.
We aren't actually in July yet, but it feels very balmy. Reminds me of our native land of Stindia. Ah Stindia, none of us have ever been there, so it isn't our native land exactly - just where we would feel most at home. Still its very warm lately and we hang around praising the Branch and Tree for it with our front arms spread wide. These truly are the MOST delicious leaves we've ever tasted, and so lush and full. The super ape has been going a bit ape though, it has to be said. She had the MOST ENORMOUS STICK you've ever seen and was holding it by it's tail and banging its head on the top of her tank and barking. I think she has a stereo on top of her enclosure like we did last week. She isn't very happy about it but seemed to cheer up when she sat and gazed into our little patch of jungle heaven. I think she'd like to hang upside down with us, except none of our branches would hold her. She is AWFUL HUGE. Imagine a branch big enough for her to hang out. WHaaaa. We could eat for a year.
Once again dear twigs we nearly starved to death. Stick 14 nearly bent double so empty was she, but thankfully no one has lost any legs and we still at last FULL count number 73 beautiful sticks in total. We have learned to count by they way, by lining ourselves up and moving one at a time into bunches of FOUR and then one of us lies across all the others and we call that a foot. Four feet make 20 etc. Its much easier counting in feet. ANYWAY I digress.
We nearly starved again, it was awful. 14 looked like an upsidedown "V' and we thought her tail was paralysed but she was just making a display of herself as usual. All that was left were stalks stalks legs sticks and stalks. And it was quite crowded since nearly all of us have shed our third skin which means we are truly beautiful and long and green young adult ladies… EXCEPT... FOR ONE.
Anyway as per the routine the Super Ape collected us all up very quickly this time, deftly I might say, and moved MOST people into a very similar glass house to the one we were in, with new, delicious, tasty, fresh food and shelter. We all knew what was what and just got on with repositioning ourselves until that evening's assembly on the rope weave ceiling. Until we heard Bertha wailing. Yes, at first very quiet, not even a sway, and then simpering, and then, wailing. She'd been separated from stick 57 her favourite hanger outer and well, we soon realised that quite a few of us were MISSING.
The super ape has separated us! Some of us are in a different tank now, and I hear they have far more room and but far less to eat so it's swings and roundabouts really.
SO about this unusual person. Well, lets call them stick 73. Stick 73 is, wait for it... BROWN. With speckles, positively bark like! We think she might be A MALE>
No one dare hang off of stick 73, we are all watching closely to see what happens next.
Oh and half of us nearly died of a heart attack. Never has there been such a noise and vibrations, we were shaking and wobbling as much as we possibly could but nothing we could do could help us blend with this force 10 earthquake. Super Ape has put us ON A SPEAKER. She calls it that but its BARKY LOUD. Then there were flashes. We expected rain, but nothing, just Super Ape saying "that one's weird, it's brown, is it a boy do you think?" NO idea who she was talking to, possibly me; I looked right into its chasm like eye and for a moment I thought we understood each other. Dear Branch, life is weird, but good, especially since we got some more room. Though a shame for poor Bertha. If stick 73 is MALE we are going to call him HORACE. Bertha got her name by accident, but HORACE if he's male is statistically unlikely at best and so almost a twigging miracle.
It appears we are not the only ones on intelligence gathering missions round here! Even I KING (lady) Pixie (Stick) Dragon was interrupted in mid munch and forced into inanimacy by the GIGANTISM of the freaky pink legless proportionately short broad stick hewman the size of ten ivy branches intertwined! It's FACE was up against the greasy wall and it's EYES are the size of our mid-nymphs' entire body length! I was happily munching and swaying with veritable pleasure when I saw it's great head lowering and rising again whilst holding what appeared to be someone quite like our great mother (rigid with terror of course) and leaving a trail of ivy juice on a small wall held horizontal in its enormous front foot. Truly it is a bizarre and monstrous thing, though I get the distinct feeling it is trying to communicate with us or it likes us at least. As the leader I am bound to speak on our behalf once I work out what kind of leaves it likes and can bribe it accordingly, ideally to leave our territory be, or at least to regularly replenish our area whilst handling us very VERY gently if it REALLY MUST keep putting its fantastically large and heated feet into our branches. Whenever it does we all meet on the sky net and survey the changes to our land - that way I can decide who gets to eat the new leaves and which of my number must remain on the dried and crispy remnant of last month's stock.
The human heard us - and restocked our ever shrinking enclosure. Stick 73 subsequently went on an intelligence gathering mission before being collected off the east wall by the ginormous pink one - and has reported the above layout and most frequent postural arrangement of the human when at home which isn't much lately. It appears to have a tragic deficiency of limbs and the feet?! We couldn't get a visual on quite how those work. Also a curiously curved back and folded up limb tendency. Not good. We like the wall paper though, wouldn't go amiss in our enclosure.
The >i< in stick has become iii we are many -stiiicks- now. The last >i< passed the top level stick accomplishment as best stick for 3 consecutive days after which she died. And we ©ame out of our eggs and are still growing, filling our world/˙|\ sometimes the branches are bare and great weather changes come, one by one we are ::shaked:: or some are fortunate to be lifted into a spaceship where we are all together at once, then the weather improves as we move back into our world all fresh and new once more. Its crowded though- we crowd on some leaves in piles of sticks which i hear is quite safe as more sticks means ∆confusing∆. Last time the world was so improved, though that nice scent had gone that spicy sharp IV lovely smell but the leaves were so much softer and so deliciously sweet. We are all so full and contented that every night we meet on the ceiling to catch some air or hang out till we shed our skins, if its that kind of night. We are more than the number of legs I have which is what the last mother said her number were. I think we might be more than the number of all our legs, no hang on that can't be right. †ø^¬˚^∆˙
IT is with some regret that I have to inform you that one of the sticks died today, "Sniff".
The mammal was insensitive enough to be heard muttering, "I'm so sorry'" before swiftly removing her body and the water vessel where she was contained. The ominous remark followed soon after when it mentioned "And then there were four".
Could it be that OUR DAYS ARE NUMBERED??????
The other sticks are so sad, they appear catatonic, but it's genuinely hard to tell with sticks - so stoic are they. On the other foot, there's about 34 eggs so that's quite good going. She was an elderly lady with a strong grip on things. She will be missed. but her hatchlings will be near identical so we only have 17 days to wait until she is everywhere again, (only more so). That is unless the scaly orange dude next door with the huge eyes doesn't get a special meal before hand!!! The mammal must be watched closely. If possible a new ambassador must be found by tomorrow sunset.
Hey white stick, you know what? We've been here before and we outlived you then just like we'll outlive you now. Oppression only makes us stronger, and while you show your weak hand and spend your energy on coming back to the start, we'll be finding out who's who and having a good time anyway. Because in heaven everything is fine.
I hereby call an emergency meeting of all 5 sticks. Adventure stick has stated his intention to undertake an as yet unimaginable journey out of the tank and right across the far reaches of the outer room. This evening amidst the turmoil of the mammals and the watery one, he spied a rather appealing looking alternative dimension. One we shall simply call REUSABLE SHOPPING BAG. One where there are no sticks and no leaves even. A cold alien world not designed for life. It is up to us to stop this madness or else hang loose and blend in. What is it to be fellow sticks? What is the alternative?
What? Sorry blue stick you'll need to speak up. Tell the mammal to look in the bag tomorrow night thereby saving Adventure stick from himself and restoring peace to our land? That might just work. Worth a try adventure stick seems as unstoppable as he is insane. He's lucky he doesn't live a very short painful life in a jam jar like some sticks.
Thank you people. Back to eating, hanging out and reproducing. Whoever is at the front of the tank will be in charge of informing the mammal wit the strangely puny front legs and weirdly large head section. Probably me again.
Observations: pose held for approximately 14 hours straight. Swayed convincingly for 30 seconds upon seeing enormous primate like face only inches away from my feet and feelers. Think it was fooled as I'd chosen my position so accurately right down to the middle left leg mid air poise. Looking forward to supper, humm, Ivy again.