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Short Story Written by Dexter Amoroso

Come with me, imagine with me as we enter this incredible city in nature together. It must have been on a Saturday, early morning, and the second week of Dexter's family in Singapore, since they arrived from the Philippines due to his wife's overseas assignment.

While his two little boys were spread out for a silent game of hide-and-seek, he watched what felt like quite a drama unfolding that morning. Apparently, Singapore is one of only two cities in the world, Rio de Janeiro being the other one, to have an old growth rainforest within its city limits. "I. . .I. . .saw a black spitting cobra," the frightened Dexter whispered incoherently to his wife when he tried to narrate what he had seen, quite a drama unfolding as he stepped out of their back door this morning. However, he managed to take a picture with his mobile phone, of the bold iguana that was sticking around, and he showed it to his wife. Perhaps nature knew he would tell a story about it.

At first, he thought a huge red-legged leafy grasshopper-like insect was already dead. Paralyzed with fear, Dexter stood rooted to the ground as he detected movement from its antennas and the legs that remained. Some of the legs that had already been detached, were twitching, as if still putting up a fight. He watched for several moments, contemplating whether he should get involved. After all, this is nature. "I was simply an observer of some of what we might consider "cruel" features of nature," he maintained.

As he watched, he couldn't help but consider that perhaps if he was in the same plight, rather than having some cold observation of "nature" at work, he would like some kind of compassionate intervention .

"It's one thing being attacked in a jungle with nobody around, but this was unfolding on my doorstep", he said to himself and feeling some sense of responsibility to do something. He could not help but make the connection to tragedies going on all over the world. Most of us can say we had no direct involvement in any of the suffering that takes place.

The world, is like a jungle sometimes, people suffer invisibly in eyes that feel compassion or responsibility to do anything. If we aren't responsible for the suffering, it's easy to feel absolved from the responsibility to do anything about it. We have our lives to live with our own challenges. It would be very easy to get consumed in the full time service of others - directly trying to lift the "ants of suffering" out of another person's life.

The First Truth in "Four Noble Truths of Buddhism" is that suffering, pain, and misery exist in life. All living things suffer, therefore it doesn't sound like even a heroic effort to eliminate suffering, would succeed, though at least making an effort where you can, will help reduce or alleviate suffering.

"Although I couldn't save all the giant leaf-like grasshoppers in the jungle that day, I could certainly help that one in front of me," he sneered.

Granted, it no longer had back legs and would easily fall victim to the ants again if he simply relocated him. "God gave man dominion over animals (Gn 1:26), so it is not immoral to euthanize a grasshopper in such a condition," he contemplated the most compassionate thing he could do - squish it and end it fast.

Once he had pulled him from the pile of ants and they scattered away, it seemed to bring new life to the grasshopper. His legs started moving with greater vigor, as if he had renewed hope. And as the last ant fell away from his eye, it was as if he was looking at him. And in moving his mouth, it seemed he was saying something, like, "thank you."

He looked at this creature on death's doorway, contemplating a compassionate kill. Yet, he paused, just watching him move what legs remained, the mouth and antennas all moving with renewed life; something did not feel right about smashing it.

At that moment, an iguana moved from the roof. He didn't pay much attention to it, at first. But as he continued to watch the grasshopper moving, he wondered if it was in pain from the earlier dismembering, he decided it was time to smash it as that was probably the only option at this point, plus he needed to go to the grocery store.

Just as he picked it up to move it to the road (he didn't want to smash it on his front doorstep), the iguana made its way over to him. It was miraculous timing. The iguana offered him the option of a fast kill, without having to be involved, himself. He threw the grasshopper in the direction of the iguana. Startled at first, he skirted away. He could see him looking at me. . .and then the grasshopper, made eye contact after, as he did, when he removed him from the previous ant attack.

He sauntered over to the grasshopper and in a quick motion, he had the grasshopper in his mouth and in two gulps, he was gone, suffering no more! He felt like he was on a Safari in Africa!

Time stood still as he watched it all unfold and contemplated its meaning.
The iguana was in no hurry to run away. In fact, it walked over to where the ants were still working on the two legs. It gulped up the legs and even took a few swipes at the ants scurrying around, looking for their main course. It looked at him again, and came a little closer. As bizarre as it sounds, it felt like nature unfolded through the ants, grasshopper, and iguana, telling a story, but suddenly, a snake bit him. With his eyes closed, he retraced the steps, squinting into his interior vision to recall that personal experience in as much detail as possible until. . .

"My foot hurts, Jen!" Dexter whimpered in pain as he narrated to his wife what had happened. When Jen heard the husband's story and found out that the snake had bitten him, tears rolled down her cheeks like rivulets.

Minutes later, Dexter died of snake venom.

The End Dexter Amoroso is the author of "Rustic Charm" and "STAY-AT-HOME-DAD: Makin' Popcorn & Wiping Asses: Their Turn to Pop is Coming, but Don't Poop at the Same Time!" , a former quality professional who has changed careers and wants to enter the world of teaching.

He subscribes to Gardener's Multiple Intelligence as it is one of the highest truisms, but he adds another intelligence called "intuition". And he argues that intuition is the highest form of intelligence as it can identify and target a particular thought or feeling. Intuition is instinct. . .you don't think at all but it just comes to your mind. . .a thought, a feeling, a gut feel. He believes that intelligence cannot be measured only by the ability to do one task. As per what institutionalized education does to gauge intellect. Exposing children to various stimuli will expand their horizons. This will also deepen them as individuals.

While at home, fathering his two little boys, he formed a small team and named it Mount Thesis. They assist clients in their thesis writing. They are Mountain Guides like Mt. Everest Sherpas. They guide climbers, they are ahead because they lead. . .but clients climb with them, so they learn, too.

Becoming a father is the best job he has ever had.

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