Insect Author Felled in Late-Night Massacre

(Round up the usual suspects.)

I've been worrying since Cranky described her late-night adventure involving a gigantic insect visitor.
On finding a gigantic roach on her floor, CP reacted quickly, and (her words)

squashed the shit out of it.  I mean, seriously.  It was like something
out of Naked Lunch.  I think I squashed a little typewriter too.


I'm afraid she may have made a terrible mistake!
A cockroach with a typewriter? Who else could it be?
Here is Archy, in all his glory:

first drawing of Archy appeared Sept. 11, 1922, in a half-page
advertisement in the New York Tribune that heralded the arrival of Don
Marquis' column.

In the first picture he is shown complete with his own little typewriter, as CP reported her sighting, though I believe more commonly he employed Mr. Marquis' office machine, as in the second picture (with Mehitabel the cat in attendance).
Here the discovery of Archie in the offices of the New York Herald, as reported by Mr. Marquis:

We came into our room earlier than usual in the morning, and discovered
a gigantic cockroach jumping about on the keys. He did not see us, and
we watched him. He would climb painfully upon the framework of the machine
and cast himself with all his force upon a key, head downward, and his
weight and the impact of the blow were just sufficient to operate the machine,
one slow letter after another. He could not work the capital letters, and
he had a great deal of difficulty operating the mechanism that shifts the
paper so that a fresh line may be started. We never saw a cockroach work
so hard or perspire so freely in all our lives before. After about an hour
of this frightfully difficult literary labor he fell to the floor exhausted,
and we saw him creep feebly into a nest of the poems which are always there
in profusion.

Congratulating ourself that we had left a sheet of paper in the machine
the night before so that all this work had not been in vain, we made an
examination, and this is what we found:

expression is the need of my soul
i was once a vers libre bard
but i died and my soul went into the body of a cockroach
it has given me a new outlook upon life
i see things from the under side now
thank you for the apple peelings in the wastepaper basket
but your paste is getting so stale i cant eat it
there is a cat here called mehitabel i wish you would have
removed she nearly ate me the other night why dont she
catch rats that is what she is supposed to be fore
there is a rat here she should get without delay

In addition to reporting life from the cockroach perspective, Archie also recorded Mehitabel's life history (occasionally pausing to hide in the typewriter when she was looking a bit hungry).
Since Archie was last seen in New York City, perhaps last night's fatality was some other scribbling writer of a roach.
In any case, here's one of my favorite pieces from his work:

the big bad wolf

By Don Marquis, in "archy does his part," 1935

i went to a movie show
the other evening in the cuff
of a friends turned up trousers
and saw the three little pigs
and was greatly edified by the moral lesson
how cruel i said to myself
was the big bad wolf
how superior to wolves are men
the wolf would have eaten those pigs raw
and even alive
whereas a man would have kindly
cut their throats
and lovingly made them into
country sausage spare ribs and pigs knuckles
he would tenderly have roasted them
fried them and boiled them
cooked them feelingly with charity
towards all and malice towards none
and piously eaten them served with sauerkraut
and other trimmings
it is no wonder that the edible animals
are afraid of wolves and love men so
when a pig is eaten by a wolf
he realizes that something is wrong with the world
but when he is eaten by a man
he must thank god fervently
that he is being useful to a superior being
it must be the same way
with a colored man who is being lynched
he must be grateful that he is being lynched
in a land of freedom and liberty
and not in any of the old world countries
of darkness and oppression
where men are still the victims
of kings iniquity and constipation
we ought all to be grateful in this country
that our wall street robber barons
and crooked international bankers
are such highly respectable citizens
and do so much for the churches
and for charity
and support such noble institutions and foundations
for the welfare of mankind
and are such spiritually minded philanthropists
it would be horrid to be robbed
by the wrong kind of people
if i were a man i would not let
a cannibal cat me unless he showed me
a letter certifying to his character
from the pastor of his church
even our industrial murderers
in this country are usually affiliated
with political parties devoted
to the uplift
the enlightenment and the progress
of humankind
every time i get discouraged
and contemplate suicide
by impersonating a raisin and getting devoured
as part of a piece of pie
i think of our national blessings
and cheer up again
it is indeed
as i have been reading lately
a great period in which to be alive
and it is a cheering thought to think
that god is on the side of the best digestion
your moral little friend

archy the cockroach

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10 responses to this post.

  1. No—it was definitely not Archy! Archy is cute. this sucker was begging for death by tennis-shoe-mule.


  2. Great post. No, I don't think Cranky's roach had that much talent. He was probably just trying to write some emo poem.


  3. This was great. I never heard about Archie. I still do not like roaches. ewww


  4. excellent post here lauowolf. I wish I could say that it has changed my outlook on bugs, but, sadly, it hasn't. I will however, take a second to make sure that the next time I see a bug, that it does not have a type writer. If it does, I will try to constrain myself and will show it the door, if not, it will get squished 😉


  5. LOVED it!


  6. Oooooo, how deed I mees thees? Why am I using thee Frawnsh accent???Great post, lauo! I learned a lot, too.I always take my bugs outside whenever possible, but middle of the night would require shoe squishage!


  7. lauo- I tried to post to this a couple days ago but all the words were lying over each other and I couldn't read it. That's happened with other peeps' posts, too. Weird! Anyway, love the story- spesh the pics! Reminds me of some of the old cartoons.


  8. great post! i love archie now. he sounds just like my kind of bug.


  9. So, what are saying here? Archie is moral? Archie is literate?
    Large invading bugs are machine-gun fodder.


  10. Archie is shy and retiring, and spends much of his time cowering inside the typewriter when Mehitabel the cat ison the prowl.He also serves as a sort of Boswell to her Johnson, and recounts her history (and past lives).Maybe just spare any large bug bearing typewriter — or even any kind of writing materials — and you're fine.


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