Kaleidoscope #1: Slices Of Life – The Book I Found

Written by: Curtis Neo (20-O4)

Designed by: Poh En Xi (20-E3)

I looked around me. Grass, grass, and, of course, more grass. Welcome to — well, I wouldn’t know what you would call it. Eunoia’s front lawn? There’s this huge space, full of nothing but grass, just waiting to be used. The college held a competition to see what students could make in this space. Ha! So much for that. What a shame.

Well, considering that I’d already made the journey here, I might as well take a walk around the perimeter. It was a rather pleasant place after all. Imagine having a picnic session here. Heh. That seemed rather interesting. I shelved that idea away in the back of my head, for future reference.

As I continued along my way, I saw something lying on the ground, minding its own business. Drawing closer, I came to realise that it was a notebook. Wonder what it’s doing here, away from the general student population. Maybe it just wanted some alone time. 

Well, common courtesy dictates that I should leave the things that do not concern me alone. 

As if! I sat myself down on the lawn and started reading.

Try to enter Eunoia after a particularly rainy night and take a good look at your surroundings. You’ll most definitely see them. Especially when moving about, keep your eyes on the ground, or risk an unfortunate encounter with them. Every day, dozens of poor soles are caught off guard by them, and are forever tarnished. As I am writing this, I am pretty sure one of them is stuck under my foot. They’re black, with yellow spots trailing down their bodies. Considering that you have picked up this notebook where you have, I can confidently say that, as a fellow Eunoian, I can pretty much guarantee that you’ve chanced upon these nasty buggers quite a few times already. Damned millipedes.

Then again, a wise man once said, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”.

Surely these disgusting creatures could be used in some other way that actually benefitted us. So, that got me thinking, what other ways could I make use of them? I started researching the topic.

One day, I had a rather interesting thought. 

‘Millipede research sure makes me hungry.’

I froze. That was disgusting! What was I thinking?

Then it hit me. Aha! So that’s how you use them! I’ve heard of people eating insects, but not millipedes. I should most definitely try it! 

And that brought me to my current situation. I was making my way to a disused room, near the carpark, to make preparations for the experiment. 

As I approached, I quickened my pace. I needed to finish this before my next class started. I entered the room and unlocked the storage cupboard, unpacking and laying out my materials. For this, I’d need a pair of chopsticks and a small glass bottle for the capture and transport of it. 

To maximise the sensations brought to me by my tastebuds, I had also prepared a blindfold, as well as noise cancelling headphones. I laid them out on the table. I was ready. Satisfied that there was nothing else left to do, I left.

After a very short walk, I’d reached my destination. The basketball courts. Occasionally, during PE lessons, you would hear the groans of disgust, whenever an unfortunate classmate steps onto a millipede. 

A really unfortunate day for both human and the millipede.

However, today was a lucky day for me. There were only two other people on the basketball court, both engrossed in their game. They probably wouldn’t care too much about some random guy at the other side of the courts. I also wouldn’t have to deal with weird rumours popping up about me either.

I walked around the court, letting my eyes wander, in search of millipedes. No easy pickings. How unfortunate. Well, a few did come about, but none of them were really big enough.

Plus, none of them in my vicinity were big enough. I’d just have to push on. After a couple minutes, I finally spotted one. 

Now that’s what I call a proper millipede! It was 6 cm long and well stocked in the weight department. It looked so delicious.

I let my shoelaces come untied and walked towards it. My shadow loomed ominously over it.

Sensing a significant change in luminosity, its instincts kicked in, screaming at the millipede to get out of there as soon as possible. It kicked its legs into overdrive, trying to get out of danger as soon as possible.

A commendable effort. Sadly, Lady Luck seemed to be on vacation today. 

I wiped away the imaginary saliva drooling out of my mouth and kneeled on one leg, pretending to tie my shoelace. With my other hand, I slid the chopsticks out of my pocket, picked up the millipede, put it in the already opened bottle, and slid it right back, all in one swift, fluid motion. Upon confirming that the millipede was in the jar and still in once piece, I properly tied my shoelaces, and promptly left the basketball court.

Back in the storage room, I brought the millipede out of the jar, and onto the table. I took down its measurements, and a picture, for future reference’s sake.

With that over, I gave my attention to the creature in front of me. Millipede. Mm. My stomach growled in anticipation. I rested my blindfold on my forehead and put on my headphones. The final preparations were now complete. I lightly petted the millipede, to get a rough sense of it. It had an extremely hard and bumpy exoskeleton. Given how soft it looked, it surprised me. The instant it felt my finger, it curled itself up. Further prodding did not change anything. 

It was finally time. The taste test would now commence. 

My right hand reached out and gently held the millipede between my thumb and index finger. My left hand placed the blindfold securely over my eyes. I waited for a minute to allow my body to adjust. My sense of touch and taste was now heightened. I could feel the millipede slightly squirming, as well as feel the individual body segments. This was unchartered territory.

As I brought the millipede closer to my mouth, I wondered what it was thinking. It had stopped squirming. I wondered why.

I tilted my head slightly up, and placed my hand directly over my gaping mouth. The moment of truth. I dropped the millipede in. For science!

I rolled it in my mouth with my tongue. My saliva began to start digesting it. I could feel the different segments slowly breaking apart, especially the legs. It was not too dissimilar to that of a prawn’s, just smaller, and much more numerous. Such a unique sensation. I’d never tried anything remotely similar.

I bit down. The juices shot out of the body, exploding within my mouth. It was like eating jelly. Everything melted together. The gooey textures of the innards, the now soft exoskeleton, the legs. I could feel it all. It was just so delicious. My mind could think of nothing to describe it. Instead, I just relaxed and enjoyed its wonderful taste.

After I finished every last bit of it, I took my headphones and blindfold off, and began packing everything up. Although saying that, I had no recollection of doing so. I was so taken by that simply amazing experience I just had, that my mind refused to process anything else. 

I thought — I might just have a new favourite food. 

With that, I concluded the experiment. The result? Millipedes are now in fashion.

Onto the next step!

RECIPE: Sambal Millipedes

Ingredients 

40x Yellow banded millipedes

1 tbsp Cooking oil

1 Clove garlic 

1 Sambal chilli

Spring onion

A dash of salt

Necessary preparations

Yellow banded millipedes are most easily found after rain. In Eunoia, they are most commonly and easily found on the basketball court

Bring a small bottle, as well as some chopsticks.

Rate of flow of millipedes onto the basketball court is highest at precisely 1 hour and 26 minutes after the rain fully stops. Plan your time wisely so as not to miss this golden opportunity.

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 tbsp of cooking oil in a pan.
  2. When the oil gets hot, fry the garlic until light brown.
  3. Pour in the chopped up sambal chillies and the millipedes at the same time. Stir for 3 minutes. 
  4. If desired, sprinkle salt to taste.
  5. Transfer onto a serving bowl and scatter spring onions on top.

I closed the book and shuddered. Just who was this person, and just what was this book? It needed to burn. I replaced the book exactly where I found it and sanitised my hands thoroughly. Whatever condition he was having, I didn’t want it.

I looked down to make sure I didn’t have anything stuck onto me as I prepared to leave. Just then, I spotted a little something on my shoe. It was black, and had yellow stripes along its body. It was pretty big too. I stared at it. A large drop of water fell onto my other shoe, dampening it. 

I looked up — had it started to rain? A cloudless blue sky greeted me in response.

I put my hand on my chin, trying to think where that drop came from. My hand felt…wet…

My eyes widened. I slowly angled my head downwards. It was still there. My stomach growled in hunger. My body and my mind became two separate entities. I bent forward and my arm reached out. I grabbed the millipede between my fingers. 

No! I screamed. Nothing came out.

Help! I continued. The hand brought itself closer to my face.

I desperately fought to regain control. No use. 

It kept coming.

Crunch!

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With great power comes great responsibility.

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