"Crapping arse!" I shouted as I flexed my wings willing them to harden. I tried to think erotic thoughts but that didn’t appear to help anywhere.
I looked back at the chrysalis from which I’d just emerged then towards the glistening pool of water near my spindly feet at my reflection. I was a beautiful butterfly.
"Crapping arse!" I shouted again, louder.
"Whoa! Mind your language there gorgeous!" said a voice from nearby.
I turned and pretended to chew on something hard in my mouth to lend my pathetic face an air of menace. "You talking to me?" I asked the new arrival with the best attempt at a growl I could muster.
"Yeah, this is a nice area. You look like you should fit in well. Just, you know, tone down the language a tad."
"Fuck off beetle!" I told the beetle.
"Hey! There’s no need for that! What are you so angry about?"
I took the deepest breath my miniscule lungs could muster and then slowly – punctuating every word with a flutter of my attractively-coloured wings – I replied: "I. Am. A. Beautiful. Butterfly."
The beetle rolled his eyes.
"A butterfly! Me! That’s why I’m angry!" I half-yelled at the bug.
"Yeah, I can see why that would make someone angry," the beetle said with dripping sarcasm. "I should be angry, not you."
"And why’s that?" I said, feigning indifference as I beat my wings faster and glanced towards the sun in the sky wondering if it was going to ever harden the wings into something approaching usefulness.
"Well, I’m a beetle," he began. "Have you ever tried getting a date over the phone when you’re a beetle? Of course you haven’t. It goes like this: Hi, fancy a date with a beetle? No, no I’m not Ringo. No, I’m not the one with a penchant for one-legged weirdos either. No, I’m not the car with a mind of its own. Yes, that’s the sort. Hello? Hello?"
"Very upsetting, I’m sure," I hissed back. My wings, I thought, might actually be getting more rigid.
"You’re still angry," said the beetle.
"I’m not a happy bunny," I replied.
"Did someone call my name?" asked a beaming, furry abomination from the undergrowth. The rabbit emerged with a grin from ear-to-ear.
"Oh, fuck me," I half-whispered to myself.
"This beautiful butterfly right here is apparently deeply upset because he’s a beautiful butterfly," explained the helpful and irritating beetle.
"You’d be angry if you were a beautiful butterfly, believe you me," I added.
"I’m never angry!" smiled the rabbit. I treated it to an invented swear word that still carried across deeply offensive intention and watched its smile waver, but only briefly. That annoyed me too.
"You can’t help some people," said the beetle and he made as if to head off to wherever it was he’d been heading in the first place.
"Nonsense!" laughed the furball. "Owl can help anyone! Owl knows all."
"Really?" I asked. "Because if he’s just twice as useful as the pair of you combined then I’ll just throw myself off a cliff right now."
The beetle sighed and the rabbit rolled about in hysterics for several seconds while I watched with piddly little mouth agape. Eventually, I conceded that it couldn’t make my life any worse to at least see what the owl could do for my situation and the three of us left the glade in which my new life had recently begun so badly and set off for the allegedly helpful Owl.
Owl, as her name indicated, was an owl, and an apparently wise one. As such she was surrounded by scholars from the animal world and would-be scholars or never-would-be scholars from the animal world too. A hush fell upon the court of wisdom as the rabbit bounded in, the beetle walked in casually, and I flapped and sputtered all over the place bouncing off trees, sticks, the owl twice, the rabbit, and finally the ground.
"What a beautiful butterfly!" said Owl serenely. There was a murmur of approval from the throng and I made sure my under-the-breath exclamation of "Oh fuck off!" wasn’t too under-the-breath to be completely missed.
"Mariposa," said Owl, ignoring my comment if she heard it at all. "That’s what they call butterflies over the seas," she explained. There was an audible "ooh" from the surroundings.
"I’ve learnt something!" grinned the happy bunny.
"If it’s that you’re mentally retarded then I’d have thought one of your friends might have mentioned it earlier," I spat back at it.
"We’ve got a beautiful butterfly with a lot of rage," the beetle said directing his statement to the bird.
"Why are you so angry?" the owl asked me.
"Because I’m a beautiful butterfly," I said.
"You entered a pupa stage and formed a chrysalis around yourself and have come back to the world of light and colour a most majestic specimen of beauty," Owl said with a slight tilt to her head. "We all go through changes in our lives and yours is dramatic indeed, but it’s a wonderful change, a beautiful change, and surely things are better now than they were before?"
"How the fuck is this better?!" I gasped.
"Caterpillars are no butterflies," said Owl. The beetle nodded and there were rumblings of "that’s true, that’s true" from the various examples of animal life gathered around.
"Caterpillar? Who said anything about a caterpillar?" I asked. "Last week I was a pterodactyl with laser eyes and a machine gun and today I’m a beautiful butterfly and someone’s nicked my machine gun."
Owl looked shocked which was an impressive thing to witness from a creature with eyes already wide open and no discernible eyebrows on its white face. "That would piss me off too," she said quietly.
"Oh man, I’m so sorry," said the beetle patting my side with condolences.
"We didn’t know!" cried the happy bunny.
And I felt my bitterness lift a little.