My neighbor is a twelve-year-old girl with a Venus flytrap. I have other neighbors, but they are not important.
This afternoon I called her to the bushes that divide our residences. She was riding her bike back and forth in the driveway, the pompoms on the handlebars rustling in the breeze. I inquired about her Venus flytrap, Tito, and she fetched the darling little hydra from her porch. Tito is a boy, she explained, because no girl would ever eat flies.
She won her carnivorous plant with a golden ticket at a school raffle. Her plant is far more intimidating than mine ever got before it was scorched to the root in a tiny, contained brush fire. As far as my neighbor is concerned, her plant is as good as a pet.
She found some black and yellow caterpillars on the porch and dropped one into each hungry mouth, which snapped shut like a bear trap. Two days have passed since the barbarian feast and the siesta continues. You can still make out the outlines of the little yellow caterpillars gurgling in acidic juices. The mouths are all still shut. Venus flytraps, the politest of predators, never chew with their mouths open.
Tomorrow morning, the carnivorous plant next door may very well explode into butterflies. Who will prevail, the predatory plant or the very hungry caterpillar?