(a short story based on a dream by Timothy J. Verret)

NOTE: According to Dream Moods A-Z Dream Dictionary (, dreaming of lettuce represents growing abundance and points the dreamer back to a simpler time. Dreaming of putting an animal into a cage signifies that the dreamer will succeed in overcoming his or her rivals and fears; it’s also symbolic of one’s ability to control his or her animalistic rages and anger. And dreaming of crickets means the dreamer craves introspection, a need for guidance. If that last one about dreaming about crickets doesn’t describe me to a “T” as in “Timothy,” I don’t know what does😉.

Three crickets I once had on beds of lettuce in a cage. I cared for them as though my life depended on it….and it did. When I was weak, they were my strength. When I was sad, they were my joy. When I was passed over by well-meaning human friends who just could not see me or understand me, it was these three crickets on beds of lettuce in a cage who became my God. And it’s not that they belonged to me, you see. They didn’t belong to me, but I didn’t belong to me either.

One of the crickets on beds of lettuce in a cage, I named Bruiser. He was dark brown and green in color yet very light and sincere in heart. He cared for the other two crickets with great concern and an eagerness to appease them. Bruiser had been badly bruised in his short life, hence the name. I loved him as dearly as one who loves a yellow and red sunset tired from the “too much” of too much shining down on lost souls. Bruiser was the only one who seemed to truly want out of the cage. He would spend many nights “crying” to be free. I would have let him free, but what about the other two crickets? They really needed him, and he was always there for them. When one has been so bruised by life, one develops great empathy, great concern, and a great heart that seeks to bridge the very lost souls that the sunset I mentioned found to be “too much.” “Too much” was just enough for Bruiser.

Sasha was another cricket on beds of lettuce in a cage who was there for my greatest times of need from my greatest times of lack. To say Sasha was devastatingly beautiful is a huge restraint. What she lacked in manners, she made up for in majestic beauty. Yellow and maroon made many a cricket swoon! Sorry, I couldn’t resist that rhyme. Much like Bruiser, she showed great interest in the other two crickets. She was a bit of a braggart, though. It might have been because she was the only female of the three. She played with their emotions like one plays with an atomic bomb but tells others, “Gee whiz! It’s just a hot potato!” Sasha had a fling with Bruiser back in the day but when Bruiser leaned into Sasha so desperately from a “washed-out” life of wanting more than he could ever possibly get, what Sasha deduced as Bruiser being beyond human (or insect) help, she threw up her cricket arms one day and said, “Enough Bruiser. ENOUGH!!!!”

It was the third cricket (isn’t it always the third one if counting in such a forward way?) on beds of lettuce in a cage who captured me as much as I captured and caged him. His name was Jesus. A little darling of a cricket was Jesus, so fragile, so compassionate and, yes, so truly darling. Unlike Bruiser and Sasha, Jesus was very, VERY quiet. While Bruiser and Sasha rubbed their legs to drown out the sounds of their own personal anguish and ennui and, though they wouldn’t have ever wanted to admit it, their sheer boredom, Jesus hardly lifted his legs but only to find his footing on beds of lettuce. For Jesus to lift his legs to make any kind of statement would have been an abomination to him. The “strong, silent types” like Jesus settle into this world where if they think if they don’t make too much noise, maybe no one will notice how truly “gone” they really are.

It wasn’t but a typical day for three crickets on beds of lettuce in a cage that Jesus took ill. The first thing he and all of us noticed was his failed footing. Once entirely balanced and agile in his gait on beds of lettuce, Jesus was clumsy and weak when taking his quietly-determined steps. Sasha noticed it first and took it to mean Jesus was simply tired, as insomnia was Jesus’ cross to bear. Sasha blamed it on Bruiser’s sound-shattering snoring on his rare sleep-filled nights, but it was Jesus unable to quiet his little cricket brain that chased evil crickets down evil cricket holes. But this day, typical as it was, had Jesus “bed-lettuce-ridden,” drooped down from physical pain and a spirit of ghastly gloom. It wasn’t until the end of this typical day that Jesus passed away.

The death of Jesus had an effect on Bruiser and Sasha on beds of lettuce in a cage that I didn’t see coming. I expected depression and longing, but I didn’t expect that they would go the same route as Jesus, same symptoms and then same-day demise as Jesus. Three funerals back-to-back like this can really destroy a human’s spirit. It definitely destroyed mine.

I woke up today, not as a cricket on beds of lettuce in a cage, expecting the usual humdrum of living, better stated as uneventfully existing. What I didn’t expect, much like I didn’t expect the deaths of the three crickets on beds of lettuce in a cage, is that this typical morning I started to have their same symptoms. And given that all three crickets on beds of lettuce in a cage passed away on the day their symptoms first appeared, I am afraid that I will die by this typical end’s day. Please pray for me. I feel I have so much left to do in my living, better stated now with this doomed forecast as my need to more than just exist; it’s my need to actually live beyond my limited means, beyond the comfort I’m come to know much too well. This plea might not be anything worth mentioning, but I still don’t want to die for good and, most especially, die for anything I’ve done for bad.

I just remembered something unusual about Jesus’ demise that Bruiser and Sasha did not have or experience. Right before Jesus took his last cricket breath on beds of lettuce in a cage, all three of us – me, Bruiser and Sasha – saw the same vision. A looming and blood-red cricket in a white robe with 4 cricket wings, rubies and sapphires and emeralds planted in a bed of lettuce for the cricket’s crown, spoke these words: “I am Cricket. This is my cricket, Jesus, with Whom I am well-pleased. I am now going to take him away from you so he can go to My Home on Beds of Lettuce but NEVER, no NOT EVER, in a cage. He will be free and well forever more.”

I, too, was well-pleased with Jesus, as I was with Bruiser and Sasha. Now that everything is getting so dimly lit and excruciatingly “close,” will I, too, have this same vision when I’m near death? How would I know I had it if I’m already gone? Do you mind hanging around to find out? You see, I don’t want to be punished for keeping three crickets on beds of lettuce in a cage.

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