Our flight was already erratic. You smiled, commenting on our fluttering path, admiring us as beautiful pollinators, but not as someone you would want behind the wheel of a car. So a bunch of us got together and said what the hell, let’s lean into this thing and get wasted.
It’s not a far leap from nectar to fermented fruit, just takes a little patience to wait for it. And not everyone was into it, but those who were gathered in the corner of the meadow by the old crabapple tree, and we had some drinks and some laughs. We laugh a lot, actually, even sober, but you can’t hear us, so we didn’t think you’d care. And we don’t know why you people expected anything different, but butterfly drunk is just chill. But of course you want to know every last detail now, because it’s all been monetized.
Anyway, we found out right quick that when we’re drunk, flight’s not just erratic: it’s impossible. We can barely lift off a flower before pinwheeling right back into the grass. So we just decided to hang out, and it was all good until you people noticed us and began visiting. Then the farmer threw up a sign and started selling tickets, and you had to get even closer, trampling more of us than you could imagine while moving in for selfies. Being drunk, all we could do was lie there for days (newsflash, we don’t have livers), hoping the Instagram princesses wouldn’t wipe us all out, lying back for their boyfriends to snap away for all their #drunkbutterfly posts.
Some of us managed to get out in time, no thanks to all of you buying “butterfly shots” from the farmer who owns the land. Few of us could resist the brightly colored “flavors,” really just different food coloring dripped into the same old fermented crabapple mash by the enabler at the helm of Drunk Butterfly Farm. Farm, he calls it. The only thing that old fart produces for consumption anymore is our dignity.
Too many of us are still trapped, dependent and helpless as you lift our inert bodies, still alive but with reeling minds, and place us on your knees or noses for your newsfeeds, just to throw us (or if we’re lucky, place us) back into the grass while reaching for yet another, always seeking something shinier, more beautiful than what’s currently in your hands.
Your entrance fees keep us in butterfly cocktails, docile and drunk. But we’re not bitter—or, more precisely, we’d be bitterer if we hadn’t first observed you, hadn’t fluttered far above you and watched you go inside, far away from the sun, to type and talk and scribble things onto paper and sit and type some more, before plying your steady paths to other places hidden away from the sun to sit and drink and tell stories of all the places you wish you were instead, then go home and sit and watch your storyboxes showing other, more beautiful humans flying more exciting paths to more bountiful fields than your own.
Do not misunderstand us: we do not forgive you, but at least we understand. We know why you pay to come to Drunk Butterfly Farm, why you yearn for some magical, winged thing to remain still long enough for you to pick it up and toss it aside for the next, and then—and this is the part you only dimly grasp—to watch you indulge in the luxury of walking away from it all.