RIP: Charles Allen Cricket

This morning, it is with differentially heavy hearts that we at Caterpickles must report the death of another male cricket.

As reported last Friday, The Nine-Year-Old’s first male cricket, Nicholas Nickleby, fell victim to a marauder.

Not one to be without a male cricket for long, The Nine-Year-Old toted home his replacement that same day. She named him Charles Allen Cricket, and introduced him to her female cricket, Debbie Davis, immediately after school.

The two didn’t exactly hit it off. In fact, they hardly even noticed each other, but The Nine-Year-Old didn’t worry about that too much. The Nine-Year-Old was certain that Charles Allen Cricket, with his lovely legs and clarion chirp call would win Debbie Davis over in due time.

In The Nine-Year-Old’s eyes at least, Charles Allen Cricket was a lovely cricket. Perhaps too lovely for this world, or at least the little bit of it that we had reserved for him. For although The Nine-Year-Old’s anti-cat defenses have improved significantly — Canelo wasn’t even able to get a decent whiff of cricket in the four days that Charles Allen Cricket lived with us — The Nine-Year-Old found Charles Allen Cricket belly up in the cricket habitat this morning.

Rest in peace, Charles Allen Cricket.

The Nine-Year-Old, dumping Charles Allen Cricket’s lifeless husk into the kitchen trash: “Mommyo, do you think Debbie Davis is a vampire cricket?”

Mommyo, fervently: “I hope not.”

The Nine-Year-Old, watching as Mommyo carries out the trash immediately, just in case: “I’m going to call this next cricket, Charles Allen Cricket the Second. It’s hard work coming up with all these names.”

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About Shala Howell

I spent two decades helping companies like Bell Labs, Juniper Networks, and a genetic testing company that was later acquired by CVS translate some of the world’s most complicated concepts into actionable, understandable English. Now I'm working on a much harder problem -- fostering children’s curiosity and engagement in the scientific, artistic, and linguistic world that surrounds them. The first book in my Caterpickles Parenting Series, What’s That, Mom?, focuses on how to use public art to nurture children’s curiosity in the world around them. My next book, Did Dinosaurs Have Belly Buttons?, is currently planned for release in 2018. In the meantime, you can find me blogging about life with a very curious Ten-Year-Old at, chatting about books and the writing life at, and tweeting about books, writing, science, & things that make me smile at @shalahowell.
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6 Responses to RIP: Charles Allen Cricket

  1. bobraxton says:

    recycle – we have collection receptacles to hold organic – on the way to our 32 year compost: one with a tight lid (smaller) beneath kitchen sink, one in a five-gallon “pickle” bucket which rests (with plenty of air around) and a lid inside a standard metal “garbage” can. From there, when the bucket is quite full, I go with garden fork to the massive (mostly fallen deciduous leaves) compost and turn in all the organic. Alternative to cremation. Earthworms wave “thank you” each time.


    • Shala Howell says:


      Maybe next time I won’t be so very icked out at the sight of a dead cricket. It would be nice to be capable of carrying the dead cricket out and giving it a proper burial in the condo building’s garden. Not that I’m admitting that a full fledged panic set in this morning, mind you, just that I have high hopes that whatever emotions happen next time will be easier to think around.


  2. Victoria says:

    Fare the well, Charles. We hardly knew ye.


    • Shala Howell says:

      Which when you think about it, is probably for the best (at least for Mommyo). Honestly, I mostly wrote this RIP post for Charles because it’s important to the 9YO that I write them for all of our pets, which apparently includes the crickets. She told me last night that she thinks Canelo attacks them all the time because of sibling rivalry.


  3. Pingback: “Can crickets die of fright?” | CATERPICKLES

  4. Pingback: What’s The Nine-Year-Old reading this week? | CATERPICKLES

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