by Amelia Beckerman
A week in, it feels like the bugs have always been here. Dad, always quick on the uptake, wastes no time outfitting the house and cars in cicada-resistant armor. The windows and screens are all checked, locked, taped down. He finds a mosquito net, from a mission trip Charlie took during his Jesus-phase, and builds a fort around the front door. When you want to go outside, which I do not, you first have to get goggles and an old auction paddle from the mudroom and follow a carefully choreographed routine that involves opening the door a sliver, sticking your arm through the hole, and waving the paddle around like the only remaining painting of your great-great-grandfather has just been placed on the auction block.