Warning: This poem contains bugs and bullying.
"The Girl Who Loved Bugs"
[Spring and summer of 2014]
Saffi Lyn Ancey had always
liked bugs, and enjoyed hunting
for them around her neighborhood.
Then the berettaflies swept through
Easy City, and interest became fascination.
Saffi Lyn spent her summer collecting
butterflies, ants, bees, and wasps while
her parents stood by in case anything
dangerous made it this far north.
It was a lot of fun.
When Saffi Lyn went
back to school in August,
though, it stopped being fun.
Her classmates teased her
mercilessly, calling her Bug Girl
and making antennae with their fingers.
Mr. Wigglesworth the science teacher
caught them and put a stop to it. He made
the mean kids go to the library and research
how everyone would starve if it weren't
for bees pollinating the food crops
or how garbage would pile up
if not for maggots eating it.
Then he pulled Saffi Lyn into
the quiet room and had a long talk
about hobbies and professions.
Saffi Lyn was excited to learn
that there were whole jobs for
grownups to do based on bugs.
She didn't like being teased,
though, and worried that if she
kept playing with bugs, that
would just get worse.
So Mr. Wigglesworth sent out
messages to entomologists,
asking them to help Saffi Lyn.
Both of them were
stunned by the response.
Entomologists around the world
posted open letters of support, talking
about the challenges that they had
overcome in pursuing their passion.
Colleges and museums invited
Saffi Lyn (sometimes including
her whole class) to visit them.
Facet and the rest of his hive
sent her an autographed picture
and another invitation to visit.
Stylet sent her a page from
his notes about the berettaflies
with a few rude words blacked out.
Saffi Lyn got so interested in a study
about how people and bugs interact that
Veta Strickland at the University of Florida
listed her as a co-author in the published paper --
and of course, encouraged her to come visit
the Department of Entomology and Nematology.
She had accomplished something that
none of her classmates had done.
* * *
Saffi Lyn Ancey -- She has tawny-fair skin, brown eyes, and straight ash-brown hair that falls just past her chin. She is currently 8 years old. She spends a lot of time exploring her neighborhood in Shreveport, Louisiana. Saffi has always been intrigued by insects, but after the Berettaflies incident, she became even more engrossed. Her classmates teased her about it, which made her upset and withdrawn.
Origin: Her powers are growing in gradually.
Uniform: The most durable play clothes her parents can find. Saffi doesn't care what they look like, unless they have bugs printed on them. She does love the Princess Awesome line of clothes.
Qualities: Good (+2) Methodical, Good (+2) Nimble
Poor (-2) Susceptible to Peer Pressure
Powers: Average (0) Super-Intellect (Naturalistic Intelligence)
Motivation: To learn about bugs.
Favian Wigglesworth -- He has ruddy skin, blue eyes, and curly ginger hair cut very short. He has a short mustache and beard. He wears glasses. He is married with four children. Mr. Wigglesworth loves science and kids about equally, and most of all loves introducing them to each other. He teaches at a grade school in Shreveport, Louisiana where Saffi Lyn Ancey goes. After he catches other students picking on her for her love of bugs, he puts a stop to that and contacts some entomologists in hopes that they will help.
Qualities: Master (+6) Sense of Wonder, Expert (+4) Father, Expert (+4) Grade School Science Teacher, Good (+2) Citizen, Good (+2) Naturalistic Intelligence, Good (+2) Outdoor Activities, Good (+2) Science Fiction Fan
Poor (-2) Needs Glasses
Veta Strickland -- She has tawny-fair skin, brown eyes, and short wavy chestnut hair. She is tall and sturdy, and she doesn't even try to hide it. She favors practical women's clothes with muted colors. She works in the Department of Entomology and Nematology at the University of Florida. With degrees in both entomology and sociology, she specializes in the relationships between insects and humans. As a feminist, she is particularly interested in getting more girls and women into the field of entomology. She excels at making connections across different subject areas. She feels a deep sense of responsibility for understanding and improving the world. However, those same qualities make her prone to butting in where she's not wanted -- an innate trait greatly exaggerated by the glass ceilings she had to break in order to get where she is.
Qualities: Master (+6) Responsibility, Expert (+4) Entomologist, Expert (+4) Feminist, Good (+2) Big and Tall, Good (+2) Making Connections, Good (+2) Sociologist
Poor (-2) Buttinsky
The University of Florida's Department of Entomology and Nematology ranks top in the study of insects.
* * *
Bug-loving girl who was teased at school co-authors research paper