As is (almost) always the case my hard work has really paid off. I say almost because nearly everyone knows how my Olympic equestrian gold was stolen from me, but today I can proudly say that all my hard work—hunkering down in the Bahamas, has landed me a big, fat, juicy, client. SO big that, were I tell his name everyone would certainly know it. Shall we just say tech baron?
As it turns out, my bug soirée was a much bigger smash than I’d imagined because despite a paltry twenty-five guests, the event was lauded as “exclusif” and got picked up by Paris Match, Semana, Hello!, Tatler, and Vanity Fair. Oh and obviously also by my new “Baron”. Frankly I shouldn’t be surprised, because I was way out in front of this whole bug-eating trend. I mean the WEF had talked a good game but when it came down to it, their pet source was SO not ready for prime time.
So when “Baron” went looking for someone to head his personal push to lessen reliance on traditional protein sources, all paths led to me. At the same time the U.S. is experiencing a once every 17-year infestation… or rather burgeoning... of cicadas! These too are edible, and an excellent source of protein but Americans are understandably loath to try them because an unfortunate bit of press came out rather early… warning against allergies to the cicadas when it turns out only those with shellfish allergies need to take heed.
My baron hopes that together we can turn this bounty into a sort of ‘gateway' to eating more bugs. The good news for me is I am the hostess who served them (instant credibility), and the good news for the planet is that with more people eating bugs we will rely less on large animals that create more greenhouse gases. Also the sheer sound of the cicadas in some parts of the East Coast is deafening—and who wants that? Surely less is more.
I’ve already contacted the Boy Scouts of America, 4-H, and the Future Farmers of America to see if they can begin some sort of hunting/harvesting exercise. The Boy Scouts already got back to me with a definitive NO—owing to the fact that they apparently ‘do not have a cicada patch’ and cannot get new patches approved in less than a year’s time—which if you think about it, is truly intolerable given that the cicadas will be gone by then. And second of all, I didn’t ask for a patch, I asked for a programme.
I coordinated to get so very many publications to run recipes that feature cicadas. Among the best was Spicy Popcorn Cicadas fish soup with chicken and cicadas and Cicada Cookies. Things were going well until I went to upload these pictures onto my website and started to gag. This time it wasn’t the thought of the crunchy legs getting stuck between my teeth but seeing the juicy insects floating in the fish and chicken soup—I just imagined them alive and swimming on my tongue and down my throat and that was it for me. Vomit-central. I only made it to the trash bin near the bar.
It was a good ten minutes before I wasn’t flop-sweated and felt I could control my need to gag. The pictures were not getting uploaded—at least not by me. I closed my laptop and went down to the port in search of a cocktail.
To start my employ I flew to meet the baron’s yacht and then stayed on until we docked at Port de Saint-Tropez where I checked into the Byblos. I don’t know his plans for the next three days but at the end of the week I’m meant to host another insect cocktail party, this time for a hundred and with an even greater variety of bugs. The thought of which was making me queasy; the stacked hard shells, the squish, the crunch, ladies with leg-bits stuck to their lip gloss… I began to hurl again. Good Lord, please tell me there are people one can hire to just… OMG.
I called Daddy and he suggested when in bug distress I place a large silver coin on my tongue near the back of my throat, claiming it helped him through a few excessive drinking situations at Oxford.
‘But how am I supposed to talk?’ I asked, nearly swallowing the coin.
‘You aren’t’, he said, ‘that’s the point, you don’t lift your uvula, you don’t take that breath in, and you don’t lose your job. That was the point, wasn’t it?’
‘I don’t know.’ I said, spitting the coin into my hand. This was a disaster. The press would like nothing more than to tear down the girl they just praised. She can’t even look at the stuff, they would write.
‘I think the press will have a bigger issue with your environmental conflict if they were to find out your robber baron paid you in Bitcoin.’
‘How? Bitcoin is about fairness,’ I explained. ’It allows the people to have power at long last, instead of only banks and a few families. Also, they say…’
‘Ah yes, THEY. The famous they… I think best you ask your robber baron to pay you by check, or wire transfer, or actual coin.’
‘Actual…no. it’s no risk. I already got my first payment and converted it to cash.’
‘Well that’s great except ‘it’ is exceedingly bad for the environment and as he’s your green baron, you should be giving him better advice.’
‘How?? It’s mined on computers. It was basically a peaceful revolution that brought the power to the people, even people who previously had no access to banking systems.’
“But that’s not your client is it? And these people of whom you speak are not owning their own banks, or data mining centres or even computers. The power my darling girl, is mostly coal power because most of these are China-based mines, and they use the cheapest electrical generation, most of which is derived from coal-fired plants.’
Ugh, another disaster! ‘Why is it always China!’ I wailed.
‘Why is the left always focused on something like making us eat bugs?' he replied. 'And tell me, how was the boat ride?’
He just had to get the last jab in. I pecked away on my computer for a bit longer finding that Bitcoin consumes more energy than Malaysia, Sweden and Argentina combined, and causes more carbon emissions than Conoco Phillips and American Airlines. Not looking good.
I couldn’t undo the transfer but at least Bitcoin activity is under the radar—or at least I assume it must be given it’s the choice of illicit trade. Oh, boo. I would indeed have to tell him to pay me by traditional methods—for his reputation as well as mine. And even if I might not be able to down a juicy cicada for the camera, I would be able to help him not look like an obvious hypocrite. Surely that’s what he’s paying me for.