Bugs and Bares, part 2: The Failed Naturist

(continued from previous post)

Nate stood still, dripping wet, waiting for Dr. A’s pronouncement. But, as often happened, she changed track.
“Wait, wait, wait. Wait! First, you should probably go dry off. And go get those smelly clothes of yours and put them in the washer. You know where it is, right? You’ll see the detergent concentrate on top – it will only take a little bit!”
Nate sighed. “Here, take Jerome back, then.”
“Oh yes. If he hangs out any longer with you, he’ll lose his faith.”
Dr. A placed the mantis on her shoulder and smiled as Nate walked back through the hanging plastic flaps that kept the butterflies in the garden. Then she picked up the hose again and started to spray the plants. But she quickly stopped. “Breakfast! Come, Jerome.”
Praying mantis. Source
A few minutes later, a dry Nate found Dr. A in the kitchen flipping pancakes.
“I’m sorry, Nate. I was distracted from all this fuss about the moths. Please, sit down here at the counter.”
She served him a plate with some coffee, and frowned. “Here’s what I wanted to tell you. There’s a former student of mine who also lives here on St. Ethel. Very smart man. His work has been absolutely essential in controlling disease-bearing mosquitoes through the introduction of sterilized individuals into the population.”
“Wow,” Nate mumbled between bites. “Is there any group of people who hates mosquitoes more than nudists?”
“Right. My question is…. I wonder if… he could do something similar with this moth plague that you’ve driven out here to agitate me about. I mean, he and I have our differences, but he really is an outstanding entomologist, and much more up-to-date than I am.”
Nate smiled. “I see what you mean. Reduce the population by bringing in sterilized moths. Brilliant.”
But Dr. A hesitated. “The thing is… I wonder if it wasn’t Lalo in the first place. You see, he…”
“Lalo?”
“Well for crying out loud, Nate. Yes: Lalo. That’s what everybody called him. It’s a nickname in Spanish for Eduardo. His name is Eduardo Chamorro Bustamante.”
“Sorry for the interruption. So what about him?”
“When he learned I’m a naturist, he was a tad… prurient. I think he liked the idea of naturism the way a mere voyeur would. He never practiced that I know of. Some people, especially if they don’t take the step of actually participating in social nudism… they never quite get it.”
Nate summed up: “Brilliant entomologist, horrible naturist.”
Dr. A winced. “That stings when you say it that way. Because I do feel personally responsible, I do! I was his entomology professor, not his naturism professor… but still I feel… like a bit of a failure in that regard.”
“C’mon, Dr. A! It’s not your fault! I mean, they’re linked, right? You’d think all naturalists would be naturists.”
“You’d think, yes. But I can tell you personally, that’s unfortunately not the case. I can think of many examples. But in Lalo’s case, he actually came out here to Noonay Noo. I always used to invite all my students, knowing that very few would come. But Lalo did, and just… stared, and never took off his clothes, until I was so uncomfortable I asked him to leave.”
Swallowing a bite of pancake, Nate wondered what exactly Dr. A had put in the batter, but mostly he wondered how anyone could be that dense, or rude, when arriving at a naturist park. “He must have been really confused, or shocked, or something. But… so why are we talking about whether this former student is a good naturist? Why is it important that Lalo didn’t understand naturism?”
“Well not everyone does, you know. I guess he’s no different than many people. There’s a lot of confusion out there that the World Wide Webbings don’t seem to help resolve as much as you’d think, and I wonder, since he decided to move here to St. Ethel, if… maybe he modified these moths with some perverse aim. I mean, he is very talented, and has done a lot of good, but he was always a little… off, a little odd. I wonder if this isn’t his way of satiating his voyeuristic curiosity.”
Nate chewed more pancake — was it vanilla? cinnamon? — and said, “So, he’s a madman, is what you’re saying, right? He’s a pervert willing to risk ecological disaster and ruin people’s personal property, for the thrill of seeing naked bodies? That’s really, um, extreme.”
She sighed. “Maybe I’m wrong about his motives, but if I’m correct about his methods, then, yes – it’s a terrible threat to the ecosystem, especially on a small island like ours, to modify an organism sector and then let it loose to a vast food supply. The population of birds, bats and fish that eat moths or their larvae will balloon, and that will set off ramifications in other species populations, like ripples in a pond.”
“I want to help, Dr. A. By the way, you put ginger in the pancakes, didn’t you?”
She smiled. “Aren’t they delicious?”
“They’re definitely… unique.”
“Where are mine? Oh I need to make more. Look, Nate, after I eat and your clothes dry, we need to go to Port Trésor.”
“What’s your plan?”
“I know where to find Lalo. Maybe I can get him to listen to me. Don’t let me forget we need to bring Jerome. He has a little carrier, you know. We also need to stop by the office and bring some naturist info.”
“Like, brochures?”
“Yes, I think we have Noonay Noo info and also an International Naturist Federation brochure.”
“But all of that is easy to find on the Internet.”
Dr. A took a bite of her pancake straight from the skillet. “I just don’t trust the Internet. It’s a poorly constructed sieve that doesn’t separate the wheat from the goats.”
Nate choked a little, laughing, and said,  “The wheat from the chaff.”
“Exactly. See what I mean? I’m sure I read that somewhere on the Interwebs. Too many sheep.”
Mosquito. Source

After breakfast and dishwashing, Nate waited for his clothes. When the dryer buzzer went off, he disappeared back into the washroom, and emerged a few minutes later dressed for the trip back to the capital. Dr. A was nowhere to be seen, so Nate called her name.

“Just a second,” came the reply, “I’m dressing.” She emerged a few minutes later from behind a door that must have led to her bedroom. She was wearing a loose dress and sandals.
Nate’s eyebrows rose. “It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you wear clothes.”
“A necessary evil, no? You do know what Noonay Noo means, don’t you? My dear Henri… how long have I known you, Nate?”
This time, Nate decided to answer only the last in her usual string of questions. “I started coming out here in 2010… so it’s been about six years.”
“He passed away ten years ago now. I wish…”
Nate looked around awkwardly. Dr. A didn’t talk about her husband that often, but it was obvious she still missed him. “I’m sorry… did your husband have to do with the name of this place?”
Mais oui! It was his idea. He took the French phrase nous nés nus and anglicized it to Noonay Noo. A bit of mystique, I guess. He loved languages and literature.”
“My French is rusty,” lied Nate, who knew nothing of the language. “What does that mean?”
“It means ‘we, born nude’ or “we are born nude.’”
Nate chuckled. “Wow. I like it. I never knew… I thought it was just some local name.”
“Now you know, Nate! Nous nés nus! Wait, what am I forgetting? My sun hat? Oh, Jerome! Oh, tomorrow is his saint’s day…”

Five minutes later, after Jerome had been located and placed in his miniature terrarium carrier – which, Nate noticed, featured a tiny Buddha statue sitting among the plants – Nate and Dr. A drove Nate’s Jeep to the office for the brochures, then got on the island’s one highway to the island capital.


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