2007-07-19 / Sam Bari

You can't beat a system you can't understand

Those 'Transformers' are for real
By Sam Bari

The movie, the one the kids are all talking about. You know the one, about the robots from outer space - "Transformers." Well . . . it's not just a movie. They are real. I know they are real because I was . . . I don't know how else to put this . . . it sounds so crazy. But it's true. I was victimized by a . . . a . . . Transformer. You know, those robots that can take the form of anything, and do. I saw one. I did battle with it. I lost. I barely escaped with my life. That's why I'm here, back in Rhode Island, where life is normal, and safe.

It all started on the Fourth of July, just like in the movie. I flew to Florida to visit friends and take care of some business. My friends have a lovely home between the Intracoastal Waterway and the ocean in Fort Lauderdale. Their house is across the street from the beach, and offers a spectacular view of the many fireworks displays that occur on Independence Day up and down the Florida coastline.

Every year, my friends throw a Fourth of July party and invite people over to watch the fireworks. Their house is big, and they invited me to stay for a couple of days. I was delighted. Life couldn't be better, or so I thought.

That night, friendly people gathered, good food and libation was consumed by all, and the city of Fort Lauderdale put on a fireworks display that was second to none. The grand finale was as impressive as any special effects explosives scene produced by Hollywood. However, I do believe that one of those explosions was not planned. It had to be a device that was designed to clandestinely explode in the middle of the other fireworks where it would not be noticed.

That explosion, whichever one it was, contained the Transformers. They landed on a Fort Lauderdale beach, observed by thousands, and nobody was aware of it. I know this because the Transformers made their presence obvious the next morning at my friend's house.

My friends are golfers. I am not. They told me to sleep in as long as I like because they were going to the links to play a round of golf and would return somewhere around lunchtime, which was fine with me. I had this magnificent home all to myself for a few hours, and I planned to enjoy every moment.

The next morning I was sitting in the living room reading the newspaper when I noticed a movement out of the corner of my eye. There . . . on a coffee table . . staring back at me, its antennae moving back and forth, was the most fearsome creature found in the American tropics - a Florida Palmetto Bug.

If you don't know what a palmetto bug is, look it up on the Internet. I believe it is listed under Largestest Roachius Giaganticus, or something like that. Palmetto bugs are from another age, a prehistoric age. They survived while dinosaurs died. Many believe they are from another planet. I am one of those believers.

I folded my newspaper and slowly moved in the direction of the intruder. Then with a swift strike and a hardy GOTCHA! killed the creepy critter. I lifted the newspaper expecting to find a flattened brown body about three inches long. But all that was there was a magazine. No bug, no body - nothing. I didn't think a magazine was on the table. I must have been wrong. Then I saw it. The bug had escaped. How, I do not know. It was now on the glass-topped end table beside a couch across the room.

I carefully picked up the magazine and slowly walked toward the table. With another swift strike and a stream of invectives, I attacked! This time I killed it for sure. Unfortunately, I also shattered the glass top table. Glass was everywhere; the body of a palmetto bug was not. Then I saw it on the wall. I picked up a bigger magazine and went after the vermin, and again it evaded my deft aim. However, an oil painting on the wall did not. It fell on the corner of a nearby chair and the canvas ripped from one side of the frame to the other. It also knocked over a lamp on the way down.

Then it dawned on me. The palmetto bug was changing form . . . It was a Transformer . . . It changed into a magazine, a glass top table, and a wall. Each time it changed back into a palmetto bug. I was not going to allow it to beat me. I found a bat. I could not let this alien live. I struck, I screamed, and I chased it around the living room, destroying everything in my path as I attempted to kill it. But it kept changing form. Sweat ran down my face. The room was a disaster.

Then a calm voice from behind me said: "Sir. Put down your weapon." I slowly turned around. The bug had changed into a police officer. But how could I be sure? I laid down the bat. I tried to explain. Nobody saw the palmetto bug. I was convinced it was the officer. It hadn't changed back.

My friends returned. They forgave me. "I guess he snapped," is all I remember them saying. They made sure I had medical attention and called my friends in Rhode Island to meet me at the airport. I know what I saw. Transformers are real. They can be bugs, police officers, or anything they want to be. They are just part of that system we can't understand.

Return to top