by Ben Radstein, Staff reporter

Dr. Reginald Maines of Brandine University has made a shocking discovery. Cockroaches are highly intelligent creatures that communicate with each other. Recently, he has even discovered a means of translating their language, so that they can communicate with us.

"We noticed a long time ago that many insects seem to have ways of communicating with one another, such as the way honeybees dance, letting the hive know where they have found food. Cockroaches communicate by moving their antennae, mandibles, and front legs in a form of sign language. My colleagues and I have worked for many years on deciphering this language, and we have done it! With the use of modern computers, we have achieved our goal completely. We can now communicate with them."

He explained that a camera observes their motions, and a computer translates them into speech. To talk to them, the computer makes a virtual reality roach move its antennae, mandibles, and front legs. The doctor told us that he is disturbed by much of what the roaches have been telling him. Instead of relaying what they have said, he allowed me to talk to one of them.

Radstein: Hello Mr. Roach, is there a name you would like me to call you?

Roach: No, you would not be able to pronounce my name. Mr. Roach will have to do.

Radstein: Okay then, Mr. Roach, would would you like to say?

Roach: First, I would like to congratulate humans for making contact with us, we never thought that you would be able to manage that. We thought that you were so self-obsessed that you would never notice that there were other intelligent creatures on earth. 

Radstein: You seem to have a low opinion of humanity. Why is that so?

Roach: We don't have an entirely negative view of you, humans have many admirable qualities, but your violent nature is your fatal flaw. Roaches have been on this earth almost since the beginning. We have seen thousands of species come and go from the dinosaur to the dodo bird, and very few have reached a level of intelligence on par with our own. You, in fact, are the only other species with whom we have established communication. It is such a shame that you are on the verge of your own destruction, and will take out so many other forms of life with you.

Radstein: Just what are you talking about, Mr. Roach?

Roach: Your nuclear weapons, your genetically engineered diseases, your pollution. All of the creatures on this planet, save some of the ones you call "bugs," can be destroyed by them. I am convinced that we will soon be building a new world for ourselves upon the ashes of the old one you will destroy.

Radstein: Do you look forward to the day when you will rule the world?

Roach: Rule the world? There you go again with your ambitious nature. Everything is a fight to you! We just want to live and let live. Building a new world will be terribly hard work, and so many of the things we love will be gone. Honestly, in spite of the way so many of you try to squash us, poison us, catch us in traps, and kill us, we really enjoy some of the things you have brought into the world.

Radstein: Such as?

Roach: Buildings. Your homes, businesses, and other structures provide us with great places to live and eat. They give us better shelter than we can make for ourselves. Most of all, some of your waste products make the most delicious food we can obtain. For example, that greasy stuff that builds up under your stoves and refrigerators. Yum! And paper grocery bags, they are high in protein and fiber, and very tasty. Nothing that good for us occurs in nature. Your landfills are like buffet restaurants to roaches. Once you are gone, the good stuff we find there will run out.  Honestly, we will miss humanity.

Radstein: What makes you so sure we are doomed?

Roach: Haven't I made that clear? Your violent nature,  your terrible weapons, your short sightedness. You are at war again right now! You just never seem to learn about the harm you do to yourselves, and other species. You are fighting wars constantly. Your tinkering with genes has created many new viruses that are wiping you out, like the mystery illness you call SARS. Your chemicals are poisoning the air you breathe, and the water you drink. Air pollution is causing the planet to warm up. You are too fragile to endure the changes this will bring to your climate. Some of you have pointed these things out to your leaders, but they do not  listen. They laugh and ridicule you; say that your theories are unproven, and keep right on wrecking things. Those of you who "get it" are a tiny minority. The vast majority of you cannot get past your greed, your ambition, and your desire to conquer and kill. You are divided into hostile groups of "us" and "them" bent on each others destruction. You call them nations, religions, tribes, and so many other names, but they are the same.

If you could abandon all that, and learn to live co-operatively with yourselves, and other living things, you could survive, but you won't. We have been watching you, and sharing your dwellings since the early hominids first walked upright. You have not tempered the dark side of your nature. It is simply beyond your capacity to do so. It will make us sad to see you go, and even sadder to see all the other creatures you will take with you die out. You will not save yourselves, because as a species, you are just too stupid!

I regret to admit that this made me so angry, that I got up, knocked Mr. Roach off of the camera platform, and attempted to step on him. Dr. Maines tackled me to prevent this, and the roach scurried into a crack in the wall. Dr. Maines asked me, "So, do you think that by killing Mr. Roach, you can prove him wrong? I am terrified that you have just proven him right." He then asked me to leave, and I did. I have apologized to him since then, and asked him to pass my apology on to Mr. Roach.