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No. 8: Wake up, Jeff!

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Wake up, Jeff!

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Strip by: Ian Boreham

{Benny, a cockroach, approaches his cockroach friend Jeff in the corner of a filthy old kitchen floor}

{Benny comes up beside Jeff}
Benny: Hey, Jeff!

{Jeff continues to stare vacantly forward}
Benny: Dude!

{an ant crawls over Jeff's dead eye}
Benny: Gah!

{elsewhere, a shaken Benny is talking to two other cockroaches}
Benny: Guys, I was scared...
Benny: He looked so alive!

{a large cockroach comforts Benny}
Large cockroach: It's OK, Benny. It happens sometimes.
Large cockroach: We'll give him a proper send-off.

{back in the kitchen, the three live cockroaches are tipping Jeff's corpse over}
Large cockroach: ...and...three!

{Jeff, still staring vacantly, is now lying on his back, feet in the air; Benny is looking relieved and happy}
Benny: Whew! That's much better! He was a good roach. I'll miss him!

{the large cockroach is saying a few words to Benny as the other live cockroach makes his exit}
Large cockroach: ...in the big Roach Motel in the sky...
Other cockroach: Seeya!

{the three live cockroaches scuttle off, leaving jeff on his back in among a scattering of cockroach poo}

The author writes:

I have a pet theory about why people seem to hate cockroaches so much. They act guilty. You switch on a light, and a roach will scuttle off and hide. It knows it was doing something wrong. A beetle looks pretty similar to a roach, but it probably doesn't even know you exist, and will keep flying into things and crawling across your stuff, and you probably won't care.

It's like walking past a park and seeing a little kid playing on the equipment - it doesn't bother you. But if a group of grubby teenagers were there, and they fled on seeing you, you'd be mighty suspicious.

Moving right along...this strip raises the important topic of the lower lifeforms' view of life and death. Do they believe in a higher power? What about microbes? Do they have microtheology? The concept of a trinity would probably seem pretty straightforward to them. Two bacterial binary fissions, and you've got three beings who were all originally one being. Easy.

Anyway, back to the strip - after I'd drawn it, with the arbitrary name Jeff, the title just came to me (a Wiggles reference, for those who are too old and not old enough to know much about them). And only after that did I remember that the Wiggles are partly descended from the 80s band The Cockroaches. I sense a guiding force.

Come to think of it, I've also seen a roach come back to life and start wiggling around after days of lying inert on its back. Perhaps Jeff will actually wake up after all!

Drawn by hand, scanned and coloured in Gimp.