Josie was digging holes out behind the kitchen when Matt found her. She held up something small and wriggly in greeting. “Look, I found an earthworm!”
Matt crouched down beside the hole and leaned forward, balancing himself with one hand. “Nah, I don't think that's an earthworm, Josie. It looks like some kind of larval beetle.”
“No, it should be -” she broke off and her face fell. “Glass says it's a rhinoceros beetle larva.” She dropped the creature and sighed loudly.
“And you're just going to believe it?”
“Well, it's Glass.” She shrugged.
“And what does Glass have to say about this?” Matt frowned and moved his fingers in a flickering pattern that was too complicated for Josie to follow.
“That can't be right.” Josie giggled. “Glass says you're a lesser spotted palewing butterfly. Have you filed a bug report?”
Matt looked at her seriously. “Josie, you can see right now that Glass has generated its own bug report.”
“What? That can't . . . ” she trailed of into silence before standing up and brushing off her hands. “You're just being silly.”
“ 'Course I am.” Matt grinned. “But see, Glass isn't always right. Come on, I'll show you another way of looking at it.” He stood up and reached forward to press on her temples.
She started back and stared at him. “What have you done?”
“Don't panic. I've just turned Glass off for a bit. I'll put it back as soon as you like, but why don't you come look at your worm for yourself first?” He crouched down and scooped at the larva. “What can your own eyes tell you?”
Josie shrugged, but she stepped around the hole and crouched down beside Matt.
“Look at the colour of this thing. What colour would you say that is?”
There was a silence before Josie answered. “Sort of see-through and greyish, I guess.”
“Exactly. Now I happen to know that earthworms are a pinky brown colour, so this can't be an earthworm, can it?”
“We already knew that. It's a rhinoceros beetle larva.”
“And I'm a lesser spotted palewing butterfly.” He carefully laid the larva on the earth between them. “How do we know it's a rhinoceros beetle larva?”
Josie shrugged again, but she peered at the bug. “It has legs?”
Matt nodded. “That's good. We know it isn't a worm, since it has legs. So it's pretty likely that it's some kind of larva. Do you want to give me some more details on the colour of it?”
“It's pretty much all squishy and grey.” Josie tilted her head, considering. “Well, I guess the one end is a bit browner. It doesn't exactly look like that's just dirt.”
“Very good. In fact, that's how we can tell it's a rhinoceros beetle larva. Other creatures wouldn't have that colouration.” He grinned and stood up.
“Okay, I guess that was kind of interesting, but you can turn Glass back on now.” Josie presented herself to Matt and looked up expectantly. He reached out to her temples and applied a gentle pressure.
“That's better.” Josie shook her head slightly to reorient herself. “How did you know all that about rhinoceros beetles anyway?”
This time Matt shrugged. “I asked Glass.”