Note: No insects were actually harmed in the making of this post.
Seeing as I'm on a bit of a nostalgia kick at the moment anyway...one of my favorite growing-up memories is of visiting my grandparents in Vermont, and working out various lateral thinking puzzles (courtesy of my Grandpa Walter) at the dinner table.
Grandpa would give the premise of the puzzle at the beginning of the meal and all the kids present would ponder it as we ate, often ending up staying at the table trying to figure out what, exactly was the significance of the "53 bicycles" or the mysterious puddle of water, etc., etc., until long after the plates had been cleared away.
(click here to access other image sizes)
Now, the explanatory page on Lateral Thinking Puzzles I linked to at the beginning of this post contains the warning that "these puzzles have a tendency to be rather morbid." And this one is no exception, as the scenario began with my coming across a pile of dead bodies -- specifically, those of what appeared to be gnats and other small flying insects.
The image above shows part of the interior of my home. Specifically, it shows an area sort of between the main living room area (to the right) and the kitchen (to the left).
This is where we keep the dining table, a tall DVD cabinet, and (near the floor) a number of boxes that have been claimed by the cats as chewable indoor forts. A wire rack behind the table is used for storing random dry goods (e.g., bread) and sometimes vegetables and/or fruits. There is a large sliding door behind the table and storage rack (only it doesn't actually slide -- it's painted shut). There is one overhead light on the ceiling. There is a bag hanging on one chair, and a backpack on another. The floor is solid oak.
But anyway. The other day I was moving a bunch of art supplies off off the dining table (which seems to get used more often for projects than actual dining...), and as I went to pick up a sheet of scrapbook paper, I noticed a small but non-trivial pile of dead insects -- little gnatlike creatures mostly -- on top of said paper.
This puzzled me greatly as I hadn't recalled seeing a bunch of gnats flying around the house, nor did it make sense that they'd gather together for ritual suicide even if a lot of them somehow had gotten indoors.
So, for now this is where I shall stop describing the scenario. I eventually figured out how the bugs had gotten there, but it took some lateral thinking to do so -- and I am really curious as to whether any readers can figure it out as well based on the image and/or my description of the room above. The red "X" on the table shows where I found the bugs, but this is not a particularly pertinent detail.
Feel free to speculate away! First person to answer correctly wins...the satisfaction of being right!
UPDATE: As of Saturday, 4 September 2010, commenter Blork has successfully solved the puzzle. Others are of course free to try and figure it out for themselves -- just avoid reading the comments before speculating yourself, as they now contain spoilers.
(Also, this was fun. I'd like to keep posting this sort of thing, though next time I'll try and have it not be something to do with dead things!)