You could call the ex-commissioner's son an insect trainer. Over their many journeys he spent his time alone with the bugs of the boat, learning their language and ways. At least it is assumed it was to them he spoke, for his voice was often heard leaking from his rooms, making sounds no one understood, and no one else was allowed in.
This son being a product of his retirement, the ex-commissioner held him in a certain regard. The sons of his working years had posts, spread out over myriad lands, regions, districts, and he was satisfied that it was unlikely he would ever see or speak to any of them again. Their work in scattered provinces was not his concern. His only concern was a pleasurable end to his earthly term. The ex-commissioner's son was an indication of his relief, of sorts, by way of the women kept onboard for his pleasure.
And he did not want out just then, the son. His occupation with the insects consumed all of his time and being. If the ex-commissioner asked how his son fared he was informed that the son was with his insects. The ex-commissioner approved of this; insects were preferable to people, in spite of their similarities. His son would perhaps not make the same mistakes. He saw no reason for them to interact. To do so might be like drinking the wrong potion in a pleasure game.
The son's quarters were black with the tar the insects produced, papered in corpses and wings. The heat of the place caused the walls to weep, and in this damp state he sat cross-legged, clad only in a few rounds of cotton wrappings done up to the waist from the top of his thighs. He subsisted with his insects solely on fruit and water delivered via the dumbwaiter, his body thin, pale, and plain, hair matted with lost legs and exoskeletal husks. You could not see his teeth.
From a few wooden boxes and eviscerated books the son had built a series of stages, arranged about him on the floor where he always sat. Most were connected beneath with tubes of pages, yellowing catwalks and foxed, tarp-like coverings. Although only a porthole provided occasional light to the room, degrees of sun, moon, and starshine, the boy also used a lamp, fuelled by oil, that he directed as a spot with a chip of mirror and a variety of paper cones he had crafted. This tool, in spite of how readily the room's resin invited flame, was necessary for the performance he directed to perpetually take place.
His actors were all kinds: moths, roaches, fleas, beetles, mites, lice, some centipedes and unruly flies. Spiders kept to corners, excluded, but were sustained by those who did not take to the game. Generations had conformed to the son's wishes, as he had conformed to them; his humanity was mostly a matter of meat.
The production began as a sort of dream, was tested as a series of skits, one acts, eventually vast cycles of operatic plays, until the breaks between became incorporated and the production, although directed and conducted, was no longer written or contained. To enter it at any moment is as good as any other beginning, and we have already, as you shall see.
A thick brown roach, carrying a load of lice, attempts to copulate with a small, shimmering-green beetle, while a yellowish moth dives at his head, and before them a thinner black roach frantically prays.
"May God forgive us for what we do," prays the black roach. "Gluttons among us have souls not yet drawn to peace. Your bidding we await. Delivery from this wanting. Give us mission, purpose, grace."
The raping roach spits, laughing as the white moth's wings whip his face. "Pray, fool. Pray and be preyed upon. You're next, and this damn moth if it settles for a moment in my reach."
The violated beetle beneath his bulk squeals, nearly expiring. "Please finish and leave me. Your pleasure is my pain."
The roach prods its exposed abdomen with the sharp stab of a spiny leg. "I'll finish on my time, so don't distract me or wait. If you die, so much the better. I'll have something to eat."
The moth comes flapping down again and the green beetle cries, "Please, my friend, your help only extends my suffering. Let this roach finish, and I'll heal under the cool of your wings."
The praying roach turns from beseeching to the scene of ravishment, faces it, clicks and comes close. "Accept your pain, beetle, grow through it. There's meaning to this more than your escape."
"Shut up, you," the brown roach hisses, "I almost lost it."
"You are already lost," the black roach says, fiddling legs over antennae. "The choice is yours to remain."
A chorus of lice cheer from the brown roach's back, and he swishes a leg, knocking some of them away. "Silence, parasites. I'll snap you, just wait."
The shadow of the moth flutters over them all, eclipsing their space.
"Even now you incarnate God's plan," the black roach says. "You're a model, I see now. Your load of companions you carry, they carry you."
"Get ready for God," the brown roach says, tearing away from the beetle (punctured and seeping fluid, it crawls offstage).
"I am ready," says the black roach. "I've seen now what's to be done, and it's those of us who have wings who will meet Him. The rest will both destroy, and be destroyed with, this place."
"Destroy you," the brown roach says, and lunges, but the black roach dances away.
"Hasty glutton, you have wings, but can you still fly?" the black roach says, cracking its back, lightly fluttering.
"I've no need," the brown roach says. "My world is under me."
"But the wings are there, and have purpose. Why would they otherwise be?"
"Purpose is want," the brown roach says, and lunges again as the black roach flaps just beyond the extent of his grasp.
"Oh, God, I'll soon be coming!" the black roach sings.
"Indeed you will," says the brown roach, crouching, ready to leap, his lice again cheering.
"Say you are God," begins the black roach.
"Easy enough," says the brown.
"What reason to maintain all this living if You are so complete? Why all of these servants, at best but partially aware of Your will, Your existence?"
"Sheer boredom and nastiness," hisses the brown, settling slightly.
"Greater need," says the black roach. "We are servants. We complete the achievement by discovering God, unveiling our own grace. In lifting us up, we will lift Him!"
The brown roach exudes a foul odor, spits again, flattens. "You sicken and tire me with this patter. Your point, if there is one. Quickly, or leave. I've lost my taste for this game."
The black roach rises, now hovering quite skillfully. More moths close in, blocking light on the stage. Somewhere far off mad shouting begins, unintelligible, and the world shudders violently.
"Good, as it is the end of the game. Take wing to the Lord, or nothing. Heaven and hell are the stakes," the black roach says.
The noises offstage increase, at first ambient, but now very much a part of the play. More shuddering, then shifting, sinking, and an almost deafening whir of all sizes of wings.
The brown roach gapes up into the fluttering black, watching as the black beyond crumbles, giving way to an expanse of yet more distant black, littered with specks of tiny light. The shouting grows, working up into shrieks and screams, muffled by a thunderous rush, pierced by clang of metal bells.
The lamp drops, tar-covered walls explode into fire, revealing a mass of termites, gribbles, wood ants, gathered about the brown roach, also looking up, the dust of their work floating about the burning space. The dim blue phosphorescence of the ocean plays with the dancing orange, illuminating above them all a thin, pink-white being, slowly rising skyward by a million wings, a kite-like tail of cotton unraveling from the being's departing body.
God, if you must give Him a name.