Dylan lifts the lid on the compost bin and shoves his arm in up past his elbow. His arm's entered a warm and alien world. The bacteria have done their work on the grass clippings he threw in last week. The mush has cooled enough for fungal threads to spread from the spores that have parachuted in from the air. Actinomycetes, too, spin their grey threads through the decaying grass and kitchen scraps, turning the woody cellulose to slush.

Dylan draws out his arm and inspects it with his see-all glasses. Tiny cylindrical nematodes like worms of fine hair chomp away on fungi, bacteria&and other nematodes. Adult mites like hairy blobs on legs munch away on fruit fly eggs. But some fruit flies have escaped this fate and fly and fester round Dylan's eyes. He brushes them away with his clean arm.