As the sun tiptoes across the hazy horizon of North America, diurnal creatures yawn and prepare for a night of slumber. We find ourselves in a cozy community where houses line the streets like a labyrinth of pastel dominoes.

But something is stirring, something in that pale-yellow house three down from the left. No, it’s not the common American shrew mole wreaking suburban havoc across a freshly sodded lawn. And it’s not the babble of a new front load washing machine, easily mistaken for the chatter of the double-crested cormorant.

Ah, we’ve found it. What is stirring, in fact, is the primal urge of the world’s most invasive species: homo sapiens. For some, this urge is nothing more than the craving for a carnivorous meal of cheese and burger. But for this creature, the urge is critical to his species’ survival.

To the uninitiated bystander or secondary health teacher, this carnal act is simply the efficient transport of sperm to egg. But those who study it closely know it to be far more than birds and bees. This mating ritual allows the sexes to navigate and enlighten one another on the definition of consent. It is as complex as it is fascinating.

And tonight, we’ve got a front row seat.

Watch now: the male has entered the grounds of marital stomping. No bloody battles required to earn tonight’s encounter, so the stakes are low and so will be the effort. He appears distracted, wearing only a sagging physique. The female’s skills of attraction have also dwindled over time; her signal to indicate interest in her partner is an eye roll.

The male stumbles awkwardly into the platform bed, moves closer, and brings his mandible towards her. But she has turned away. Her facial expression indicates distaste; he has been masticating Doritos again.

Alas, reaching the pinnacle of ecstasy may not be in the cards tonight for this complicated coupling. He slinks away from the bedroom; she turns and files her nails.

What’s this? The male has returned! He’s flushed but undeterred. After a brushing of his enameled teeth and liberal application of manufactured musk, he is ready for a second chance. He stands, chest puffed, abdominals tight, male anatomy tucked beneath a loose fitting, discolored garment crafted from fruits of the loom.

The female looks up from her e-book. The male is tentative; do her dilated pupils signal mutual interest, or is it merely a sign of her impending wrath? An imperceptible twitch in her left eyelid signals him to advance.

He must now perform a nearly impossible task: exude the alpha-dominant confidence required to attract her, while also making it clear that she is the one in control. He hesitates; a rebuttal this time could bring a disastrous end to the evening.

Sounds emanate from his mouth; perhaps it’s a compliment on the athleisure she’s been wearing to bed since last Thursday. The mammals communicate, taking turns in a mundane dialogue so unlike the Shakespearean poetry borne from the homo sapiens that one wonders if this couple is from another species entirely.

The female has thrown her head back like a spotted African hyena. Is she preparing to tear his throat from his neck? Ah, no, she is exhibiting hilarity. The lucky devil has stumbled across a pithy potion of words. From this point forward, she has stamped his evolutionary golden ticket.

Their lips interlock. A few adjustments of hips, spines, and fingers, and now the ingredients for this pleasure porridge are in the crockpot.

There now. She comes to the moment they’ve both been waiting for.

In no time, both mammals have assumed characteristic nesting behaviors: the male lies on his left side, eyes closed, harsh vibratory noises pass in and out of his nostrils; the female, flushed across cheeks and groin, refocuses and resumes chapter seven.