Monday, August 29, 2016


Greetings, WYMOP readers!

It all started with me cleaning off the dining room table. It had been covered over time with the detritus of life—magazines, mail, etc.—and I was gathering stuff together into a small “keep” and a large “throw away” piles. I suddenly heard this whap . . . whap . . . whap! I looked up, and to my great surprise saw a fat black bug about the size of my thumb flying laps around the dining room ceiling.
“Holy crap! I shouted (or something similar, it may not have been exactly “crap”), and started ducking, because the thing wasn’t just flying laps around the light fixture, like it’s smaller cousins; it was putting on a bizarre aerial performance, looping low to build up speed, then curving back up to whap into the ceiling, as if trying to smash right through it. As I watched it did this again and again, seemingly uncaring of any damage it may have been doing to itself.
Staying low and hopefully out of its strange kamikaze flight path, I scuttled (but it was a manly scuttle, accompanied by manly high-pitched squealing) for the kitchen to fetch the fly swatter. And by fly swatter, I mean a towel rolled to a tight point and prime for rat-tailing. Rat-tailing (or towel-snapping, as it is sometimes called) is mostly known as a juvenile stunt pulled in boys’ locker rooms. Okay, it is a juvenile stunt pulled in boys’ locker rooms, but for me it’s a bit more of a weapon: I have been known—on much more than one occasion—to use a towel to snap a fly out of the air. This was what I had in mind for this bad boy.
I grabbed the dish towel from the front of the oven, rolled it, gave it a couple of practice snaps . . . and then, remembering the size of the flying behemoth in the dining room, went to fetch a full-sized bath towel. Yard-long weapon in hand I skulked back to the table, crouching low, head cocked and in full hunting mode.
The damn thing was gone.
I looked on the ceiling. I looked on the walls. I poked about in my half-finished piles, prepared the entire time to shriek and flail with the towel like a spastic five-year-old beating out a sudden fire. I may not have mentioned it, though perhaps you can tell: I don’t like bugs. Insects of all kinds—as well as their cousins, the spiders—skeeve me right the hell out—especially when they take me unawares and are larger than I think they have any right to be. And if insects and spiders could team up and go to war with snakes, causing all three to kill each other off, I understand it would be bad for the environment and all, but I think I could learn to live with it.
Oh, and centipedes are evil creepy demon things from the skin-crawlingest pit of Hell, and I’d like them all to go back. But I digress.
I laid the towel over a chair-back—still rolled and ready to snap at a moment’s notice, like the knell of mutant bug doom—and went back to work on the table, eyes roving nonstop in case the big bastard tried to sneak up on me. I finished in the dining room and, exhibiting the attention span and retention of a cocker spaniel puppy on methamphetamines, promptly forgot about Bugzilla as I moved on to other things about the house. I forgot about Bugzilla until about an hour later.
I was looking for a Sharpie marker. Not a pen (there were tons of those) or pencil (tens of tons), but an indelible, black Sharpie. I looked in the pen cup: not there. I looked on the bookcase: not there. I looked in the junk drawer: not there. I looked amidst the papers beside the sink: Bug-freakin’-zilla.
The skin on the back of my neck rippled like a stone-skipped pond; distracted by my search, I’d nearly put my hand on him. Instinctively I started for the towel, but stopped. He was sitting there atop the bills like the world’s oogiest paperweight, and if I snapped him there, with all the explosive results I was currently requesting via curse-filled prayer, it would make a mess all over them.
I rummaged, in a frantically manly way, through the tupperware drawer.
I clapped the 2-quart plastic bowl down over him. He didn’t seem to care. I slipped the bowl’s lid in beneath it, working it under him to get him off the bills. That he didn’t much care for. When I lifted the bowl and lid, Bugzilla trapped within, he went berserk, flying around and around and back and forth, smashing against the inside of his plastic prison with impacts that jolted the bowl.
I elbowed open the slider out to the back deck and flipped on the light.
“No offense,” I said, raising the bowl as I strode across the deck, “but you are one big ugly #$%^er, and you’re not welcome here!” With that, I yanked the cover aside and whipped the bowl up and forward, using it like the bucket of a catapult to fling Bugzilla out into the yard. His heavy, armored body flew straight over the low fence and out of range of the deck lights, disappearing into the night. “And good riddance!” I said, turning to march back into the house.
I had just stepped through the door—hadn’t even had time to stretch out a hand to pull the slider closed behind me—when I heard a quick fluttering brrrrrrrp, and something hit me in the back of the head like a ping pong ball fired at me from just a few feet away. A ping pong ball with feathery little wings and scratchy, sticklike legs.
I staggered forward, shouting “What the @#$%!” and looked down to see Bugzilla, inside the house once more and lying on the top step down into the basement. Though his repeated hard impacts with the dining room ceiling hadn’t fazed him in the least, indignant at being imprisoned and incensed at being ejected into the yard he had charged back out of the night to hit me in the back of the skull hard enough to stun himself!
With a cry, 210 pounds of of sneaker-clad weight came down on him. I lifted my foot. He was still moving. The sneaker came down again, and then again, and then I went in search of a hammer to really do the job right. I returned with a 20 ounce framing hammer, fully prepared to bash my assailant right down to the bedrock . . . but he wasn’t moving any more, and there was a little bit of goo leaking out of him.
There was great rejoicing.
I fetched my son to show him the beast, telling him Yes, you see? Monsters are real! He looked at me oddly until I told him about the thing zooming out of the dark to attack me, and the size of the whap it made against the back of my head. Then he laughed, uproariously, and went back to his computer. I went to huddle under the hottest shower I could stand, abrading the back of my head with the pot-scrubber side of the sink sponge and wishing I could get the skin there to stop crawling . . . right after putting a loaded towel in every room in the house. For home protection, you understand.

Talk to you later!

Since the shiny thing's a quarter, I figure the
damn bug's about the size of a 50 cent piece.
 A flying, buzzing, kamikaze 50 cent piece.

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