Saturday, August 9, 2008
The War Zone
Every morning when I go out onto the porch with my coffee, it looks like a war zone. I have to pick up the broom and sweep all the bodies away. Waspy looking things. Funky things with pinchers. Blue bees. Spiders. If it was up to me, I wouldn’t kill any spiders but Kurt keeps insisting I’m going to get bit. He says, “Okay then, but don’t come crying to me when you get a bad spider bite and you’re in the hospital with a gnarly infection up your arm and they might have to amputate.” So I don’t say nothin’ when he kills the spiders. I don’t kill them though. It’s kind of a compromise.
Then there’s the king bees. Kurt looked them up on the computer. They’re really Japanese hornets. But he calls them king bees and he’s got everyone calling them king bees like that’s really their name. Eldon, whistling, “Them there king bees are mighty pesky this year.” And Kelly’s friend, Heather, “Mrs. Van Cleave, I would have picked you more apples from my apples trees for your horses but there were king bees all over the place!” And Kurt’s boy at work, “I mighta coulda come into work but there was a swarm a king bees chasin’ me and I ran down yonder in the wrong direction.”
At any rate, he dubbed them the king bee because they put all queens to shame. These suckers are big. They’re about as big as a man’s big toe and they have a stinger like you wouldn’t believe. For some reason, they are dying to get into this house. They crawl up the window screens and stare longingly at my family eating dinner inside. They hang onto the edges of the door waiting for someone to innocently step outside for a smoke and then wham! They hitch a ride inside and they’re flying all over the place, crashing into my lampshades and denting the walls. They’re so big, the cat thinks they’re flying mice and he leaps up into the air, tries to bat them, twists and misses.
Kurt tries to get them before they come into the house. He is on his third electronic fly swatter. I admit, I broke one of them in a panic swinging it around blindly when a wasp kept coming after me. He broke the other one whacking it on the post on the railing. You don’t use them like a traditional fly swatter. You swing gently with no flick of the wrist and let the bug sort of float into it and get electrocuted of his own free will. Kurt and Kelly jump up and down with glee when one of them gets fried. Zzzzzzz! Then they examine the bodies. Sometimes they make me look. That’s how I know the king bee has a stinger like you wouldn’t believe.
I don’t know what the neighbors think, the ones who don’t know about the electronic fly swatter, when they drive by at night and Kurt is out there smoking and swinging. It looks like he’s got a tennis racquet and he’s hitting invisible balls. Sometimes he does something fancy. Makes a big loopy swing, seeing how many he can get at once. When he’s feeling really creative, he might attempt a swing from behind his back or under his leg.
In the morning, I get out the broom and sweep away the casualties.