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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA



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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Justice May Be Blind, But It Can Still Get the Willies

Disclaimer: no monkeys were actually harmed in the making of this blog.

So it’s hot here in Boston, and my wife and I are sans air conditioner in our new house. I may have mentioned it before, so I’ll try not to rehash too much, as I’m sure you’ve read all about it, and remember every steamy, glistening word. And if not, then I can certainly tell you all about some steaming, glistening bits of mine that are currently suffering through the heat. Or post pictures of them, so you’d better just read the damned archive. You don’t want me to go there, you really don’t.

Anyway, I’ll stop bitching about the heat. Nobody gives a damn, anyway, and some of you are probably hotter than I am. Well, for your sake, I sincerely hope you’re hotter than I am, in a — you know — ass-watering kind of way. But I was really talking more about the ass-sweating sort of hot, which is very different.

(And if you can’t tell the difference between ass-watering and ass-sweating, then I’d suggest you stay out of the South and off the beaches. You may end up getting a lot of mixed signals…)

Okay. Well, then. Perhaps a subject change is in order. Ah, here we go — one seque special, coming right up.

(The seque platter is only a dollar extra, and comes with fries, cole slaw, and a side of clever. Just for future reference…)

So, anyway, since we don’t have air conditioners in our house to help combat the heat, we’ve plopped table fans into a couple of the windows. You know, to at least push the oppressively hot air towards us at high speeds. I’m told that this should create the illusion of coolness as the accelerated air whispers past. In my experience, it offers a closer approximation of a drafty boiler room operating somewhere in the Gobi desert, but what the hell do I know? I’m just the guy sitting here wondering whether this is what it’s like to be industrially blow-dried, but I’m sure that the advertising folks are the ones who got it right. Really. Given the touts on the box, I must be freezing by now; I’m just too dumb to realize that it’s ice running down my back, not nasty neck-sweat.

(And no, you pervs, I don’t have any more to say about what it feels like to be ‘blow-dried’.

*pause*

Nope, nothing. Stop looking at me.

*pause*

No. Go home.

*pause*

All right, fine, you win — ‘Well, it’s redundant, isn’t it? If somebody’s gonna blow you, then they have to dry you, too, don’t they? I mean, it’s just common courtesy.’

Man, you people are a bad influence…)

Okay, where the hell was I? Ah, window fans.

So, we have a couple of window fans, and the windows without fans are also open, which means that the only thing separating us from the goopy, insecty outside is a few rickety mesh screens. Which further means that any sort of pissant tiny little bug that can squeeeeeze its runty little thorax between the wires is going to make its way into the house, and eventually to the one room in the house that currently has lights on. Which, of course, is the room I’m currently inhabiting. So what it boils down to is this: my wife is in bed, and the dog is sleeping, and I’m just sitting here in the office with — oh, I don’t know — maybe a couple hundred of my least favorite creatures on the face of the planet, as they creep and crawl and flit around looking for something luminescent to bang their hairy little heads into.

(What’s the deal with bugs and lights, anyway? Look, the damn things are out at night, right? So what’s the evolutionary attraction to lights of any kind? Think about it — humans haven’t been around that long, and most of these little cretins aren’t man-eaters, anyway. So our fluorescent bulbs and tubes mean nothing to them. So what’s left that would naturally emit light at night? Fires and fireflies, as near as I can tell. Either fireflies are the bitch ho’s of the insect world, and any randy little fucker with a perky proboscis is welcome to have a turn, or Nature’s tryin’ to thin these pesky peckers out by evolving them to be fatally attracted to fire. I honestly don’t see any other options. It’s like settin’ dogs up so they can’t resist humping toasters — it doesn’t make any damned sense, and somebody’s gonna get their shit burnt. Literally. Why not just make the bugs partial to frog tongues, or allergic to food altogether, if you’re just trying to kill them off? Am I expected to believe that they’ve evolved an instinct to careen willy nilly toward light sources of any kind just so we can get our jollies listening to Bug Zappers while we’re camping? Damn. Mother Nature doesn’t have a sense of humor, dude; she’s just a crazy bitch.)

Anyway, the upshot is that I now have these little overgrown nits buzzing around my monitor screen, and generally cheesing me off. Some of them look like little i’s, and others like l’s, or 1’s, or f’s, and I have to proofread enough as it is, so I want ’em the hell out of my way. Shooing them doesn’t help much — that hard-wired ‘look at the pretty lights’ reflex drags them back here eventually, no matter how many of their legs I snap off as a deterrent. So I escalated my response; I moved to Airborne Terror Alert Amber. Basically, this involved two changes to my approach. First, I actually leaned foward toward the monitor when I saw a buzzy bug, as opposed to just waving my hand generally uselessly in front of my face. Secondly, since I was now close enough to inflict hot death upon my enemy, I would smite said insect bitch, if given half a chance. My weapon of choice? The business end (i.e., ‘back’) of a nearly-full stack of Post-It notes sitting on my desk. As with most terror responses, though, my solution was rather, um, messy, as you might imagine.

So now I’m sitting here, with decidely less insects buzzing around in my field of vision. That’s the good side of the situation. On the other hand, I now have a couple of dozen grimy streaks of bug innards plastered on my monitor. (Not to mention a sticky note pad that is now literally sticky, even on the back cover, and reeks of dead bug juice. (Which I desperately hope is redundant; if there are people out there raising bugs just to milk their juices and let ’em go, then I don’t wanna know about it. Dude, that’s just so wrong.)) So my vindictive side feels better, because I’ve killed, and it’s always good to kill that which annoys, expecially when you can leave a greasy gut-stain in the process. You know, to warn others that you are One With Which Not to Be Trifled™. But my sweet frosting-covered side… actually, we should probably leave that side out of things for the moment, and move straight on to my ‘needing to see the monitor’ side. That side’s not so happy, of course, because all of these cautionary smears are now far more annoying than the bugs themselves were. Instead of the occasional ‘i’ or ‘l’, now I have something that looks more like ‘^^^^^^^; or perhaps ‘~-~-~-~_’. Except with the occasional leg attached, or an antenna protruding at some wild angle. So I have mixed feelings, when I can manage emotions at all through the growing nausea.

The bigger problem, though, is that my problems are getting… well, bigger. Apparently we have a hole in one of the screens — either that, or the little bastards are like Transformers, and they can congregate to form bigger, more versatile monsters. Most of the larger guys look like moths, and are pretty easily squished (though with ickier results) or swatted out of commission with a notebook. But something came in last night… something else. Something bigger, something that made a loud tinny shpink against my monitor when it hurtled headlong into it. I didn’t get a good look at it right away — as I was cowering behind my chair at that point — but I soon peeked over the seat to determine exactly what kind of beastie I was suddenly sharing my office with.

It was big, of course. Huge. Like a hairy bird with too many legs, a gangly Frankensparrow experiment gone horribly wrong. When I saw it, it was crawling on my desk, warily eyeballing the monitor and contemplating another run. My first thought was, ‘Are bugs supposed to have faces?‘.

(All right, fine, smartass — my first thought was, ‘I should probably make sure I didn’t pee my pants.‘ But I checked, and I didn’t, and then I thought the face thing. Very next thought, I promise.)

I looked around for something to smack it with, at least to stun it — I really wasn’t sure in the end whether to kill it or tag its ear and release it, but I figured the first blow or three would leave both options open anyway. Clearly, the Post-It pad wasn’t going to save me this time. Finally, I settled on a nice, thick legal pad, and moved in for a good thwacking. Just as I did, the little monster launched at my monitor, and plinked off behind the desk.

At that point, I had a dilemna, of course. I’m no hero, you understand, nor am I interested in doing any more dirty work than I absolutely have to. Dirty pool, sure. Dirty dancing? Lube me up and let’s hit the floor. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels? Good movie, fine. But dirty work, no. Not interested. So, I mulled my options (again, from behind my chair, where I’d wibbled off to when the creature jumped). I could try and find it, and hope that it wouldn’t be able to wrestle the notebook away from me and beat me with it. Or, I could just go back to blogging with my screen all gunky with insect intestines, and pretend that I never saw the thing. It could live down there behind the desk as long as it wanted, eating mice and chewing on the floorboards, but as long as it didn’t bother me, then I wouldn’t bother it. Or him, or her, or quite possibly Mothra, from the looks of it. I really didn’t have time to catch a name as I cowered. Honestly.

So, of course, it was at that point that the buggy behemoth lurched out from behind the desk and skittered in my general direction. Well, that was all the incentive I needed. With a courageous ‘Ewwwwww‘, I presented my opening argument and shmacked him with the legal pad. He rebutted, and kept on coming. I objected, and popped him again. He proved a hostile witness, though, and continued limping toward me. But now I had the jury on my side, and I intended to be the executioner. ‘How’s this (Bam!) for a cross-examination, bitch?’ ‘And this (Pow!) for a motion to adjourn?’ ‘And this, you little peckernose, for an order to cease (Wham!) and desist!’ (Thwap!) I took a deep breath, and looked. He twitched a leg. Whap! Bap! Smash!

I rest my case. Your carcass, your honor.

And that was the end of my not-so-little, not-very-friendly little friend. I wrapped it in a beach towel and plunged the thing into the toilet as best I could, but I had to mangle the body pretty badly to get the bloody thing down. I thought about hanging the head outside the window as a warning, but that face… ewww. No. I just double-flushed the sucker down the bowl, and chased it with a Drano ‘n’ Raid cocktail, just to be sure. Last thing we need around here is that thing breeding in the sewers. But I think the danger’s done — that one is finished, and I haven’t seen any others since. I even spit-shined my monitor this morning, and tried to vacuum the bug goop out of the carpet fibers.

(With mixed results — I heard most of the loose parts rattle into the machine, but I think the dog got hold of an antenna and has buried it somewhere among the cushions of the living room couch.)

Anyway, I’ll be on the lookout, and I’ll keep my trusty legal pad handy, just in case. Still, if you don’t hear from me for a few days, could you send someone over to check on me? That thing just might have a family out there, and now they know where I live. Eep!

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