War has been waged in my home.
The last ten days have seen my surroundings, once contented, morph into a terrifying battleground, and at lightening speed. Once quiet evenings with a good book have, from seemingly nowhere, turned into hours of blaring diatribes of bitterness, complete with a curse word to every third or fourth noun, and often ending with a non-flying object taking to the skies out of utter frustration. Days of extensive irritation, and consequent pain have ensued, causing hurt and anger to collect in the space above my head like hard black lines scribbled in a bubble above a comic strip character. And, yes, weapons of mass destruction have been used.
As point of fact, I committed mass genocide twice in the past week (can’t say that every day), and scattered everywhere are the littered remains of this tragedy. As the healing process begins, the debris of the fallout is sprayed upon the canvas of the hallways of my home in great scratches, drawing blood from friendly fire, and spewing excrement out into the world. Yes, blood and shit.
These little fuckers have been around for millions of years, and it’s not difficult to see why: they are survivors, and damn near impossible to eradicate. As much or more so than some evolutionary bad-assery that has them virtually dodging bullets, these babies procreate faster than a teenage boy out the gate the first go. Yeah, that fast.
Just when you think you have the whole damn infestation thing under control, and you’re finally feeling confident enough to actually sit down on your couch without being concerned about minuscule blackened blood turds crunching beneath you after your cat’s recent nap, one of those parasitic assholes lands on your arm as you’re minding your own business. Where did he even come from??
In my particular case, two evenings before that exasperating moment, I stood in the check out line at Safeway armed with the tools of an Executioner: a flea comb, flea collars, flea bombs, flea shampoo, flea medication, flea powder, flea spray – pretty much anything to do with annihilating fleas – and a giant bottle of red wine. Hey, if I was going to mass murder thousands of living things – whether justified or not, I was going to be drunk when I did it.
Problematic was the conscience I had recently gained when it came to extinguishing life. I know, I know, your eye roll is well-played. We are human, after all- top of the food chain and all that, a sentiment I had always readily held onto when some nasty critter found it’s way through splintered cracks and narrow crevices of my house in search of a warm place to live.
In fact, for the bulk of my adulthood, I was considered the heartless spider killer of the family. The Spider Squisher, I had been dubbed, as much because of my fabulous hot pink heel with the same nickname that had long been my tool of the trade, as because of my merciless acts of bloodshed toward their kind. I got the job done. I was a war criminal, and with no guilt whatsoever.
I spent years bravely reaching toward creepy octopedals, armed with my squisher shoe or a myriad of other objects meant to destroy a living creature that was literally doing nothing to harm me. And, I suppose after years of looking into their four eyes as I snuffed the breath from them, spiking their brains with the sharp heel of my pink shoe, or flattening their bodies between my thumb and forefinger- only a few layers of toilet paper between their innards and my skin, I finally came to see a sentient being, just trying to survive like the rest of us.
I have surprised myself with my attitude of compassion toward the crab out-of-water. I mean, screw rationality, just look at these creepy effers!
Then again, I have to be honest, that one is kind of adorable, like some misunderstood monster in a Pixar film. Okay, here’s a scarier, more disgusting one to drive my point home…
Well, shit. He’s cuter than the first one. Let’s try this again…
Forget it. We’ll consider my point all the more reiterated- I simply couldn’t kill these guys anymore.
It appeared my omnipotent power over spiders had reached borders unknown, as I literally struggled with the idea of enforcing my previous antics of controlling the outlandish population of the arachnids native to Oregon by squishing, stomping, drowning, and even vacuuming up the nasty buggers. After all, I reasoned, just because I can do something doesn’t necessarily mean I should, although there’s a cautionary perspective placed upon that auxiliary verb. None of this to say that while I had a newfound no-kill policy, I sure as shit didn’t want them hanging about either, and, going forward, I enforced the cup collect method of removal, escorting the creepy things politely to the front yard.
But fruit flies? They can fuck right off. So, I suppose my compassion is discretionary.
Truth is, I’m merely defending my nest, no matter the cost, and were I to allow those bastard fleas to live, it would certainly dis-enhance my own life, as well as those of my family and pets. So screw the bouncy little MoFos. Besides, the Ctenocephalides Felis, commonly known as the cat flea- although I prefer to think of them as Shitsticks, is one of the most abundant and widespread species of flea on earth – of which there are thousands. And, here I am, helping out with population control once again, doing my part to balance wiping the assholes out entirely, and keeping their sub-species from extinction – although I’m not sure why the latter is even a consideration.
So, when it comes down to it, I’m doing my duty as a citizen of planet earth as I poison and infect the vile parasites that feed off of the blood of those I love. And as I call the exterminator to finish the job I’ve been tirelessly working at for the last week and then some, I’m raising my arm in triumph! You are defeated! Die, Fleas, Die!!!
Annnnnd, wouldn’t ya know it; a fucking flea just landed on my arm.