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Bill Brent

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Blogs by Bill Brent

7/1/2006 12:48:53 AM

When the going gets tough, the tough get an insect-zapper.
I knew that box was trouble when Doug dragged it home. Yes, it was an amazing gift -- one that, we both hoped, would end my bitching about the mosquito problem. You see, I'm one of those humans that mosquitoes find absolutely irresistible. Take me to a party, put me at the center of a crowd, and the mosquitoes on the periphery will just ignore all the nearby guest-meat and make a beeline for remote little me. Well, a mosquito-line, at least. I guess that, to paraphrase Mister Rogers, I'm their special friend. Lucky me.

And so, naturally, it annoyed Doug when the box sat in a corner of the kitchen, neglected by me for a solid week, after he'd gone out of his way to make a special purchase. He'd seen me suffer for months, and had ended up suffering quite a bit himself, as our slumber and dining were upstaged constantly by my sudden shrieks or outbursts of physical movement whenever I was dive-bombed by yet another unwelcome houseguest. This was war, pure and simple.

I knew that moving to Hawaii was asking for it. I knew that, no matter where we ended up, I was to do eternal vigilance against the sun and the bugs, particularly the mosquitoes. They'd been a problem in Guerneville, too, but their numbers were trivial compared with what I'd experienced during our Hawaiian visits.

And yet, for all that, I was ambivalent about setting up the damn machine. Part of it was pure laziness. All week long, I knew I should get the thing going, but I always found something more important to do.

You see, most bugs don't really bug me. Maybe I'm a bit too compassionate for my own good, but I have an ethical problem with killing any other living creature that isn't bothering me. For instance, like most Hawaiian homes, ours is overrun with lizards. It drives me crazy when I accidentally squish a baby lizard in the door or window, so I am extra careful to check before closing. And my insect death list is fairly short and practical, especially for Hawaii: Mosquitoes. Biting flies. Roaches. Termites. Fleas. And especially the notorious stinging centipedes. Moths get the green light with me, though, as do house flies, crickets, and especially spiders (hey, they eat a lot of the bugs I don't like).

So Doug finally set up the bug-zapper tonight, after I'd promised to do it by the time he got home tonight and failed to follow through. The blue light came on and instantly began serenading us with the sound of zaps and jolts as our flying friends met their doom. Some of the zaps went on significantly longer than others, which began to disturb me.

Doug's timing left a bit to be desired, though -- the frying flyers began making their trips to the afterlife just as I was setting down a lovely dinner of chicken teriyaki on a bed of rice, with a side dish of marinated cucumbers. The irony of slicing into fried chicken meat as we listened to the sounds of frying insect meat was not lost on me.

I began making sarcastic little remarks about the alarming efficacy of our latest purchase, which is my classic defensive reaction when something is bugging me, so to speak, but I don't have quite enough nerve to lay it on the line. But finally I said:

"The mosquito zapper seems to be zapping everything ELSE, too. I wonder what's being fried when it gives out with those really LONG zaps."

As if to prove my point, the machine emitted a burst of sonic static that seemed to last for ten full seconds.

"Lizard flambé," I moaned. "Dinner at Dachau!"

Doug marched over to the front door and flicked the mosquito-zapper off.

"What?" I said, but I already knew I'd pissed him off.

"I've just had a really rough day," Doug sighed. Now I felt really horrible – guilty and sad and protective and defensive all at once.

"I'm sorry, sweetie," I said, "but they're not bothering me right now. They're outside and I'm in here. I seem to recall that Beth in Guerneville only turned on her zapper while she was out on the porch, having a smoke." Strictly speaking, I wasn't so sure that was true, but it sounded plausible. Besides, our neighbor's bug-zapper didn't sound off nearly so regularly as our crackling cabinet of doom, which had been emitting such a steady stream of artillery-bursts that it sounded like the checkout register in the fast lane at Safeway.

To be continued…?

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More Blogs by Bill Brent
• 3000 word day - Tuesday, February 06, 2007
• NEW BLOG AT - Sunday, December 17, 2006
•  DINNER AT DACHAU - Saturday, July 01, 2006  

• A BOGGLED BIRD - Monday, June 19, 2006
• ALOHA FROM THE BIG ISLAND - Monday, June 12, 2006
• BOOK REVIEW -- Not Buying It: My Year WIthout Shopping, by Judith Levine - Monday, April 17, 2006
• BOOK REVIEW -- The Brief History of the Dead, by Kevin Brockmeier - Friday, March 17, 2006
• THE BEATLES (a mini book review), AND RECOVERY FROM THE UBIQUITOUS - Tuesday, February 14, 2006
• THE PLANE HAS LANDED - Wednesday, January 18, 2006
• UNCOMPLICATE MY LIFE - Sunday, November 13, 2005
• PATIENCE - Thursday, November 03, 2005
• THE WEEKEND SHIFT - Saturday, October 29, 2005
• WHEN DOES MY PLANE LEAVE? - Monday, October 24, 2005
• Are W. and Cindy a match? - Thursday, September 29, 2005
• What do morality and intelligence have to do with the Religious Right? - Tuesday, September 13, 2005
• America is at war -- civil war. - Wednesday, September 07, 2005
• Kanye West is my new hero - Friday, September 02, 2005
• performing my songs in public - Monday, August 29, 2005
• BOOK REVIEW -- The Tragedy of Today's Gays, by Larry Kramer - Thursday, August 18, 2005
• EXISTENTIAL QUERY - Monday, August 15, 2005
• BOOK REVIEW -- Piano Girl, a memoir, by Robin Meloy Goldsby - Friday, August 12, 2005
• BOOK REVIEW - When I Knew (Robert Trachetenberg, ed.) - Friday, July 29, 2005
• Creative Achievement - Saturday, July 09, 2005
• hypomania and insomnia - Saturday, June 11, 2005
• book reviews in brief - Thursday, June 09, 2005
• atrocious (ab)use of language - Tuesday, January 11, 2005
• on accepting one's limitations - Wednesday, January 05, 2005
• End Of The Year Summary - Thursday, December 30, 2004
• The D.I.M. Approach to Life - Monday, December 27, 2004
• isolation vs. aloneness - Thursday, December 23, 2004
• on the nature of a drug habit - Thursday, December 23, 2004

Carson Chance, P.I., Over the Edge by N Brown

This is a sentimental and epic story about a young man, injured in the Viewnam War, who returns to Dallas, Texas, in 1964, and begins rebuilding his life. Set against the rock and ..  
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