Something evil this way comes

So, I’m sitting in the backyard, minding my own business, when Godzilla — some people call him the exterminator — shows up, a tank of mass destruction slung over his shoulder.

Alarmed, I leap to my feet. 

“I’m here to do the yard,” Godzilla says pleasantly. 

“Oh,” I say in a high-pitched voice that resembles the sound of a mosquito and conveys that everything I’m about to say is not even remotely sincere. “Okay!”

I have not ordered this. I do not want this. I have nothing against the creatures commonly known as “pests.” But I am that lowly life form known as a Renter, and this decision was made above my pay grade.

Godzilla pulls out his wand and begins to squirt a vile liquid along the base of the house, which abuts a forest and thus is teeming with non-human life.

“Are you having any particular problems?” he asks in a friendly tone meant to conceal his depravity.

“No! No problems at all!”  I squeak, quickly moving to stand in front of the three chipmunk-sized holes into which I toss a handful of sunflower seeds every Sunday morning. (We are big on breakfast in bed around here.)  “Really, we don’t even need you!”

“Well, it’s for prevention, you know. And there’s probably a lot of pests that you don’t notice.”

He advances toward a window where a spider has been tending three egg sacs for a couple of weeks. (Three! Such a hard worker!) We have been looking forward to them hatching.

I think briefly of tackling him. I think I could take him down.

But his eyes are are on the base of the house, and he passes Charlotte and her offspring-to-be and takes aim at the crevice of a brick step where an adorable little frog has been resting of late. The frog is not there, but I am reduced to using breathing techniques I learned in Lamaze class in order to stay upright.

Cleansing breaths! Cleansing breaths!

Mr. Oblivious continues his violent rampage, whistling.

He moves along the side of the house, and I follow anxiously, pointing out the birdseed fallen from the feeder and the frail blossoms I hope will be squash next month.

He is a killing machine; I, a snowflake, desperately trying to reconcile my last few nubs of common sense with my ever-increasing passion for life and its preservation.

This philosophy may sound naive and silly to you, but like a soft, fuzzy peach, it has a hard center that can be reduced to two words, both of which are impolite: Screw death. I’m not a fan.

Meanwhile, I’ve been left behind. The Terminator has advanced past the basil and is poking around the woodpile.

“Hey!  A snake!” he exclaims, and I am done, it is over, all is lost; in a moment, he is going to pull out a machete and carve the snake into little pieces in the grass like some sort of satanic ritual, and when he’s done with that, he will find my secret chipmunk stash.

“A snake!” I say weakly. “What kind?”

It is a Hail Mary question, but it works. I have tapped into some secret hubris, and the exterminator stops the exterminating and proudly recites a small encyclopedia of Snakes of New England, eventually concluding that it was likely a garter snake, the “was” being vitally important, because it means he can no longer see it. The serpent lives and will likely eat that adorable little frog tomorrow; Eden suffers but is not totally destroyed.

A few more squirts of poison, and he is on his way, having been assured that there are NO SPIDERS IN THE HOUSE,  NO, NONE AT ALL, CERTAINLY NOT A WEB OF TINY BABY SPIDERS THAT HATCHED JUST TWO DAYS AGO AND ARE SWINGING JOYFULLY FROM A LIGHT BULB IN THE BASEMENT, CAUSING ME TO HAVE TO YELL “DON’T GET SPIDERS IN  YOUR HAIR” EVERY TIME  SOMEONE GOES DOWNSTAIRS  TO PUT SOMETHING IN THE WASH.

Nope. Nothing to see here.

Honestly.  It’s as if some of you never read “Charlotte’s Web.” 

(This post is dedicated to my horrified friends Jacqueline and Elena. I will be bringing you each a box of baby spiders later.)

7 thoughts on “Something evil this way comes

  1. That was hilarious!
    Do you have a company called “Mosquito Joe” up there? Our neighbors use them. They spray the grass and bushes and kill all insects in all stages of life cycle, all so that little Emma and Aiden don’t get bug bites. The guys who apply it wear N-95 respirator masks. I got a snootful of it once when I was working in our adjacent backyard, and coughed for five minutes. Hell, I’m old enough to remember chasing the DDT truck to enjoy cavorting in the white clouds of delicious-smelling chemicals it produced*,and that didn’t make me cough, but Mosquito Joe sure does.
    * As does everyone I’ve ever met in my age group, 60 – 70.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, they are around here, and no doubt people who use them will be able to join a class-action suit in a couple of decades. I will admit, though, that mosquitoes give me pause. I once interviewed an animal-rights activist who said she won’t even kill a mosquito that lands on her arm; she just brushes them away. My mouth-foaming activism stops at mosquitoes and ticks.

      Like

  2. I love this and so relate. I’ve taken to “saving” any and all spiders and bugs that I happen to run across in my house (and there are many)! I catch and release outside and tell them to have a great rest of their life!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bless you. It is a simple kindness, karma or not. And there is something deeply satisfying about going to bed at night knowing that something will live another day because of you. (Kind of like being a doctor, minus the hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical-school debt.)

      Like

  3. Wonderfully written and giggle-inducing, but I gotta say I was very anxious, hoping no one would be harmed. Ironic that we can’t take a break from killing the Earth during a pandemic. So it goes…

    Thanks for your wit and relief! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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