Buzzed

The Compass - - Editorial - Harold Walters My Im­per­fect Slant — Harold Walters lives Hap­pily Ever Af­ter in Dunville. He thinks it’s cool to live in the only Cana­dian province with its own time zone. He does not think it cool to live in a province that taxes books. Reach him at gh­wal

Once, in a dif­fer­ent bay, in a pre­vi­ous cen­tury, al­most in an ear­lier coun­try, for frig sake, Pappy’s roar woke me in the dead of night.

“Son of a gun,” he said, al­beit in a saltier ver­nac­u­lar .. . . . .

More cu­ri­ous than fright­ened, I ran to­wards his voice.

A match stuck. A bed­side lamp flared.

Mammy had with­drawn to the far­thest wall, her eyes wide. Pappy danced on a floor mat fran­ti­cally search­ing through his chest hair with the same in­ten­sity that he’d searched through sheep’s fleece dur­ing yes­ter­day’s shear­ing.

“Gotya, ya bug­ger,” he said, hold­ing his pinched fore­fin­ger and thumb in front of his nose.

A drop of his own hot blood squirted when he squat the sheep tick’s en­gorged body.

“Harry,” says Dear­est Duck, “that is dis­gust­ing.”

“Not so, my Duck,” say I. “Ticks were al­ways a prob­lem dur­ing spring shear­ing.”

“Not the tick per say, my love,” said Dear­est Duck. “The dis­gust is in the gory de­tail.”

Any­way, b’ys, that was a life­time ago. Yet, the san­guine mem­ory arose in the dead of a more re­cent night while I, a re­luc­tant wed­ding guest, lay in bed wide awake on a lofty level of one of The Cap­i­tal City’s ho­tels. Be­side me, un­trou­bled, Dear­est Duck’s gen­tle snores caused the Richter Scale to trem­ble.

I pon­dered life on this planet — LOTP — while Dear­est Duck dreamed of … well, prob’ly not me.

You know, this planet teems with life.

TEEMS, in cap­i­tal letters! Think about it. All the peo­ple alive right now, this minute. All the an­i­mals, birds, in­sects, creepy-crawly crit­ter just this side of mi­cro­scopic. And that’s not in­clud­ing plant life.

There is so much life pul­sat­ing on this planet that merely think­ing about it makes me itch.

Es­pe­cially, in light of Orkin Canada’s — what­ever that is — re­cent pro­nounce­ment.

Those Orkin nit-pick­ers have ranked The Cap­i­tal of this — the fairest of all prov­inces, eh b’ys? — as the fifth most bed-bug in­fested city in the King­dom of Justin. For frig sake!

Af­ter I chanced across this in­for­ma­tion, I made a mis­take.

I vis­ited Mr. Google to see what he had to say about bed bugs — Cimex lec­tu­lar­ius.

Those lit­tle frig­gers are vam­pires!

Truly.

They live en­tirely on blood, and the Latin frig­ger men­tioned above ac­tu­ally prefers — prefers, mind you! — hu­man blood.

A spawn-of-Drac­ula bed bug can — if needs be — linger in the seams of a mat­tress or the joints of bed boards for a whole year wait­ing for sus­te­nance in the form of suc­cu­lent hu­man blood.

Of course, the wait usu­ally isn’t that long. Not in The Cap­i­tal where trav­el­ers as widely rov­ing as Marco Polo and that buddy Mag­el­lan come and go, come and go…

The Cap­i­tal teems, for frig sake.

“Harry, my fib­bing love, I do not snore,” says Dear­est Duck who ap­par­ently has missed the more rel­e­vant fac­tors.

“My Duck,” say I, “I can­not tell a lie.”

Any­way…

… I lay in the ho­tel bed, avoid­ing the mat­tress’ seams and try­ing not to touch the head­board, scratch­ing and strug­gling to for­get that I was

… bed bug bait …

… tailed out like a goat for ram­pa­geous African lions.

Bed bugs, those blood-suck­ing fiends, are at­tracted by body heat.

To a bed bug, a portly gen­tle­man, heated to room tem­per­a­ture, ap­pears much more tooth­some than a scrawny, shiver­ing bag of bones.

I squirmed and scratched as Dear­est Duck con­tin­ued to… to…as Dear­est Duck con­tin­ued to sleep softly. (Ev­i­den­tially, I can fib af­ter all, eh b’ys?)

Mr. Google told me that a bed bug when fully en­gorged — fully en­gorged with a broth of hu­man blood! — is no big­ger than an ap­ple seed.

Big enough to see. The dick­ens to catch.

How­ever, we hu­mans — food on the hoof, so to speak —can fight back…

… by thrash­ing in our sleep. Mr. Google again — “Blood­specked sheets might be ev­i­dence of a bed bug in­fes­ta­tion.” Think about it.

While we slum­ber, those sneaky frig­gers, at­tach them­selves to us like piglets at Mammy Sow’s teats and suckle till day­light un­less…

… un­less we thrash about as if hag-rid­den and squat the whoop­sie out of the lit­tle shag­gers.

So.

If it comes to pass that you must spend a night at an inn in the Fifth City, do not sleep like a log. Just in case, sleep proac­tively. Pre­tend you are in a ship at sea… tem­pest tossed.

Thank you for read­ing.

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