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Mammy had withdrawn to the farthest wall, her eyes wide.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!
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.”
… 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.
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.