Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Lord of the Flies
Early yesterday morning as I was making my car pool rounds, an army assembled outside the Beutler house. A general rallied the ground troops who surrounded the perimeter, and waited silently in the bushes for the command to advance. The air force made ready in the garbage cans sitting patiently on the curb for the trash collectors. The attack was launched just as I pulled into my driveway.
I got out of the car and walked to my front door. There were flies and ants everywhere, and I mean EVERYWHERE. I'm not talking about just a few insects, it was a massive invasion, like nothing I've ever seen.
Where did they all come from? Was it the heat? Did someone leave the lid off the garbage cans while I was out of town last weekend? Did they hear that relatives were visiting and I wanted the house to stay clean?
I stepped over the ant army and dodged the fly squadron that was circling over head and ran for cover in the hall closet that held my weapons of war -- ant spray and a fly swatter. But of course, they had been removed from their designated spots by a husband, or a child in a previous battle. (Why is it no one but me puts things back where they belong???)
In desperation, I improvised -- I grabbed a wet dish towel and began whipping it around like a crazy person. I had some success, but there were just too many winged devils to battle on my own. I needed reinforcements, but my troops had been assigned to the classroom and beach patrol. So, I did what any good officer would do, I retreated to the upper floor for an afternoon of KP.
At 1500 hours, my visiting relatives came home from the beach and Claire and Eden came home from school. Every time someone walked in the door the enemy launched another attack. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th airborne flew in tight formation in and around our heads while the ground troops marched around the kitchen sink.
"Shut all the doors, we are at war!" I yelled.
But no one listened. The enemy advanced, and the eerie buzz in the air get louder and louder.
At 1700 hours, I couldn't take it anymore, so I barked a command to the troops lounging around in the family room:
"Claire, get off that couch and find the fly swatter. Eden, get a towel and start whacking at window sills!"
Claire climbed on a stool and fished around on the top of the refrigerator and found our secret weapon." She said "Hey Mom, look at this, remember last year you bought this electronic bug zapper! It's just what we need."
I had to stop working and give myself a pat on the back for buying such a marvelous tool, and hiding it so well that I forgot all about it. It was a tender mercy that it reappeared just in the nick of time.
I swished the zapper in the air a few times and heard a popping sound that signaled the end for one of the air squadron. My niece Katie said "Hey, let me see that, it looks fun." She went into the living room and started swishing.
"Show no mercy, and take no prisoners!" I yelled.
My brother-in-law Winn said "Man, I wish we had more than one of these, we could could have a competition." That's when I knew it was time to launch our counter attack. We devised a game to see who could zap the most flies.
The battle raged on throughout the night. Finally, it was my turn to patrol the grounds. I made the mistake of trying to zap while I was doing the dishes and touched the metal net with a wet finger. I received a shock that could revive the dead battery on a car. The warning label on the zapper is not there for decoration folks -- it's true. Respect the tools.
At the end of the day, the humans reigned supreme. We defeated the mighty insect army.
Congratulations, Katie, you are the Lord of the Flies.
And now, I must sign off. It's time to clean up the casualties of war.
Post Script: Seriously, if you get one of these bug zappers, keep it away from little kids. The shock you get if you touch the metal was enough to stun me as bad as one of the flies. Ask my kids. I screamed like a banshee.