Stories and Humor to Make You Laugh by C.L. (Cindy) Beck
Tags: bugs, insects, humor
The evil beasts of summer had returned. No, I’m not talking about the census takers, I’m talking about the Queen Mother of all evil beasts—earwigs!
“We’re overrun by bugs,” I called through the open window to my husband, Russ. As I did, one of the nasty-wahsties fell … er … I mean, one of nature’s little decomposers fell from the eaves onto my shoulder. A lesser woman would have freaked out, while I merely brushed it off like someone had lit me on fire. Then, realizing that an entomologist who believes we can live in harmony with nature shouldn’t react so strongly to creepy bugs that look like the spawn of Hell, I swatted the rest of my clothes as if cleaning off dust. Just in case any of the neighbors were watching through a pair of binoculars.
“Russ, come look at these earwigs and help me figure out what to do.” As I said it, Russ rounded the corner with a container of insecticide large enough to nuke every living creature in the Intermountain West. I eyed it and gave Russ my sternest look—one designed to let him know that commercial pesticides were forbidden.
He stared back. “Do you have gas pains? Your face is all contorted.”
Smart aleck. I pointed at the can-the-size-of-a Patriot-missile in his hand. “We do not use poisons to kill God’s creations.”
“Maybe you do not, but I do.” Russ popped the cap and turned toward them, looking as if he intended to empty the can on them.
I grabbed his arm. “No, wait! Let me see if there’s a natural way to eradicate them.”
Russ’s jaw dropped. “A natural way? You mean like how you tried to kill the ants the natural way by sprinkling orange peel on them, so they multiplied and replenished the earth instead? Or the natural way you got rid of wasps by spraying them with ammonia, so they populated the yard and built nests in the clothesline poles, creating offspring large enough to carry off the neighbor’s Great Dane?” He paused. “Well, maybe that one wasn’t so bad.”
Seeing my chance, I grabbed the pesticide from him before he came out of his daydream about the neighbor’s barking dog being carted off as wasp fodder. “Most of the bees are gone now. And I’m sure I can find an environmentally safe way to take care of the earwigs. Just give me a few days.”
Nodding his head dubiously—probably because he knew I was right, but more likely because he knew he’d be sleeping on the couch if he didn’t let me try—Russ walked back in the house, dragging his can of bug spray behind him.
It didn’t take long for me to find an eco-friendly solution. Homemade earwig bait! I put the plan into action.
Two weeks later, while out hanging laundry and dodging the wasps that could not be living in the clothesline poles, I saw Russ step out the back door. He stuck his nose in the air, like a hound dog, and sniffed.
“What’s that awful smell?” Then he looked at the house. “And why are there billions of earwigs crawling all over the walls?”
I stopped pinning the clothes in mid-pin. “Billions of earwigs? Oh, you’re just exaggerating. They’re dying off, thanks to my natural methods of extermination.” I walked over and looked at the walls. They did seem to be teeming with activity. Even worse than that, an aroma reminiscent of dead sheep assaulted my nose.
Uh-oh. It seemed to be coming from my cup of homemade earwig bait that sat near the foundation, so I stepped closer to conceal it. If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s being covert.
Russ cocked his head and pointed behind me. “What are you trying to hide?”
He pushed me gently aside and knelt on the sidewalk, peering into the cup. “Gross! What is this? It looks like earwig stew. And stinks like—”
“It’s not that bad. It just smells like sheep.” I filled my voice with a cheery optimism that I found hard to actually feel since my queasy stomach kept turning over from the odor.
“Sheep? More like roadkill soaking in rancid oil. Where did you get this idea?”
“From the Internet,” I replied. Not an easy task, talking and gagging at the same time. “It’s bait. The earwigs are attracted to the oil, and then they fall in and die.”
Russ held the cup as far away as possible. “It looks to me like thousands are drowning and rapidly rotting, but the rest are thriving on the oil, increasing in numbers, and they think they’re your pets!”
I reluctantly shook my head in agreement, but said nothing since it was hard to talk while holding my nose closed with one hand, and shooing Russ toward the trash can with the other.
As they say in novels, all’s well that end’s well. Or something like that. With grave misgivings that Russ would cover the entire block in a poisonous cloud of insecticide, I agreed to let him nuke the buggers. Within a matter of minutes, most of the earwigs expired. Russ found all thirty malodorous cups of bait and carried them at arm’s length to the trashcan. Once the mushroom cloud of insecticide dissipated, the air once again smelled clean and fresh.
Well, except for slight stench that would occasionally drift past as I was outside fighting the wasps for use of the clothesline. It probably came from some ol’ dead sheep somewhere. But, then again, it could be that I jumped just a little too quickly in giving the neighbors my Knock ‘Em Dead Recipe for Earwig Bait … before I’d actually tried it out.
------"Evil Beasts of Summer: The Sequel" © C.L. (Cindy) Beck------
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