I may have brought to your attention once that beloved has an extreme aversion to insects, especially flies. I was aware of this early on, thanks to a conversation we had regarding daddy longlegs (the bane of my existence) and camel crickets (the then-bane of his, and which terrified me into attempting to pee standing up lest they crawl out of the toilet and attack my ass). I was not, however, aware that it would cause the neighbors to potentially see me as a battered woman, thanks to the fact that every time a fly buzzes past his ear he smacks at it-usually hitting the bed or a wall in the process-and yells something like, “DIE, MOTHERFUCKER!” That was a surprise. Yay, me.
I may have also brought to your attention that baby girl is a bit of an oddball and has a thing for flyswatters. her last two birthdays, guess what was at the top of her wish list. yup. this year’s model, she says, was preferable to the prior gift, which despite being beautifully embellished with a giant plastic daisy, was deemed “too flimsy to kill ’em good.”
I may also have brought to your attention that we live in a gazillion-year-old house with cracks and gaps and humidity and little people who leave bits of food around occasionally which leads to OMIGOD FLIES MUST DIE.
The only reasonable thing to do, of course, was to order the SUPER KILLER-an electrified flyswatter. It looks like a tennis racket, only when you whack a poor little unsuspecting insect with it, it screams KZZZZZZZAP! and there are sparks and sizzles and little puffs of smoke and holy baby jesus it’s the death penalty for flies.
Needless to say, beloved and baby girl have a ball with this thing. Baby girl carries it around the house trying to convince the flies to come to her: “Heeeeere, little flies… let me zaaaaaap youuuuu… It won’t hurt, I promise… hehehehehe…”
Beloved has been spotted doing ninja moves in the kitchen with the thing. I came home one day to find him and his friend stalking flies, sneaking up on them as if the insects were armed with night vision and echolocation devices. Think The Karate Kid, only armed with a bug-zapping tennis racket rather than a bottle of car wax and being led by a bespectacled musician in plaid shorts rather than a creepy little japanese guy. The enemy, of course, is not the big badass high school jock, but a six-legged creature who only wants to eat poo and vomit on your nose.
I used the thing once. I successfully killed a fly, and immediately dropped the weapon, threw my arms around beloved and sobbed, “Omigaaaaaawd I KILLED something, I killed a poor little FLY and he didn’t even DO anything.”
[Yes, I am the same person who regularly remarks on the unfairness of not being allowed to hit people in the face with a shovel. That’s different.]
But then, something changed. Alone in the house tonight while baby girl slept and I contemplated watching another episode of My So-called Life, I wandered through the kitchen. A fly zipped by my face. Another flew by, taunting my ear. My eye fell on the Super Killer, lying on the washer, waiting for me… just waiting.
I took the bait. I flipped the switch, depressed the safety, and waited. Soon enough, the flies started to emerge. One landed on the dishtowel hung on the stove. I swung and missed-I was never an athlete. Fearless, he landed in the same spot again and this time I was dead-on. KZZZZZZZZZZZZZAP!
Oh god, I was sick and thrilled at the same time. Is this what it feels like to have illicit sex? I wouldn’t know. It must be similar.
Idid it again. And again. And again, and before long I caught a glimpse of myself reflected in the window. I was wild-eyed with the power of taking lives, my hair escaping from its ponytail in a tangled mess… I looked like nothing more than the bastard child of Charles Manson and Strawberry Shortcake, and I was, as they say, mad with the power.
I laid the super killer down and walked slowly into the bathroom, resisting the urge to fry the gnat that followed me in there. I brushed my teeth, one eye on the mirror looking out for flies. Thankfully, there were none. I kept my eyes trained straight ahead as I gathered my computer and my tea and headed for the bedroom, where Iwould settle in with Jordan Catalano and Angela Chase and let their teenage angst override my insecticidal fantasies as I drifted off to sleep.
I feel like the entomological dexter. I can’t say that it’s an entirely bad feeling, either.