Every morning, I clear away the detritus of another guerrilla war. I kill any survivors, any skittering assassins, any still-writhing soldiers. I castrate kingpins in my pajamas. I’ve come to look forward to it. I’ve come to take pleasure in the heave-ho. I whistle while I work. Sometimes at night, I deliberately leave the windows cracked to ensure a large haul. I turn the lamp on. I watch the troops gather, clouds of black beating wings called ghosts. Corporals crawl to corners and set their traps. Some tribes never lose the taste for flesh. Minutes are months, moths are generalissimo. I am the Pied Piper on bath salts, Der Fuhrer of the dogged. Of course, it’s come to this.

You can take the girl out of the city, you’re fond of saying. Don’t you realize? I am really a country girl at heart.

My weapon of choice is the blue bagless Bissell® with its Telescoping Metal Wand, Automatic Cord Rewind, and detachable ShedAway® Pet Grooming nozzle. Our only pets are of the Arthropoda varietae, and enjoy the amenities that only a decomposing 19th century lakeside cabin can offer. They are fiercely loyal, and even welcome (I like to think) the bouts of natural selection I inflict every morning. It’s called ‘faith in a higher power.’ For example, when I came across a black pupa wrenching about in my breakfast cereal like a shit with a mind of its own, I chopped it in half and tossed it into Charlotte’s web without so much as a whispered dirge. A Darwinian delight, for me and Charlotte both.

You need to get out more, you say.

And for what? To lie prostrate in enemy territory?

Me thinks not.

I made that mistake once before. What harm could come of a sunset stroll along the lake? Isn’t that why we moved here? you said, sweetly. Even soaked in Deet®, I came back with eighty-seven silver-dollar-sized welts and woozy from blood loss. Tell me that’s dramatic. Tell me I look like a schizophrenic on speed, what with all the swatting and scratching and screams for mercy. Tell me earwigs don’t really lay eggs in your ear. They’re called earwigs, asshole.

Charlotte is dead.

It got personal. One of her minions tried to bite off my toe when I got up to pee last night. Now, my foot is as swollen and red as a ripe sausage. I walk with a limp. I had no choice but to retaliate, lest they take advantage of my disability. That’s how shit rolls. I waited until you left for work at least, crouched on top of the dining room table through the dawn hours, Bissell® in hand, every light burning.

So, who’s crazy? Go ahead and sleep. Wallow in your wet dreams while they slither inside your bedclothes and make a mattress of your pubic hair. Coddle the enemy’s cache in your cochlea, for all I care. I’m going rogue. It’s every soldier for herself, now. Shit is mutating.

Besides, I’m menstruating, motherfucker, they smell me.


Photo By: Roberto Fontana