On Scorpions, Dust, and Fur #writerlife


I’ve lived most of my life in the Southwest, where dust rules, cool is anything under 90 degrees, and the local wildlife is more likely to kill you than cuddle. Thus, I’ve maintained an understanding with the three main sand dwellers–scorpions, snakes, and huge ass spiders–you go be you away from me and I won’t try to end your life with whatever object is close at hand. This has worked well for decades, then a few months ago, one of the sneaky suckers decided to change our agreement.

Let’s set the scene, shall we?

It’s somewhere around ten at night. I know this, not because I looked at a clock, but because the Prankster Duo retreated to their separate caves and the Fur Minxes had claimed their pillowed spots. I went to indulge in a little recreational HGTV but the damn remote wasn’t working. With a beleaguered sigh, I decide to go on a hunt for batteries. They generally exist near the laundry room which shares a wall with our garage where our metal steeds are housed. I do not don shoes for I am safely ensconced in my territory, the one that is OFF F’ING LIMITS to creepy crawlies. Barefoot and well acquainted with our cozy shack layout, I don’t even bother turning on lights because, pshaw, there are two blue night lights in the hall that provide enough illumination not to stub a toe.

Meandering into the laundry room, I manage to capture a couple of batteries. Keep in mind this is all accomplished in the damn dark. I turn around. I began to trek back. Something sharp stabs my toe with murderous intent. I swear. I shuffle a couple more steps before my toe feels like its been lit on fire. I swear again. I hit the light. I look down. I shriek (which I don’t think I’ve ever actually done before) and manage to sneak in a few “BEN!”s while I’m at it.

Knight withdraws from his nightly quest of virtual world domination and says, “What?”

Holding abused foot in one hand and hopping away from the pale nightmare on my floor, I point and state the obvious, “SCORPION!”

Thus ensues a swift, if brutal retaliation by my Knight in which the villain of our story does not survive. In the meantime, the Prankster Duo has arrived on scene, the Fur Minxes have decided it’s best to weave through everyone’s legs, including the one-legged, swearing woman hopping around like a damn stork. Then it becomes an episode of ER–meat tenderizer appears out of thin air, bags of ice are gathered, pillows are used as props, and at least one level-headed (Knight) individual figures out that the patient might want to let go the tourniquet like hold on the wounded appendage.

Now, never being stung before, I had no idea what to expect on the pain front. Strangely it wasn’t agony, but the alternating numbness and pain was similar to a pins and needle version of your foot waking up, but on some serious steroids. It ached, then went numb, then ached, repeat for two days. But that wasn’t the worse of it. Nope. Not even close.

What happens when your refuge is invaded? You become paranoid. No more bare feet the house. In fact, you even shake out you shoes before putting them on. What sucked even more? I have to labs who wear tons of fur, and leave it behind whenever they feel like it. I live in a desert where the simple fact of existing means that gold tone isn’t a tan, it’s dust. Add in the fact without my glasses my world turns into one big blurry blob. Put all this together and every clump of fur, every gathering of more than two particles of dust that create a shadow, and I’m seeing stingers and pincers.

In the entire sixteen years after our return from the Northwest, until this last year, I could count on two fingers the number of scorpions that have violated my agreement and my home. Two. In the last three months, I have to now use all five fingers.  This morning was the latest agreement violator. He tried to be sneaky. He hung out on the ceiling. THE CEILING PEOPLE. I may write about how most people don’t look up, but guess what peeps, I DO.  Knight to the rescue and the violator is no more.

However, as I left this morning for the day job, Knight and I decided that if they want to rumble, let’s do it. It’s time to renegotiate our agreement. NO MERCY!

We’re calling in the big guns–a local company that makes stingers shake in their shells. So bring it, you little bastards!

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