Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Yellow Jacket Wasp

Saturday night, I was in a bit of a panic. In the midst of an oppressive heatwave, I was worrying over career issues and trying NOT to go out and spend any money. I was texting with a friend who suggested we could go up to my rooftop and drink some booze that had been leftover from the July 4th celebration a few days earlier. Take my mind off of things.

I scaled the ladder to my rooftop, Tupperware of ice cubes and half-empty bottles of liquor stuffed in the backpack slung over my shoulder. There'd been some violent thunderstorms earlier in the evening but they seemed to have settled down. As I tried to open the rooftop hatch, I felt a sharp sting against my left arm, as if I'd accidentally touched some kind of live wire. But there were no exposed electrical wires up there. A moment later, I saw what it was.

A yellow jacket wasp. Fussing about the top rung of the ladder.

I dropped down. Cleared my friends out. Retrieved some flying insect spray from the apartment and dispatched with the pest.

We drank inside that night.

+ + +

The next morning, I step outside the apartment door. There is *another* yellow jacket flying about the rooftop ladder. (Looking to avenge its friend?)

I head back into the apartment. Get the spray. Fill the air with it.

TWO YELLOW JACKETS drop to the ground.

They're both still twitching but one is definitely the angrier one.

Its head is thrashing up and down as if it were screaming unperceivable yellow-jacket obscenities at me. Its plump, black and yellow abdomen is thrusting up into the air, its tiny stinger pumping out, trying to kill even as it lay partially paralyzed on the stairs.

I delicately pick it up with a paper towel and stare at it closely. Fascinated by its anatomy and its relentless will to kill.

The yellow jackets don't lose their stingers like bees, so they can just keep on stinging you. The sting from the previous night had hurt like hell. Like I'd been stabbed with an electrified needle. I felt the pain deep in my arm. But I had the ice ready and I'd iced the fuck out of it and although the area was still red and a little sore, it never swelled up like a mosquito bite.

Still... a few hundred more stings and I could dead...

I stared at the paralyzed yellow jacket lying on the paper towel. Refusing to die. Vainly trying to attack me with its thrusting abdomen and the dual swords of its stinger... and I didn't feel compelled to put it out of its misery.

I felt compelled to torture it...



What would happen to it if I lit it on fire...?

Or took a pair of tweezers and tried to pluck out that stinger that kept poking out...?

"Hey, yellow-jacket: this is what it feels like to be a fucking honeybee, bitch!"

Maybe imprison it in an empty soda bottle. See how long it lives; maybe even try to nurse it back to health so I could find more ways to harm it.

And then the mind returned to fire. The classical element. Oh, how I really did want to see what fire would do to it. I imagined its fat abdomen bursting with the application of heat, sending a splatter of toxins into the air.

Live dissection, perhaps? I could pin it down with needles and open it up. As it glared at me and screamed silent Hymenoptera curses at me. At what point would it stop fighting...?

These things had invaded my personal space. Had the audacity to hurt me. Had made me feel just a little less safe in my home. This was a bane in my life that I had control over. And something deep inside of me didn't want to just kill it. I wanted to make it fucking suffer.

Alas... that compulsion wasn't strong enough to make me want to deal with a messy, unknowable aftermath...

And so I took the paralyzed wasps to the bathroom. Pumped some liquid soap onto their struggling bodies. Then flushed them down the toilet.


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