The Buzz

In July and August, the hot-weather insects are out in force. All sorts of obscure and icky insect sightings can occur during this time. You innocently leave your car and walk up to the front or back door of your house, dreaming of nothing more exciting than a tall, cool glass of Coke or beer. Then you stop dead in your tracks—some gigantic, ugly, horrifying mutant reject from a monster movie has settled in just where you must put your key or your hand. You’ve never seen this strange life form before or anything like it, and you have lived here for years. “What the hell is that?” you exclaim out loud, hoping the freakish insect will get a clue and retreat without drastic measures. But the creature remains immobile, seemingly in a trance. Fanning it with the piece of paper in your hand doesn’t dislodge it or wake it up (thank gosh!). So you stand there hopelessly staring at it because you don’t want to lunge at it with your shoe and miss, and have to run as you have never run before as it rockets toward you to take revenge for your feeble attempt at insecticide.

So you saunter back to your car, making up some sort of excuse to whoever might have witnessed your ordeal: “I forgot to get bread when I was at the store,” or “I dropped my key” or some such face-saving thing. You drive around the block, thinking of stopping in at the local Dairy Queen for an ice cream cone, but decide you don’t deserve one for being such a coward. You circle the block twelve more times, squint at the spot where the horrifying apparition had been, and see that that spot is now pristine and white, cleansed and pure. You are finally able enter into your apartment or your house, filled with a vast relief and false bravado: “I could have swatted that thing, if I’d wanted to!”  But you know in your deepest self that the reason you didn’t “swat that thing” was because you didn’t want to piss it off or only half-kill it, or kill it and hear that awful crunch of the carapace splitting and the gush of insect guts spilling out. Or perhaps it’s the only living specimen of its kind (surely there can’t be a whole race of those ugly things!), and if you killed it you would have made that species go extinct, which would be an awful thing, or so we are told, but sometimes we wonder. Safely inside, nursing your cold one, you suppress the memories of horror and disgust and pretend this is the only time this sort of incident has ever occurred in your life, and that it will never occur again, ever.

Until next summer, of course. And so it goes…

About Julia French

Writer of contemporary horror fiction.
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