A STORY ABOUT FLEAS

My dog has fleas.

How do I know this? Well because after I had loaded him lovingly into the front passenger seat of my Lexus, buckled him in, rolled the window down like a caring pet owner and picked myself up a fresh venti Starbucks refresher, I looked over to see him panting, drooling on my seat and making cute eye and butt wiggles in perfect unison. I also noticed a very fat, very bouncy bug, hop off of his dark coat and onto my lap. The fact that I didn't get into a car wreck is a work of God. I pulled over, picked the little bugger off of my skin and squeezed the living daylights out of him and his children's children. It wasn't until I decapitated him with my nail, that I loosed a breath... which, of course, was full of profanities at all living things. Including my numb nut dog who has the audacity to pick up hitchhikers on his morning pee breaks.


I was already in town. My mind raced. I could drive back and drop the dog back off at the house before returning for my grocery pick up. Then I could stop by the pet store and buy out their stock of sprays, shampoos, powders, deodorants and flea combs. The house. What was I going to do about the house? And my car? And my furniture? Nowhere was safe. I simultaneously calculated the amount of shampoo it would take to cover my 90lb dog as well as the square footage of my house. The amount of spray needed (at $15 a bottle) was enough for me to regret picking up the drink at the start of my day. That was dollars I could have put towards the civil war I was about to unleash. Matches would be cheaper. AND more effective.

Once decisions were made (I decided to keep the house) I ran all errands. And the dog (this animal I had once naively deemed "family") spent the better part of 5 hours howling in the backyard, sopping wet, but (hopefully) covered with dead (or dying) fleas. The house was sanitized. I sprayed every surface. Every rug. Each towel or blanket was washed in scalding water. I could feel the screams of terror and relish in the agony of thousands of life forms keeling over, cursing me and my clean environment.


I went to bed convinced I had done the work of God. That my house was clear. That everyone could sleep soundly. I didn't even bother swatting at the fly on my windowsill. He could live another day. My work was done. The next day progressed as usual. The dog scratched less. He was evacuated still to the outdoors. I sprayed the carpets again. Washed more loads of laundry and walked around my house with a cocky hop in my stride, a military General serving the damage his troops left in their wake. I tucked the children in for the night, grabbed my current book read, and headed for the restbit of my bedroom. My glorious bed stretched out before me and my reading lamp already lit.


The lamps warm glow stretched out only halfway through my room. But it was bright enough for the corner of my eye to catch the movement on my bleach white sheets. The tiny hop of an arrogant creature victoriously dancing on my grave. My bed has ticks. My house has been overrun. The dog is disowned and my six year old just asked me with wide (and slightly excited eyes) "Moma, are we really going to burn down the house?"

Sometimes, a General has to make the hard call. Sometimes, they have to realize that the end is nigh.


So the strike of the match echos into the silent darkness pegging the cries of meniscal bugs and their greviences.


And by that, I mean I have decided to never sleep again. The bugs win, the end.

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