We are all enjoying a remarkably warm autumn on the coast of Maine. The weather has included late spring temperatures and intermittent rain. Our gardens last longer and the deck furniture we used to store away toward the end of October is staying where it is.
This continuation of summer forces us to mow our lawns. During the past 40 or so years I used to wake up every morning hoping to see a fine carpet of frost covering what would stop growing. This is not happening so every five or seven days I have to take out my mower and complete a job I loved in the spring and now hate during what has to be called a pseudo-fall.
Walking behind my push mower I rounded around an old bush that seems to want to last forever. It is a perennial whose roots have grown large and push up out of the ground. I still run my mower over the roots because the grass around them makes my property look a bit sloppy.
Pushing my sputtering machine away from the roots I felt a prick on the back of my leg. Then I felt as though someone had decided to slice the back of my leg with a razor. The immediate pain did not hurt as much as what it felt like minutes later.
Actually, I thought my leg was on fire. Then I felt another stab on my arm, neck, leg and even my butt. I was obviously under attack. I ran away from the army of wasps whose main existence was to protect the nest.
A swarm followed me around my property and all I could do was attempt to swap them away with my hat and wounded arms. I must have looked like a very bad dancer in a very bad ballet.
I finally out ran the bombardiers and headed into my garage. After killing a few between my fingers, because they were literally attached to my shirt and shorts, I went into my house and immersed myself in ice in order to stay alive. All I could think about in my ice pack was how I was going to attain revenge against the invaders of my property.
The swelling finally went down and I did stay alive. I immediately went to the nearest Home Depot in order to buy multiple cans of wasp spray. I bought the type that sprayed a long distance so I wouldn’t have to suffer through any more stings.
I was advised to wait until dusk to spray the nest, of which I observed had hundreds if not thousands of those flying invaders. They swarmed around a very large hole around the roots of what used to be my favorite bush. The sun went down at which time I drained all four cans of foaming insecticide into the hole.
I figured if I didn’t poison them at least I would drown them. They attacked again with the same result. Sitting in my favorite chair once again engulfed in ice I imagined a bunch of these flying aliens at an underground bar sipping on mugs of their favorite brew. In other words, the cans of killer liquid had no affect on them.
When that failed I limped toward my computer to use Google to find out how to kill those sons of wasps. After an hour of viewing different strategies I found one that was repeated many times. It instructed me to wait until dusk and fill the hole with dishwasher detergent and then take a hose and drown the wastards.
The soap was supposed to goo their wings so they couldn’t fly. Early evening came and I did precisely what the video told me to do. Running into my garage I noticed that more of the wasps were stuck to me and thus had more time to do their damage. Freezing my body for the third time in two days I imagined multiple striped assassins taking a bath in what would be their favorite bubble bath.
I was done losing to a bunch of interlopers. I dressed myself into multiple hooded sweatshirts, heavy pants, gloves and woolen hats. Even though it was over 85 degrees my still frozen body did not care. This time I approached the nest ignoring swarms of bugs attempting to impregnate my armor.
In one hand was a cup of gasoline and in my other hand was my running garden hose. I knew what I had to do. I poured the fuel into the hole, backed up a few feet, and threw a lit match into the hole that had to lead to Hell.
It exploded and shot up a cylinder of fire and burning wasps. They still attached even though most were on fire. It looked like a dogfight during World War II. I threw the hose into the hole as the bottom of my once favorite bush caught fire. A few hours later it was over. I had finally won and the next day I buried the hole under two bags of garden soil.
We are all enjoying a remarkably warm autumn on the coast of Maine. To this day I am still forced to mow my lawn praying for the first frost of winter. The other day I cut what was left of the grass around my soon to be dying favorite bush. I noticed that some of the dirt over the hole had moved. I went back into my house making sure I had plenty of ice.
Beware the bugs of Autumn by Jim Fabiano.
Jim Fabiano is a retired teacher and writer living in York, Maine
You can contact Jim at: firstname.lastname@example.org