You know you have an interesting marriage when you ask your spouse to kill a bug and he shoots it with an air gun.
This story ties deeply into the past. When my husband was a young man, maybe college age, his father had been trying to trap a rat in the kitchen. He set a trap inside the kitchen cabinet, where the rat was indeed caught, but somewhat reluctant to die. My husband said his two little sisters sat at the kitchen table while their father disappeared wordlessly into the bedroom, returned with a gun, opened the cabinet door, and blasted that rat to kingdom come. My husband often jokes that there were three holes to patch that day—one where the bullet exploded the skull of the rat and travelled through the exterior wall of the home, and two for the heads of the girls as they hit the ceiling.
Just keep that story in mind. You see, tonight after the kids were tucked in, I was curled up in my reading chair in the office when a downright hideous mustache bug ran up the wall near me, across the fireplace, and down the other side. He was a really big bug, by the way. (I think he might even have been the size of a rat.) I despise these mustache bugs—also called house centipedes—because they have many legs with spines that can leave the same painful sting as a bee. Worse, the buggers are horribly fast. I used to kill my own bugs, but now, married to a former military officer, and hence, trained killer, I happily have reassigned that duty to him.
“Baby!” I said frowning. “Please kill it.” The bug had tried to camouflage himself against the brick near the corner of the fireplace where it jutted from the wall, a rather awkward location for a would-be safe and effective swatting. My husband established code red and put me on alert. My job was to watch the invader, track his every move, and report it. I tucked my legs up under me, leaned over the edge of the chair closest to the hiding bug, and made mental notes. At the time, I thought my husband was going upstairs to get a shoe. I was wrong. He came downstairs wielding a gun. I fled the scene for the kitchen, covered my ears, and waited.
“Eleven pumps on this air gun,” he said. “Minimum recommended is three. Maximum is ten. The bug is gone.” He seemed more amused with himself than anything else. I think I was in a state of shock. I have seen people do a lot of things to insects—fry them with sunbeams and magnifying glasses, stomp them, catch and release them, kill them using one’s own hands (ugh!), and the last resort, shoot poison from a can of Raid.
In the kitchen, my husband gave me a debriefing. He showed me how the air gun worked and discussed the splattered bug, target practice, and the pellets, which he had not needed to use this time. Finally, I just started to laugh. I laughed until tears ran down my face.
“This just assures me you are exactly the man I thought I married,” I gasped reminding him about the time he shot a passel of house-eating squirrels in the backyard of a former home in a former marriage—from the hideout of his living room using the lock notch of the sliding glass door as a guide. I cannot remember how many critters he killed, but there had been a great question about what to do with the squirrel carcasses. I do recall something about his having to light candles and blow the scent of a fired gun out of the house…before his then-wife came home.
My husband was proud of tonight’s unique problem solving technique because of the awkward location of the bug, its known speed, and the likely ineffective use of a shoe. My version of solving this problem would have been to use the long wand of my Dyson vacuum, or what I like to call The Giant Bug Sucky. Either way, so long as no one gets hurt. In the meantime, if you really need to know how to kill a bug, you know who to call.