Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sleeping with the...Scorpions?

I couldn't help but break with my regular, frenetic, MFA writing/studying routine to post about this. I was lying in bed the other night (reading frenetically, of course). Where the Red Fern Grows. A classic I've avoided because it suffers from the painful dead dog syndrome, actually two dead dogs. But, in the name of higher education, I'd decided to tackle it.

I was just getting to the good part where Billy catches his first coon. He races back to the farm to tell his family. He's screaming and jumping and hooting and hollering. He's so worked up, his mother thinks he's been bitten by a snake. She drops everything and runs to help him.

When she discovers it's not a snake bite at all but a captured raccoon, she threatens to give Billy a sound thrashing.

Pretty exciting stuff, right?

Now add to that that this story takes place in the back country of the Ozark mountains in northeastern Oklahoma, about an hour and a half from where I live. As close to home as it gets, really. Plus, it's nighttime. The kids are in bed. I'm alone. With the dog. And I'm reading about snakes. Yeessh.

Something tickles my arm. I reach over to brush it off, thinking my imagination is really getting the better of me. Out of the corner of my eye, I see something scurry off across my bed. I bolt upright. I look.

It's a scorpion.

"Holy Sh**!"

At least, I think that's what I said. I was busy rocketing out of my bed as far away from the scorpion as possible. Practically hyperventilating, I dash to the phone and call my dad. Yes, I'm five again, tops, and hoping my father can fix it all. His advice: Kill it.

Gulp. I have to kill a scorpion. In. My. Bed.

Sorry, Wilson Rawls, but now Where the Red Fern Grows not only suffers from the dead dog syndrome but also the dead scorpion one too. After I'd beaten the scorpion very very flat, I called my husband and told him he had to come home right now.

When he finally got home and found me, a shell-shocked bundle of jumpy nerves huddled up under a blanket upstairs on the sofa as far away from my bed and any other scorpions that might be lurking, he had a hard time taking me seriously. In his defense, I must have been a comical sight, only I didn't feel a comical sight. I wanted sympathy. Indignation. Deadly, bug-killing chemicals.

But my husband is from Germany. They don't have scorpions. He doesn't get the whole, "They can hurt you" factor. To make matters worse, he is a Scorpio. He joked that I shouldn't have smashed one of his family members. Ugh.

Seeing as I was not going to get the needed overdose of understanding and sympathy from him, I called my girlfriend down the street, who hates bugs, ALL bugs. Okay, so maybe that was a little selfish, but I needed a lifeline! My friend really rose to the occasion. She listened. She was sympathetic. Indignant. Offered bug-killing chemicals. But in the end, there were two of us not sleeping that night.

Many many dollars later (I called the bug guy out to douse the house; so did my poor friend), it is safe to say, the only scorpio(n) I've slept with for many nights now is my husband...I hope.


Scott said...

I'm laughing with you, not at you . . . and I hate bugs. Well, not all bugs, but most of them. My partner, on the other hand, doesn't do bugs, not at all. I remember when we first started dating, and coming home after seeing a play. We were brushing our teeth, and I noticed something moving on the floor. I said "there's a bug". No kidding here, my partner actually jumped backwards into the bathtub yelling 'where, where where??'. I'm sorry, but I found this absolutely hysterical. Still do, as a matter of fact.

On another note, the only time my mother ever called my father to come home from work was when one of my gerbils escaped from its cage. Boy, did I get in trouble over that one!!

I'm glad your scorpion . . . at least the one the buggy one is gone!


beth said...

A scorpion?! OMG! I am so glad that we don't have any of those where I live (Applachain mountains). We have snakes, but I'd take a snake over a scorpion any day.

And it was on you. ON YOU! EW EW EW !!!!!

Kelly H-Y said...

OH MY GOODNESS ... no, no, no! That is just wrong! I'm impressed you even stayed in the house after that! I'm shivering just thinking about it.

Stacy Nyikos said...

My house is as bug free as it can get...I think. Too bad there aren't things like force fields against bugs. I'd so buy one!

Sarah Laurence said...

YIKES! At least you got a great story out of it. I freak out over spiders. Lame but true.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I would have FREAKED OUT too. Man. Ew. Shudder. You poor woman.

Christina Farley said...

Yikes! I'd be freaking out if I were you. Scorpian would send me screaming through the house. Especially if it were snuggled in the bed with me.

adrienne said...

I'll be checking the sheets tonight and maybe every night from now on...

Stacy Nyikos said...

You know, the icing on the whole scorpion cake is that I made a point not to tell my kids about the "episode" because I didn't want to scare them, totally forgetting that my father is far more of a storyteller than I am. One afternoon at Oma and Opa's and my one daughter has been sleeping on top of her sheets for a week!