They alight for a second, and then, like a neurotic boxer, they fly against the glass and bound off onto the dashboard.
They are nature's lifeblood pickpockets.
The common mosquito; and I mean common.
It had lighted on the gray, plastic part of my car between the windshield and the driver's window, which had recently been cleaned by me. I like to drive a neat and orderly car, considering the rest of the world is so unpredictable.
And when I say that, I don't mean the contents, as my friends will most likely snicker. I travel with a lot of stuff in the back seat and the trunk, but that's because my time is split up between both ends of the state and I have to be ready for anything.
I positioned my hand above the little bastard.
I flexed my fingers to allow maximum coverage and raised my sunglasses atop my forehead so I could see the target better; I wanted him bad.
The newscaster yammered in an excited tone on the radio; something about John McCain.
There were beeps of varying pitch and rhythm from the dash and the interlock device; it sounded like a god damn emergency room.
Steady ... stay on target ... almost there ....
Smack!!!!! Got 'em!
And I lifted the murder weapon away from the killing floor and surveyed the scene.
There were body parts everywhere.
A head hung down from the plastic, swinging from a piece of sinew.
Legs, twisted and broken, were scattered about the area on either side of the torso.
One wing floated, lopsidedly, to my knee.
There was no sign of a struggle.
There was no forced entry, the window had been open, but that's no excuse. This is my house.
But there was a lot of blood.
The crime scene, with help from my four extended fingers, had become such a wide smear of dark red that I couldn't even believe it had come from such a small creature.
And not only was there a lot of it, but it was stubborn mess, and set in to the texture of the plastic almost immediately, taking away, at least for the moment, the feeling of victory and accomplishment I had derived from the public service I had performed.
But whose blood was it inside our little pest's belly?
Was it mine?
I have a few bites on me. I haven't been keeping track of which ones were new. This time of year it feels completely natural to have bites on my hands, feet, back, legs, neck, and arms.
But somewhere, out there, there is a person right now who is scratching a new bite, pissed off and reaching for the Deep Woods Off.
They have no idea that I got the guy.
They have no clue that I took him out without so much as a blink of the eye or a second thought of the conscience.
And I'm sure I'll never know whose blood it really was.
But I know, at the very least, he's history.
When I was using, I was a lot like that mosquito.
I had my own problems that I was dealing with (or not) on a regular basis.
I had plenty of personal and business troubles which were gestating and growing, almost imperceptibly, in the corridors of my existence.
But, because of the insidiousness of addiction, I would take other people's problems and carry them with me to far away places in my social scene. I would fly from bar stool to bar stool like a pesky mosquito with my belly full of rumors and speculation.
The hand that tried to flatten me every time was the reality that snuck up, every so often, that I was really the only one who cared. But that didn't stop me. I just kept alighting and flying, alighting and flying, and it earned me a reputation worthy of a petulant pest.
I don't know why I loved to dish so much.
Maybe it's because I knew (or believed) that people were talking about me, and if I could divert their attention somehow, I would successfully stave off the rumors or recollections of my disastrous nightlife, and live to use another day.
Another thing I know is that if you are a mess, and you don't remember what you did the night before, don't expect most people to tell you straight what, in fact, you did.
Nobody wants to do that; it's nobody's job to play hall monitor.
And I always used to think, hey, what do these people have to hide? They'll tell me straight if I insulted them, right? They'll tell me that I called them names I didn't mean (or did I?), or dropped a bowl of chips on the floor because I was trying to recreate something I saw in a movie that I thought was hilarious. I'd even ask them sometimes and say hey, I know I was a little too drunk last night (laughs) and I probably acted stupid like I do. I just want to say that I'm sorry.
I'd look at them, or try to catch their eye while they found something imaginary that they dropped on the floor, and they'd say not to worry--that I was fine.
But I'd know deep down that I was anything but.
I'd get through the day, walk to the package store, buy a bottle, and go home and forget that I ever even wondered if that look I got from my boss was because I told her something I shouldn't have at the staff recognition party.
I'd get drunk and walk to the bar. I'd get drunker and decide it was time to mingle. And then, I'd see someone I knew--someone who had noticed my gait and had subsequently attempted to painstakingly trying to blend in with the Tony Stewart life-size cutout but had failed, and I would come over and grab for their hand so I could force a social acknowledgement and tell them who I saw walking arm in arm down the street, and can you believe that she's going out with him after all the shit he caused with the mother of his child and the statutory case that is pending and oh my fucking god ...
I'd turn away for a second to order a beer, and when I came back, they would be gone. Well, they would be gone to the other side of the room anyway, away from me.
And I'd move on to the next sucker, carrying my stolen gossip like so much blood in a mosquito and pestering whoever had the misfortune of failing to elude my glazed stare.
Then, on December 27, the giant hand of the man had flexed its fingers, for maximum coverage, raised its sunglasses atop its forehead so it could see the target better (it wanted me bad) and had come crashing down on me scattering my privacy all over the dashboard in such a wide swath that it took weeks, if not months, to clean up the mess.
And I realized at that moment, that that blood was mine.
I realized that, from the twenty odd years of using, I had become filled to capacity with my own disgraces and improprieties.
I had become a pest in the most unattractive sense, both in reputation, and in the fact that now, from my last gasping attempt at a beautiful disaster, my carcass was in plain view of everyone: the authorities, my family, and anyone who cared to pick up the newspaper.
Newspapers have many purposes.
Not the least of which is to flatten those pests who make our lives difficult.
And so, my story was made public.
And I'm sure there was talk about how it was inevitable, and how it's a good thing that someone stopped him before he hurt somebody.
And they were right.
But since then, hardly anyone, besides myself, has made mention of that little dead bug on the dashboard.
And nobody needs to.
Nobody needs to mention how the pieces of that pest are now in the lengthy process of becoming dust, scattering about the cabin's micro-fiber crevices and vinyl covered ledges as both decomposition and the daily winds of an active life take effect.
And one day it will become dust.
And that dust will fly out the window, just like it came in.
And nobody will miss him.
And nobody should.
And that's my kind of pest control.
Thanks for reading,