Friday, July 27, 2007

Signs O' The Times

A possible conversation taking place somewhere in Great Britain...

Chap 1: "I say old chap, of all the reasons David Beckham could have chosen to go to America, what do you think could have been going through his old bean?"

Chap 2: "I'm as befuddled as you are, my good man. Of course, he could become a bigger star perhaps if he were playing overseas. They need a star footballer over there."

1: "Oh, hogwash. The sport will never be big over there because they're too low-class to appreciate it. Their three most popular sports are all way bigger than football, or soccer, which is what they call it. And it's disgusting the filth that permeates their sports culture."

2: "Well, sure, there's all the hippity-hop and bling-blung and whatever, but maybe it's not so bad for footballers. Besides, it's not like all the sports stars in America are thugs and bad blokes, just a bloody few."

1: "Oh yeah? Tell me, what do you think is the big story in the major sports over there? What's the first thing you think of when you think of baseball news?"

2: "I don't know."

1: "I'll tell you, it's that gargoyle Barry Bonds about to break the all-time home run record. I mean, never mind the fact that the most home runs hit were by Sadaharu Oh in the Japanese leagues. I understand they only want to acknowledge the major league record. That's their style, you see, ignore the rest of the world and only point out your own achievements. But fine, let's say Hank Aaron is the home run leader. This Bonds guy is obviously unnatural, you can just look at him and tell he uses some sort of supplement that no one else uses because no one else looks like him! His hat size grew about 3 full sizes in 8 years! He's a walking pharmacy, I tell you, but their commissioner just throws his hands in the air and says nothing. And Bonds even testified to a grand jury that he used a steroid, but he says he didn't know what it was. Come on, you think anyone, much less a world-class athlete, puts something in his body and doesn't bloody well know what it is?"

2: "That doesn't sound very bright, no."

1: "And what's the first thing in your mind when I mention basketball?"

2: "Why, Michael Jordan, of course. Is he still playing?"

1: "No, he finally retired years ago for the 7th time. You haven't heard what happened with the basketball officials?"

2: "No I haven't."

1: "They're on the bloody take! They found a guy who was an NBA official for I believe 13 years, and they say he was involved in the Mafia and had gambling debts, and agreed to lower his debts by calling a boatload of fouls and making his games tilt over the over-under number. Can you imagine? Their commissioner had all these silly rules for the players like a dress code and such, trying to control them like he was headmaster, and meanwhile his officials are fixing the games! You wonder how many other things they will find when they investigate. I mean, what's stopping other officials from getting in on the action, or even players? Hell, the commissioner wouldn't know. He's busy keeping an eye on whether Shaquille O'Neal is wearing a bloody sportcoat!"

2: "That is indeed scandalous."

1: "And what about American football? What do you think is the biggest story there?"

2: "Oh, I know this one. It's that one guy who was 'making it rain' throwing money in the gentleman's club, and then one of his buddies shot a man and paralyzed him. Pity."

1: "That's old news, pal. One of their star quarterbacks was just indicted because there was a house he owned but never lived in, and they found it was a house where he and his friends raised dogs to fight for money. And when there were dogs that wouldn't make good fighters, they would just kill them as if they didn't deserve to live. I'm talking electrocuting them, shooting them, firing them down to the ground until they stopped moving--vile, disgusting things."

2: "Fancy that. I've never heard of such a thing. They would make the dogs fight for money, you say? There were prizes for this?"

1: "No, no, folks would bet on which dog would win. It wasn't like a league where there was a champion--this was all underground stuff."

2: "That's sickening."

1: "Now what do you think about Beckham going to the United States?"

2: "That he's entering the gates of Hades?"

1: "Exactly."

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Lord Of The Houseflies

I recently moved to second shift on my job because I wanted to free up my mornings to eventually return to school, so coming home last Sunday night should not have been an unusual event. Oh, but it was. It was a humid day, so I didn't really freak out when I got home at 11:15P and saw a fly on my cabinet above my sink in the kitchen. I slowly took my shoe off and (I think) killed it. That would be that, I figured, until I spotted two more black dots in the darkness above my window. This was a little disturbing because I haven't had an insect problem in this house, at least since I moved out of the spider-infested basement, plus I had never opened my kitchen window at all, so I was wondering how they even got in. I hit the kitchen lights expecting to get a better view of those two flies, and there it was, much to my horror and surprise--a brood of flies hanging out on my window's blinds, and a group in the little window above my backdoor attracted to the hall light. It looked to be 30 to 50 of them at least. I did what any tough guy would do--scurried to my bedroom and shut the door. Two more flies came out of my bedroom window and startled me, and at that point I shut my window, eventually killed both of those flies, and wondered what the fuck was going on. Now, I'm not the cleanest person on the planet, but I did not have garbage lingering around in the house, nor did I have food left out anywhere. Hell, I had just washed my dishes the night before. There was no smell coming from my home, and I didn't sense any dead animals or horse shit outside the house. I called my girlfriend and expressed my anguish at the situation, then I decided to go to bed and hope that this was some kind of fluke that only science could understand and that my place would be back to normal the next day.

It wasn't.

The damn things seemed to multiply, numbering close to 100. I took out some garbage and left my backdoor open for a couple of hours because even though there's a second screened door that I can't keep open, the screen is broken, so if the flies wanted to leave, they easily could. Maybe I was hallucinating at this point, but I saw yet more flies on my blinds when I came back in the kitchen. I called my play aunt and asked for some bug spray, and her daughter came through the back hall and rang the bell. I was so skeezed out by my kitchen that I shouted for her to go around the front because I didn't want to even go in there. She had the biggest bug eyes when she got to the front because she could see the infestation in my window from the outside. Then I went in my bathroom for the first time that day. My bright, sunny bathroom where the window doesn't have blinds or shades. Fifteen or 20 flies were buzzing around, soaking up the sun. I used the bug spray to kill off as many as I could, but this stuff wasn't of the highest quality. Some flies got irritated and started flying back at me. My dining room, where I have big heavy wooden blinds that keep a lot of the sun out, seemed fine until I noticed one fly on the blinds, and when I took the little can of bug spray that my play aunt gave me and tried to get that one, 10 or 15 more flew up out of nowhere as if I had no right to disturb their play time.

That was my breaking point. It was time for the heavy duty stuff. I put on some clothes and walked to Walgreens and didn't hesitate to pay $7 for something called Cutter Bug Free Backyard Outdoor Fogger. I didn't know how effective the product would be, just that it would produce a cloud of poison that hopefully would create a mass genocide of all the flies in my kitchen, dining room, and bathroom. My bathroom was already a dead zone because of all the cheap bug spray I used earlier, so I tried it on my dining room blinds, and there weren't any more flies flying around after 20 seconds of spraying the fogger. So far, so good. I had to get my guts together and work up the gumption to go in the kitchen where the sheer number was to that point overwhelming, but I finally put on my Terminator persona, put on my headphones with some rap music pumping, shouted out "Die motherfuckers die!!!" and killed them all. Actually, the minute-long fogging stirred the fuckers around for a second, then they started to just collapse to the floor one by one. I left the kitchen to let them enjoy their last gasps, then the poison started overwhelming me, so I left the apartment for a half-hour and chilled in my play aunt's crib. When I came back, there were no more flies on my kitchen blinds. They were all on the floor, save for maybe ten on my windowsill. I actually had to battle in my mind whether I wanted to sweep them all up before I went to work, as if they would disappear if I left them there, but I took on the sickening task, then hopped in the shower and left.

Dammit if there weren't more flies on my kitchen blinds when I came home from work Monday evening. This time, I fogged in there, but didn't bother to sweep up. I did notice a bunch of flies on my screen when I went to work, and I said to myself if I see them again when I get home I'll fog the outside of my window. I saved that task for Tuesday. Once again, I slept in my humid bedroom with the ceiling fan whirring and the window closed, since I had no idea if the flies came through that window or any other window. I kept the bathroom door closed too, so Tuesday morning there was another congregation in the kitchen but not in the bathroom. I went outside to spray down the outside of my kitchen window, and I got a little batshit at that point because I started fogging my whole back hall and part of the backyard, as if my can of fogger would destroy every fly in the city or something. Sometime that morning I finally talked to my aunt, who owns the house, about the problem, and she informed me that she and her husband were at my house Sunday and saw a massive amount of flies in the back hall on the second floor, and her husband took out a window up there in order for them to get out. Sure enough, I went upstairs to check out the second floor, and I saw nothing. Apparently they all moved into my fucking house. My play aunt went to the basement that morning as well and saw a large number of flies down there, but there still was no obvious source that would answer what the hell would draw that many flies in the first place. There was even a theory that some flies were in the walls of the house making babies, but that's something that can't be proven unless a professional pest killer comes out and discovers it.

Unfortunately, that costs money, so my aunt hasn't done that. Her husband came over Tuesday and sprayed some stuff he bought in the basement. Combine that with all the killing I had been doing, a hard rain Tuesday and Wednesday, and a 20-degree temperature drop between Sunday and Wednesday, and predictably, I had a dramatic drop in insects--a few flies Wednesday morning and basically none since. But there's still no answer why there were so many and how the fuck they got into my house. And the weather is supposed to get hot and humid again next week. My aunt and her husband are sure there will not be a repeat of this week of horror, but they're not giving me an answer why they're so sure, they just are. I've been pissed because I honestly believe that if I were a regular tenant with no family ties, they would have called a professional and gotten to the bottom of this, or if this were their kitchen, spraying the basement and saying the flies shouldn't come back would not be acceptable. I hate the thought that I'm not a priority to them due to being a family member, and I was depressed for a day or two because I feel that if I had made something of myself, I could afford my own damn house, and this wouldn't be happening to me. There's really nothing I can do at this point except wait for next week's heat wave to come through and hope that it doesn't result in another pack of flies invading my kitchen. I sprayed so much crap in there that I can actually still smell spray when I walk in three days later. Thanks to nothing being done to find out why this happened, I may need to buy even more cans of fogger to protect the area where my food and cooking utensils are. Yeech.