Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Frogs, Bats, Wasps and FAIL!

This year Iowa has seen a ton of tree frogs doing their wall and window hanging impressions. Like little green mimes, they just stick there silently mocking us humans who need to invent crap to stick to walls in such a way.

The other night I had the animal kingdom out in full force for my viewing pleasure while working. I saw a fox run down and then slaughter a little bunny rabbit. As I watched this spectacle occurring alongside me as I creeped through a residential neighborhood in my patrol vehicle, I was doing my best to mimic a combination of the National Geographic narrators combined with the guy who does the commentary at horse races. I found myself very amused by me, but then again, those of you who know me, know that isn't a hard thing to accomplish.

Cicadas have been out in full force this summer as well. With their little camouflage thoraxes these things seem to believe they are soldiers, or rather the live embodiment of attack choppers, with all their loud noises and their flying about haphazardly. While most keep their distance from me, this particular night I disturbed one that was on the edge of a door frame near a scan strip I have to swipe in an effort to let the boss know I was in fact there. As son as my hand got near the unseen bug, it swooped up in the air and then proceeded to dive bomb me, repeatedly, for about 10 feet. I'm not sure what the goal of this attack was on the Mookified Leader was, but it was kind of annoying and did make me jump and swipe. Luckily no one was around to witness this spectacle I was putting on, other than a billion flying insects that swarm the lights at the facility I was checking. He finally gave up after hitting the ten foot mark, and lucky for him... I was about to kill the little flying bastard, instead I found a few making due on the concrete below some ground lights and killed them instead as a warning that the Mook does not take kindly to acts of terrorism, especially from insects.

Then I crossed the street to a group of 3 buildings I check nightly, and the place where I most commonly find my little tree frogs. As I pulled up alongside the first building, I saw something hanging alongside the door on the cement/stucco wall of the building. It was rather large in comparison tot he frogs I usually see hanging about. As I got closer, I realized it was awfully furry to be a frog. Then I got right up on this intruder and realized this furry thing was definitely no frog but a God-forsaken BAT!!!!

Just hanging out on the wall about a foot above the sidewalk, I was not only being Marcel Marceau-d by frogs, but also a fucking bat! Those little sonsabitches usually only confronted me inside old buildings, schools and some houses, and now they were brave enough to come at me, a trained professional bat killer, errr bat remover, outside in the open air? Luckily for him, I had my blood lust satisfied by watching the fox and rabbit massacre as well as the killing of a few misguided cicadas... oh and the praying mantis that tried to go toe to toe with me (pretty much literally)outside the local medical school earlier that evening. I left this rabies infested scourge of the night alone to sleep against his warm wall, vowing his um, removal, should he be there the next time I returned.

Anyways, back to the frogs. The boys and I went camping the other weekend at Lake Ahquabi, which features a load of trails, bathroom facilities- some of which are loaded with wasp nests galore (more on that later)-, and a nice little lake that also happens to be home to a lot of frogs. One guy was jigging frogs out of one end of the lake, playing with the bullfrogs and then letting them go back to their homes. My oldest son had found a new friend on the campgrounds and they spent hours out hunting for salamanders and frogs. They had a good time.

One thing that struck me dumb was at night while the boys were sleeping in the tent. I was watching my little campfire burn, adding a few logs to it when necessary to keep the fire going so I could stare at and be lost in the flames that much longer. I heard stirring from the tent, and my oldest Joshua is talking in his sleep. Mostly mumbles then suddenly and very loudly I hear him exclaim, "FAIL, FAIL, FAIL!"

I'm not sure what that was about. It could be that since he didn't get video games at all for the weekend, they invaded his dreams for a bit and he was yelling at the TV screen while playing, or trash talking some friend playing against him in a video game. I don't really know, but it was funny as hell, and again, amused me greatly. I never heard another peep out of him the entire night.

This year has been an odd one for flying stinging insects for me. It was just 2 weekends ago that I literally saw my first honey bee all year. Growing up, I would see them all the time as they hit the dandelions and other flowers from early morning til early evening. Now I rarely see them at all. I had heard of mysterious drops in honey bee populations, and of course I have seen more than my fair share of wasps and hornets. And this little video tells me all I need to know about that:

I really really like honey... So I find it in my heart to ally myself with honeybees and do in their predatorial cousins any chance I get.

Once it warmed up we had wasps and hornets flying all around my apartment building. I armed myself with enough spray to poison the entire fresh water supply in central Iowa. Did I mention I hate flying stingy bugs? I don't care much for bugs at all as it is, especially itch-making mosquitoes and chiggers, but the things that can fly great distances and change direction in mid flight to avoid a swatting and still come sting me??? Forget that noise. They can all die!

And die they did. One steady stream of non-electrically conducting liquid wasp & hornet death juice at a time brought to you by RAID! I even nailed a bumblebee out on my deck, drenching him with approximately 3 cups (4 quarts Canadian) of the stuff.

But I still had an elusive enemy lurking about the property. This thing was big and black with a few very thin yellow half stripes. It's body gleamed in the sunlight showing its true body armor. It started out hanging out near the drainage coil underneath the sidewalk that led up to the south end of our building. Occasionally it would buzz up near the doorsteps, but rarely. Then one day the shiny knight of the Hornet kingdom buzzed my deck, hovering a bit as if to challenge me to battle before dropping down to a dirt patch where some bushes once stood. It would fly up quickly to the trees along the west edge of the property going after the cicadas I presume, and then shortly it would return to the dirt patch, hovering about, never landing. I don't know if it was a Cicada Killer, or a giant effing hornet, but I wasn't about to ask it face to face. The Mookified Army had to mobilize at this new threat to its leader's peace.

Armed with my previously aforementioned can of hornet death juice, I went outside to the sidewalk to confront my enemy, with a spotter on my deck to keep an eye on its whereabouts. When I landed below, the Hornet Knight was still hovering about the dirt patch. I drew my trusty can of death juice and fired away from a safe distance. The can stated to have a 22 foot range, however had finally giving out... white gaseous clouds emitted from the nozzle, essentially gassing the area around the Hornet Knight! GASP! I began the quick retreat of fear that little kids exhibit when they get spooked. But the Hornet Knight just buzzed about his happy little existence, surely laughing his little buzzy laugh at me as I went inside, thwarted once again by the failings of technology.

Then the other evening, the Hornet Knight reappeared as I sat on the south stoop having a cigarette and enjoying a nice cold refreshing Barley Soda. He zipped in close, hovered near the legs of myself and a friend. I moved slowly and proceeded indoors. My friend asked me if I was scared and running away. To this, I, General Mook, proclaimed that I was not afraid, but must secure my weapons of war and deal with the evil invader that flies and stings stuff. You see, I had since procured more flying stinging insect death juice in a can!!! I left my friend to keep an eye on it. Of course when I returned, the Hornet Knight must've smelled the scent of its one weakness that comes in a can. He had disappeared. I boldly stated how he must be scared of the deadly Mookist military machine, to which I received in response a small and sarcastic sounding chuckle. but then, back to the stoop the Hornet Knight came a calling. He had been querying a spot between the bricks underneath a layer of steps. I told my friend to back off and let a professional warrior handle this business. I too stepped back about 5 feet from the stoop. The Hornet Knight then settled in and landed on the steps, preparing to crawl into the crevasse.

SHWOOOOOSHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I hit that bad boy with everything I had for about 10 seconds straight. The Hornet Knight's own body armor could not withstand the heavy onslaught of flying stinging bug death juice in a can. It quickly curled up almost appearing to have stung itself in the face to get its death over with quickly and avoid suffering the burny sensation that must be caused by my aerosol technology.

The previous few nights of work, about 8 miles away just outside of downtown, I had found a nest of little yellow jackets or wasps or some such thing that had built a nest in front of a boarded up window on the backside of an abandon tenement that I patrol. Teeming over the nest and keeping an eye on my once the beam of my flashlight illuminated it, I knew they too were preparing to deal with the Mookist leader while he played rentacop. However, after the death of the Hornet Knight, these wasps had disappeared, leaving nothing but a dry nest behind them. Some might say the falling temperatures made them abandon the nest for a more desirably insulated location, but I know it was because I had eliminated the regional warlord that I had dubbed the Hornet Knight...however he was no knight, but a Hornet King!!!

And I single-handedly squashed any flying stinging bug uprising that may have been about to occur by taking out their leader!!!

So hopefully next spring and summer, the honey bees return and make my precious product that I crave so much. If not, I may have to start a new career as the Great White Wasp Hunter!!! And I will bring virulent death to all that fly and sting, besides the honey bees, until they are no more!!!

And then they will make a new and improved Starship Troopers, where Instead of Johnny Rico going after some kind of friggin arachnid threat from outer space, Chuck Norris (Playing former Texas Ranger turned Mookist Emperor) will be the lone savior of humanity as he roundhouse kicks hornets and wasps and bumblebees of all varieties, in an inter-species war of attrition (they sacrifice themselves in huge numbers, Chuck Norris sacrifices midget babies as bait) and extinction- on earth AND in outer space!!!

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