No Small Chore

“Bastard!” I swatted at my leg and crushed the wasp against my calf. The prick coursed through me and pain shot up my leg. I ran down the stairs of the raised deck to our driveway and looked back up to see a small black cloud appear between the steps against the blue sky. The humming of the angry crowd tore through the quiet summer day vibrating like an engine block. “I’m going to get you, you little shits!” I narrowed my eyes at the buzzing mob and pulled open the screen door to the basement. The eclectic collection of relics littered the workbench to my right and the rest of the basement splayed out in front of me inconsequentially. I snapped up the can of spray from the makeshift shelf above the bench and exited the space into the warmth of the late June sun. 

I shook my head and left the can next to the door, knowing I needed to let the area calm before seeking my revenge. I pushed around the lawn mower for my own sense of buzz, grabbed a couple homebrews from the fridge to do the same and sat watching the black forms dart across our perfect view. The picturesque look over the town line, trees and open fields were shaded in by a buzzing swarm, something lingering like a thunderstorm on a day trip to the beach. I knew I needed to take care of the nest before my wife got back home from her mom’s house and that leaving this task on my checklist already caused me a welt on my leg. They had calmed and I collected the can of spray and lurked closer to the undercarriage of the deck. I looked between each of the joists knowing the paper nest would appear as a foreboding adversary. The grey abode came into sight, I saw the residents humming angrily and hit the button on the can sending a white spray all over the nest. I saw a few of the wasps escape and fly in a tottering, sputtering mess and then they fell to the ground or crashed face first into a nearby deck post. 

Days later my wife screamed, “honey, get Alfred!” I saw the little twerp of a schnauzer wincing against the piercing stings. I ran out and grabbed his collar, pulling the dog to safety through a barrage of skin piercing welts. I felt the pinch and flare from each sting and finally I’d rescued the dog from the lingering cloud of wasps and we were left in agony with our swollen bodies. 

“Assholes!” I rushed into the basement and grabbed the can again, shaking it and feeling how light it was. “Shit!” I threw the can down and hopped in the truck off to the hardware store. I arrived, picked out the three pack instead of a single can because I knew they’d collected themselves into a bigger and angrier mass this time. I felt the fire all over my body and wanted them to have that pain. I imagined their bodies covered in pesticides and wanted them to burn. 

The mass had calmed when I arrived. I inspected the usual spot and the nest wasn’t there. I looked a little further down and saw the stakes had been raised, this was no longer a baseball sized nest as the previous one was, this one was about the size of a football. I loathed them and sent that steady stream from both hands into the nest. I watched the swarm escape and pushed the button that much harder. They fell or swarmed in a disoriented state turned from black to white with the spray. I felt the triumph wash over me and pumped my first in the air as I’d taken care of my enemy. 

I took pride in knocking down the abandoned nest with a garden rake and stomping it with my steel toe boots. I was sure they wouldn’t be back after such a defeat. 

Days passed, or it may have been weeks, and my eyes darted left and right looking for the next disruption in our paradise. I saw that single wasp fly in front of the slider and knew they were back. I needed something more than the spray this time, they were relentless. I calculated my next move and I knew there was no escape for them once I fulfilled my plan. I bought a fumigation tent secondhand from an extermination company and purchased the chemicals in bulk, ready for battle. With the supplies draped over my shoulder and revenge on my mind, I knew one of us wasn’t coming out of this confrontation alive.

Matt McGuirk teaches and laughs at his puns by day and scribbles stories nightly. He lives with his family in New Hampshire. Published or forthcoming in Drunk Monkeys, Goat’s Milk, Idle Ink, Literally Stories, New World Writing, Sledgehammer Lit, Versification and others. Follow him on Twitter @McguirkMatthew and Instagram @mcguirk_matthew.

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