It’s almost comforting knowing how I’ll die. I am liberated. If I want to go skydiving, I’ll go. If I want to eat a gallon of ice cream while singing “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” I’ll do it. If I want to pick a fight with someone with more tattoos than skin, I’m going to bust a bottle over their head and giggle because I understand inevitability. I’ve been given a gift in the form of this freedom. I know how I will leave the world so now I can do whatever I want because I know how my all-too-short story will conclude. You see, there is a wasp nest in my backyard.
Two wasps went in, and six came out. I may have skipped almost every day of the last math class I took, but even I can tell understand that those extra bugs had to come from somewhere. I’m a bit of a recluse so I don’t talk to my neighbors much. Now I have new neighbors, and there are a few thousand of them stuffed in a hive nestled in the dark interior of a barbecue I’m very glad to never have opened. Since learning of my new neighbors, I haven’t been able to stop picturing how they’d take me out. Maybe I’ll forget about them and get ambitious with a steak. Then, when I pry open the metal gates of their fortress, they’ll burst forth and swarm me, a blanket of stinging, vibrating carnage. Or maybe it’ll just be one of them. It’ll be night, and I’ll be dozing on the floor with mouth wide open. It’ll be a stealth mission: one wasp, one kill. They know I’m allergic; they know my one weakness.
I’ve thought of what I should do about the monsters living in my barbecue. I could throw a trash bag over the entire thing and tie it closed at night while they’re sleeping–if they sleep. Then, I think I’d just wait them out, treat it like a siege. I’d want them to suffocate slowly, trapped in a cloud of their own exhalations.
There are two holes into the barbecue, only two ways in or out. I could plug one with some tape, then they would be vulnerable. I could shove a hose into a gas canister, and siphon gas into the grill. Once they’re properly drenched in the repurposed liquefied dinosaur bones, I’d throw a match on them like an action hero. And of course, I wouldn’t look at the explosion because I’m a proper Bruce Willis type. My only hesitation is that the immolated insects might make one last surge and smother me in a flaming cloud of their sizzle-popping bodies.
I could hire an exterminator, but that doesn’t sound like me at all.
I could hire two exterminators, and stage a coliseum-style deathmatch. I’d lock them both in the yard, the barbecue wide open, the wasps furious at the desecration to their home. I’d have told the wasps in advance all the cruel things each exterminator had said about their queen. It would be a fight to the death, exterminator against exterminator against death cloud. Maybe alliances would form, love might grow, backs might be stabbed. I could have Game of Thrones in my backyard.
The option I find most likely is a trial by combat. The hive and I would each pick a champion. The queen would find her most bulky wasp warrior. And I would dawn my duct tape armor, tape thumbtacks to some brass knuckles, and not go gentle into that good night.
When the wasps defeat me, when they great insect champion pulls from my allergic hide their stinger–now tempered by my blood–I have only one request. Remember me as I was: generally unhappy, sometimes funny.