BakerI’ve always hated bugs. I also used to think the words ‘Erotic’ and ‘Exotic’ meant the same thing. Imagine my unimaginable repulsion as I was walking past a pet shop advertising ‘Exotic Fish’.

Try to conjure the look on the store clerks face just before calling the police. Luckily I was abducted by aliens just moments before I would have been dragged from the large aquarium by a dozen frothing cops.

The aliens were very pleasant. They told me they were from a planet where there were no words for ‘erotic’ or ‘exotic’ and they were envious of my ignorance, saying, “You don’t know how good you have it” with that peculiar alien sigh we all love so much.

It’s a shame that we had to annihilate the lot of them, but they were godless heathen barbarians after all.

I returned home to live with my family in their luxurious mobile home– to set the record straight, it was not a mobile home in the sense of a house on wheels designed to rust around the rotting white trash in a trailer park, but rather a number of rooms hung from wires at different lengths, spinning and bobbing over a giant baby crib.

We were soon evicted and bused into a bathroom that was shared by an entire floor in the scummiest motel this side of the river Euphrates, it was the best day of my life.

Besides winning the lottery in thirty three of the continental United States and being inexplicably cured of my spleen cancer, I was also elected to the seat of ‘Token Incurable Maniac Faculty Member’ at Harvard. And, all sixty-seven counts against me in the pending federal subversive aggravated jaywalking case were mysteriously dropped.

I was unfazed by our squalid living conditions. A family of six, all in one room with absolutely no privacy, often being mistaken for a toilet by the stone-blind transient patrons of this motel. We were happy and in love and addicted to fifty-eight different chemicals at last count.

Ah yes, the good old days. I can still hear the early morning screams that seemed to come from nowhere, the indescribable and unidentifiable smell that would fill the air several times a day.

I am better able to describe the whole situation now, when I was interviewed on Letterman I was overdosing on pesto-bismal and could barely contain my composure to answer any of his questions.

DAVE: So, I hear you hate bugs.

Me: Yes… Well, no… What the hell is this some sort of interrogation?

DAVE: Hey! Hey! Settle down there, kid! Hey, don’t touch. Biff! Get
this freak off me!

Me: You pigeon-toed manipulator of human morals! You defiled my cat and destroyed all my household appliances! I am going to slice your body and sell it by the pound to cannibals.

DAVE: We’re going to take a commercial break, and when we come back O.J. Simpsons will be here!

When Letterman’s army took over Europe in 2023 I was, of course, banned form the continent. Spoiling my chance at the gold medal in the liver destruction competition in the next Spring Break Olympics which were held in Marrakesh that year.

I was distraught.

But, I had acquired enough camel cash finally to get a real, live camel.


‘Been to the Desert on a Camel with Dead Batteries’

At least I thought it was real. Not until I was submerged in the nothing depths of the Mojave Desert and the stupid animal just seized up and fell over, did I learn that it ran on eight ‘D’ sized batteries. And no store for a hundred miles at least, in any direction. As they say ‘If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitten.’

Nothing, no water, no life. Just the sand, a plastic battery operated dead camel, and I. Doomed to the greasy baking gristle that would become of my crisping skin, a hell of desert heat. Probably destined to die of heat stroke, again.

© Robert Emmett McWhorter

Chicago Baseball in October

Twenty Three Shopping Days Left Until the End of the World
(circa 2004)

yellowbugHave you seen this years new bugs?

There are the new little bee’s that seem to be just absolutely everywhere. There’s the recent upgrade of that beetle that looks like a ladybug, all new features for this season. There was a translucent tiny green spider on my car window this evening.

All the regular old bugs have disappeared by this time of year, even the spiders have given up their battle for my room, regrouping to invade again next spring. But all the new bugs, they stick around a little later into fall…

But my question is, where do they come from? For years and years I was accustomed to the same old bugs every summer; flies, ants, bees, wasps, those rolly-polly things, earwigs, caterpillars, worms, and every couple of years some locust or cicadas.

It was maybe five years ago i first noticed a new bug. I remember it vividly because for a brief moment I thought I was first witness to some previously undiscovered species.

Until some one saw me staring and said, “Oh, that. That’s the new bug…

But now, they are everywhere, and every year seems to bring more. Are they all, like that Asian Beetle that came over to eat all our trees, accidentally shipped over in shoddy fruit boxes?

In my more paranoid moments I believe them to be tiny government robots, but that’s another story for another time…

The game is on again, I have to go. The Cubs are winning, and once again, Sammy is tracing the outline of some ancient seal in the outfield with his feet…

© Robert Emmett McWhorter

At War with the Spiders

spiderwarsI am currently engaged in a war with the spiders for control of this room, a slow quiet battle. With the lights on I know I am winning; though I do notice the stray strand here, the beginning of a web that was not there yesterday.

They hide behind wood, the spiders become shadows; tucked into a corner until the lights go out. In the darkness, they scurry over the walls, eagerly working, even affecting my dreams as I sleep.

The knowledge of how many I must have swallowed so far used to give me grim comfort, for surely they could not win with this many of their ranks accidentally being eaten.

But now, I think they may fall into my mouth on purpose, tiny little kamikazes, an attempt at some slow sort of poisoning.

I am otherwise not malicious toward these insects. I don’t kill them intentionally. I even warned them when I first decided to inhabit this part of the house. I gave them a full three days to leave, and told I them please try to stay out of my mouth.

©Robert Emmett McWhorter