Abez sez Assalamualaikum!

Mortein vs. Rocket Bug

Phone line? We don’t need no stinkin phone line!

Oh wait, yes we do. And we would like to have one, but as my Turkish students would say, “It isn’t in the Kismet.”

Adventures in Abezistan: Struth, I have vanquished the mighty foe!

Lots of my adventures begin with me standing on a prayer rug. This either means that I’m easily distracted from the prayer rug, or that the prayer-rug is really just an action-packed place. But anyway, this story actually began last night, when I was upstairs watching BBC, and I heard a piercing shriek.

(“Eeeek!” yelleth Aniraz, as she clambered hastily up yonder stair.)

Aniraz came rushing up the stairs a second later and informed me that a mighty and many-legged beast was rocketing around the living room downstairs. Only one kind of bug actually rockets, and that’s a giant spring-loaded, high-powered grasshopper. They’re four inches long and yellow with black stripes. They shoot around erratically and crash into things, like your eye. So, Aniraz and I hid our cowardly selves upstairs until we forgot there was an insect menace downstairs, and we saw nothing of it for the rest of the evening.

(The beast lay hidden, and night fell upon an uneasy peace in the land of Abezistan.)

This afternoon (and here I am on the prayer rug again) I was about to say takbeer when I noticed that something seemed very weird about the dish of potpourri on the coffee table just in front of me. I stared at it for a second, and realized that one of the leafy-bits had really, really long legs. I mean really long legs. Most of the time a grasshopper keeps its legs doubled, and it only springs them when it wants to rocket off into space vertically again, so you have no idea how long they are, but when it’s walking slowly around in a bowl of potpourri, it extends its legs, you can see they’re grossly long, almost as long as this sentence. (he he)

I was feeling courageous, so I went for the digital camera, thinking I would get a neat pic for my fotolog. Well, sorry folks, the digital cam couldn’t be found. I did, however, locate a can of pleasantly orange-scented bug spray. I tiptoed up to the grasshopper and gave a squirt, and then I screamed (preemptively) and ran away.

(And a mighty cry rang through the field of battle.)

When I came back later, the stupid dheet bug was still sitting in the same place, just rubbing its legs together, probably enjoying that pleasant orangey-smell. (it’s nice, really. If it wasn’t toxic I’d use it as air freshener). So I tiptoed in for another shot. See, it’s a tribute to the huge size of this bug that when I blasted it with the bug spray it didn’t even flinch. If you shoot this stuff at ants, the pressure makes them fly in all directions. If you shoot a mosquito, it gets knocked off course. If you shoot a roach it gets blown sideways, but if you shoot a giant grasshopper, nothing happens.

The only thing that happened after the second shot was that the grasshopper started to do laps around the edge of the bowl of potpourri. But, when I came closer for a third shot, the grasshopper went off. It shot vertically into the air, struck the ceiling and came down too near my head. I screamed (naturally) and ran away with my prayer rug, and I stood behind the dining room wall watching the grasshopper ricochet around the room like a bullet.

(And thus was vanquished a mighty foe.)

The first moral of this story is that this is what brothers are for, in theory at least. Maybe not my elder brother though, because once I asked him to kill a roach for me, and he did, and then he chased me around the house with its carcass till I cried. (I was 12, ok?) Additionally, Buddhists also make terrible bug-killers. My father’s driver in the states was formerly a Buddhist monk, and though he was no longer in the orange robes, he was still sticking to many of the rules. Once a two-inch centipede made an appearance near his head, and I said, “Aaak! Mojo! A centipede! Kill it!”

And he very happily told me that if I asked him to kiss the centipede, he would, but he would never kill it, because he would never harm any living thing. He’s lucky I didn’t call his bluff. I really wonder if he would’ve have kissed the centipede, that is, if the centipede would consent to being kissed.

Well anyway, I’ve discovered that Mortein High Performance Surface Bug Spray is ineffective on anything larger than three inches. I sprayed the dog once (it was an accident, I swear) and she just turned to me with a look in her eyes that was like, “What the hell?” So yeah, bug spray doesn’t work on dogs. Nor does it work on Aniraz, whose feet I once misted (with that pleasant orangey smell!) when I was trying to get some ants on the floor instead. Surprisingly, she didn’t die either, but she did give me the same look that the dog did.

And then she ricocheted off the ceiling.

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