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Joycelyn Fish

When the pine needles begin to orange, releasing their sappy aroma, and let go of the branches they cling to, I know fall has officially come. The other trees follow suit shortly after, my itchy eyes and multiple sneezes kick in, and the weather begins to cool off. We couple this by starting up the wood stove, bringing in load after load of timber from the pig shed to the wood box. The heat it produces becomes trapped inside the walls of our small home creating a lure for us and for some unwanted guests.

You may call them ladybugs, or Asian beetles; I just call them nuisances. Even though every possible crack is sealed, they find a way to invite themselves in, bringing plenty of friends along the way, taking our resources for theirs. I catch them holding secret meetings in the corners of the ceiling, plotting their next move. Perhaps they're discussing how to bring others across the borders or gossiping about the decoration in our front hallway. Either way, they create unsightly red clusters of stink across our house.

They tend to get bored with their groups and wander away to find some enjoyment. The lights in our living room are an attractive alternative to idle gossip, and they fly to its friendly glow. These invaders' hard bodies ricochet off the glass of the bulb, and they bounce around inside the shell. This plinking sound continues until annoyance rages in me, leaving me flustered and ready for vengeance.

I pull out a kitchen chair and place it underneath a nest of them. The vacuum emerges from the hall closet with the long hose, ready to take out the opponent. As I turn on the hulking machine, I climb on top of the seat and raise my weapon. Up to the corner I move it, sucking the creatures violently, pulling them from their new home. They fly into the tube, bouncing against its edges on their way to the dust bin. Some try to put up a fight and cling to the walls desperately, but it's no use. They join their fallen comrades in the plastic bin, wishing for some kind of escape.

I successfully clear the ceiling and cover the hole on the end of the vacuum hose. I place it back in the closet for now so the beetles can slowly expire. Today I was the vanquisher, tomorrow the victim again.


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