So there I was, on the phone with the Hired Killer’s Hired Phone Operative, expecting her to send me someone with X-Ray vision in about five days, and instead she’d gone deadly serious. She didn’t need the guy with X-Ray eyes; she knew what it was, and it needed treatment tomorrow.
“What is it?” I said.
The operative said, “Yellowjackets.”
Yellowjackets. The same guys who’d been so aggressive on the porch two days earlier, living in my bedroom wall. Hundreds of them.
I said, “You’re going to drill into the wall in order to get the hive?”
She said, “No, that’s a terrible thing to do.”
That is, of course, exactly what the Hired Killer in Angeltown did to get them, and it worked, but I left it at that. She scheduled me for the Hired Killer with the Tall Equipment, and then she left me to huddle on my bed, staring at the wall. The wall I’d been banging on to stir up whatever was inside, only it wasn’t something I’d have wanted to stir up now, was it? And it wasn’t something I could have taken out with my baseball bat in the attic.
That night, the Loud Cat slept on my head, purring. Which was a good thing, otherwise I’d have been listening for the buzz.
The next day, the Hired Killer pulled up in a red van with a vanity plate that says DIE BUGS DIE. He’s about my height and has a pleasant smile and a demure voice. He dutifully listened at my wall and agreed with the Operative as to the culprits. I said, “Is there any way to get the ants from there to take out the wasps there?”
And because the Hired Killer knows me by now, he said, “That’s exactly what we’re going to do.”
Actually, he went outside and assembled a spray duster on a long pole. “You don’t want to drill into the wall,” he said, balancing this 40-foot wobbling contraption with the center of gravity right at the top, “because if you strike above the hive, you just drive them downward and they come out your baseboards and electrical outlets.” He grinned as he got it balanced against the gutter outside my bedroom window. “One idiot caulked the entrance to the hive and then did that. The homeowner had thousands of them in her house.”
Me: **weak chuckle, wishing for a fainting couch**
The Hired Killer pushed a button and dusted the yellowjackets, who poured up out of the wall of my house. He gave them a few more dustings, then backed away balancing that long, wavering pole. That was the only time I’ve ever seen him look worried. I retreated too. But a moment later, he recovered, shielding his eyes to look up at the cloud over my roof. “They’re white,” he said. “That’s what I like to see.”
He doesn’t hate insects, by the way. He keeps bees. Think about it: you go into entomology because you like bugs, and then you graduate with that degree and what job can you get?
As he put away the contraption, he said, “You did the right thing. There was one guy who soaked rags in gasoline and stuffed them in the hole before calling me.”
My eyes popped. “What?”
He kept taking down his equipment. “Yeah. I asked him what he thought he was doing. Apparently he figured it would suffocate them.”
I said, “And here I felt stupid for waiting three days before calling.”
He shook his head. Despite my vast accomplishments, I get the impression I’ve only skimmed the surface of Stupid.
He said, “By the way, did they tell you what it costs?”
I replied, “No, because I didn’t care.” And I wrote him a check. Let him put in as many zeros as he wants — I wouldn’t be devoured at midnight by yellowjackets.
And that’s all well and good, because as of Monday, guess who’s back?