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Jiminy Sleeps with the Fishes
CricketHunter.jpg

The Varmint is generally a sweet cuddly thing. All big eyes and warm heart, a good natured little fella by most accounts.

But to say he wouldn't hurt a fly would be a lie. He hates flies. And when I say hate, I mean hate. I've recently discovered it's a hereditary thing - the entire Varmint Clan apparently has a genetic predisposition toward the hunting, killing and complete eradication of flies. 

Not liking flies isn't weird. Heck, none of us likes them. What is weird is the manner in which The Varmint family fly hunts are conducted: It's pathological. There is no sense of ridiculousness, no self-awareness of big human vs. little fly, nary a smidge of  the very cliche-ness of it all. Instead, the hunt is executed with the sort of focus, the kind of single-minded, no-nonsense efficiency exhibited by Green Berets, and utilizing a similarly disturbing variety of eradication methods. They're serious. Those little motherfuckers have to DIE.

The Varmint is especially single-minded if said flies are anywhere near his food or in front of his TV. He then gets stiff-legged and jaw-clenched, grabs his implement of destruction (sometimes even his bare hands, but opting more often for the rubbing alcohol spray bottle than even the traditional swatter - less to clean up afterward) and begins the hunt.

Wifely jokes or pleas to sit down til the show is over are ignored entirely. This is The Varmint on a mission, he is focused - and will not quit til the mission is accomplished and every buzzing six-legged freak is smacked, drowned in an alcohol fry-bath or (far less frequently) shooed out an open door.

Recently, the flies have subsided, mostly thanks to some cooler weather. Now it's cricket season.

Normally, crickets aren't on The Varmint's radar. But this season, they've got three strikes against them. First: They've taken up a nightly jam session on our front porch. Second: At least one of them per evening makes it in to our living room. And the crucial third strike?: The living room also happens to be The Varmint's current bedroom. (Thanks to my being pregnant and requiring a no-snore zone and room to flop.)

The photo series here is from last night's hunt. Notice the Mengele-like implements: The overcompensating Maglite and the shishkabob skewer. Notice the gleam in the eyes of The Cricket Hunter, who hunts his prey with the vision and purpose of The Predator.

By his obsession, by his scowling intensity, you'd think he'd kill them slow, then take their little cricket heads and mount them on the tip of the skewer (toothpick, maybe?) to serve as a warning to the other porch crickets contemplating crossing the threshold into new territory. But you'd be wrong. Because (and this is the fascinating part) The Great Hunter, for some reason, exercises a far greater degree of self-control with crickets.

Both are six-legged trespassers, yes - but flies, apparently, are "dirtier" than crickets. (I think it's the poop and maggots thing, myself. The Varmint shivers at the thought of maggots.)

There is no frying, maiming, torturing or garbage-disposaling of crickets. He actually takes the time to catch them in his hand and throw them out - like some super-sized bouncer - to sing again another night. So, Jiminy occasionally scores a pardon in Varmintville.

Perhaps it's the Jiminy factor, or because a cricket in the house is considered lucky in some cultures (though The Varmint scoffs at luck). Or maybe he doesn't mind reintroducing such tasty crickety morsels back into the backyard food chain (more likely than luck).

Personally? I think it's because he hopes his victims will tell the other crickets their tales of horror, creating a whole new Suburban Legend starring himself: Beware all ye who enter. The Cricket Wrangler dwelleth here.

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I am a writer and lazy artist who loves travel, architecture and design. Right now, I'm into photography. My fabulous husband (a.k.a. The Varmint) and I are also the principals of a San Diego-based creative agency - and new parents to the divine Baby Mak. Read More >