Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Afterbite™, please

Q: Who goes to movies
in NYC these days?

A: Bedbugs

We are having a bedbug infestation here in NYC. It’s a fairly clandestine menace, worse than the Invisible Man, by far, but not as bad as that salmonella there in your egg whites.

To make matters worse, I’m scratching all the time. I hasten to add, it’s poison ivy. I got a case of it this past weekend while felling small shrubs, yanking out entrenched bittersweet and weeding the Rockport backyard. Like everything else, poison ivy has taken on a new vigor due to global warming. It’s more poisonous and more prevalent.

I look like a bedbug dining hall. Not good.

Even though it’s going up to 97 degrees today, I wonder: (A) Should I wear long sleeves? (B) Should I go to see the new George Clooney movie I had promised myself as a reward for waking up, going straight to my computer and dashing off an honest review of Tess Gerritsen’s newest suspense novel “Ice Cold”? For good measure, I cleaned the cat litter, worked on (this) blog and sent a book proposal to my agent. I deserve George Clooney.

Why all the hand-wringing about movies and the heat index?

(A) If you admit to bedbugs or look like you have bedbugs, your social life is over. I need a social life. Bedbugs are the modern-day version of shunning. Got bedbugs? Go away.

(B) Movie theaters have bedbugs and one in Times Square had to close to properly fumigate. Some people refuse to go to movies, or at least refuse to sit down once there.

(C) And here is a link, if you want to know more about the bedbug scare:

Routing out the bedbugs is expensive and exhausting, I would imagine. I’m not up to the task and therefore insist that no bedbugs traverse either of my thresholds. You would need to summon the zeal of a Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau if you intend to rid your domicile of the tenacious bedbug. You must hunt them down where they sleep, which is in dark crevices in secret places. They are the size of a lentil or thereabouts when mature and they are red, redder if they’ve just feasted on you. They can live a year without eating! And coolest of all, according to Wikipedia, they are traumatic inseminators:

All bedbugs mate by traumatic insemination. Because the female has no genital opening, the male pierces her abdomen with his hypodermic genitalia and ejaculates into the body cavity. Especially desperate males sometimes mistake other males for females and fatally wound the latter in the abdomen.

Oh please! Hypodermic genitalia!

Why are we worried about a little itching when there are hypodermic genitalia on the loose?

It gets worse. If you read this carefully, you will come to realize that there is such a thing as a desperate male bedbug, one that stops at nothing to ejaculate. These pierce-able carapaces we humans slather with moisturizers? They are ripe for the taking. For all we know, the male could be inseminating humans as we speak.

I cannot curtail my life in fear of the bedbug, however loathsome. I will probably get them. One in every 15 New Yorkers supposedly battled bedbugs last year. It’s probably worse now. But I’ll never tell. And if Jim tells he’s catsup to my bedbug. There are worse things than stealth inseminators, I guarantee.


  1. Oh, my, what an amazing description! And your take on it, as always...


  2. my friend, cynthia and her daughter caught a terrible case of bedbugs (is there such a thing as a "case of bedbugs"?) while traveling from RI to CA. they stayed in questionable motels along the way in order to save money. after one night in which they were attacked viciously, they began to check the mattresses at each destination motel. sure enough, found them in yet another motel. right there in plain sight around the crevices of the mattress sides. so warning: check the sides of the mattresses in your motels/hotels/etc.

    can't do much about those dark theater seats though!

    sidebar: cynthia's bites were so bad that she looked like a leper. lasted months.

  3. Bedbugs desperately inseminating humans? Really? A sci-fi horror writer will be thanking you for the idea on the acknowledgement page of Desperate Bed Thugs...or Desperately Inseminating Susan...

    I think I'd stay in, order pay per view and settle for watching George in Up in the Air again.

  4. Hmmm. I should have taken Sere's advice. I OD'd on George Clooney yesterday in "The American." You can actually get too much of a good thing. And there's a really goofy butterfly in this movie.