We had mosquitoes the size of small birds this summer. Some people call them Mosquito Hawks. These wiry vermin have the same long spider legs that normal mosquitoes possess, but their bodies are enormous. They look like flying salamis, or fighter jets lowering their gear for safe arrival on Aircraft Carrier Mommy. I thought swatting at them with a broomstick, or spraying them with hornet killer would be enough. It didn't faze them. All I did was break a lot of glass and form a dangerous cloud of poison.
These wicked pests have got to be stopped. As soon as you open the back door in the morning they swarm in around the edges. I trapped one before. He got his pants caught in the door. I hit him with a soft copy of The American Heritage Dictionary. He hit me back. So now the smack down was on! I nailed him about twenty-seven times with one of my son's cleats. I was oh so careful opening the door after I killed it. I had to make sure he wasn't faking.
One Sunday before church I had a malicious Mosquito Hawk chase me down the hallway. I thought he wanted my purse. Luckily, he just wanted to use the guest bathroom. Nevertheless, it was becoming terrifying and I was fed up. I stomped outside and complained to John, my husband, about it. He told me they weren't mosquitoes. He said, “They're an insect that actually eats mosquitoes!”
They eat mosquitoes? I think they eat humans too. I haven't seen the mailman for four days, and where's my dog?
As it turns out John was right. They aren't mosquitoes. They're called Crane Flies. They eat decomposing leaves. Those must be the same decomposing leaves my environmentally conscious neighbor, Mimi, told me not to throw out. She said they make great topsoil. She said they keep the lawn from wearing away down the hill. She said it broke her heart that everyone was bagging the leaves up and hauling them away. I'll be paying her little grey headed self a visit later.
There was one good thing about my Crane Flies. They kept a pack of Jehovah's Witnesses away from the house one morning. I watched with delight from the window as this “well meaning” clan of God's children tried to take the driveway a few times, but the leader of the fly swarm, (I refer to him as Patton) attacked them. Patton lives in the boxwood next to the porch and as the Jehovah's Witnesses began ascending the hill he drove his first wave of men right into the hair of a cantankerous crow of a woman. There were hands waving, feet stomping, and exclamations which are still resounding through the halls of the eternal everlasting. The whole group looked confused at the outburst. They did seem to know however, that whatever spirit had taken hold of their Captain was more powerful than she. Suddenly, all six of these bible-toters hopped into an old green Corolla like they were filling the trunk of a clown car, and took off for their Kingdom over on Meridian Street. The entire grizzly scene took no more than three minutes. “Bravo Patton! Bravo!”
A few days ago on Cinco de Mayo, I came up with the perfect plan to kill my baby buzzards. Well, not “prefect”. It did make a boat load of sense at the time. I decided to use fire. It was the best way. It was the only way.
Now, as most people in and around my neighborhood know, I've been banned from: “ The purchase or use of any solid, liquid or gas substance which could result in the igniting of such and such material . . . . Blah blah blah . . . whether it be accidental or willful . . . Blah blah blah . . . In an area immediately inhabited by humans, pets or utilities . . . so on and so on.” In retrospect, I understand why I was convicted of endangerment. It’s true that paint stripper could be considered an accelerator. However, I genuinely believe there should be more warnings on heat guns. Anyhow, the Crane Fly problem remains and I must do what the federal government does not want me to do.
It was unfortunate that John was out of town that day. I had no choice but to use my cousin Jimbo who was more than happy to help me burn something. We started out early in the morning so we wouldn't disturb the neighbors. I stood by readied with the hose. Jimbo lit one end of the leaves piled along the edge of the driveway. We didn't think we'd need lighter fluid because it hadn't rained in a couple of weeks. We were right. That flame must have burned all the way down to the bedrock. I tried to slow the fire's progress with the hose, but it was hopeless. In fact, the fire sort of spit the water off like an angry dragon.
When the leaves were all dust I cheered loudly with Jimbo. Then I noticed the flame was not dying. It kept getting higher. I quickly spotted a hole in the ground that was blowing flames out real steady. That's about the time my perfect plan fell apart.
I don't wish to go into grave details about that day. The important thing to know is, I got rid of all of our Crane Flies and Captain Brunner let me ride up front in the fire engine this time. The insurance company was not as kind. The gas company wanted to file charges, and Jimbo has a permanent look of surprise on his face that came with the recent loss of his eyebrows.
It's hard to believe a creature as small as a Crane Fly can cause such mayhem. Next year I’ll just rake all the leaves. John is still not talking to me. However, his mood seems to improve each day we get closer to finishing his new office . . . and garage . . . some of the cat's hair is growing back . . .