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  • (Wasp)

    Having impeccable timing, wasps know when to hit me. They get me when I’m down or up, at the most inauspicious times. They have a sensor that detects it, I swear. I belong to the in between 15% of people who swell up, but don’t go into allergic shock.
    It started when I was reading some Reader’s Digest condensed version of some Dickens novel while lolling on some soft grass. The novel had my attention; I thought it was just a fly in my ear. I gently swatted just as a horse swishes its tail to remove flies. It bit, as far in as it could go. I may have yelled, “What the Dickens?” but it was most likely worse. Mom phoned the doctor to postpone my annual removal of wax-in-the-ear appointment. I looked like a one eared Dumbo.
    I was pacing around out on the road waiting for ball playing cousins to pick me up for another a important game. The ball glove the tool to reach that unreachable spot that always itches first. The doctor figured some venom must have got right into the spinal cord somehow because my face was swollen like 37 tiny head bumps from rock hits. Barely room to look through the balloons. Unfortunately, Halloween was still four months off. Later the cousins phoned to tell me they’d won 4 to 3 on a suicide squeeze in the bottom of the ninth.
    Then there was high school graduation. I was concealing a bottle of tonic late in the afternoon for later illegal uses. No one told me wasps knew about that hiding spot by the shady spring. I regret it was sandal weather. Dad’s wide size 11 Oxfords barely fit. For the other foot it was a choice of his matching one that would keep falling off, or my size 8 which looked ridiculous. Three pairs of heavy winter socks made it so I could somewhat toddle. At the dance my buxom date told me she didn’t like men who were clumsy on the dance floor, so took off with some Fred Astaire wannabe, which was okay because then I had more pain relieving liquid for myself.
    Now I talk to wasps.