D-Day

Paula had warned me they were there. I had my doubts. It had been 15 years since I moved into my house and I had never seen one. She was certain they were hiding out there somewhere. I just hadn’t found any yet. Today was the day.

I was washing the brick barbecue area in my back yard. The sink next to the gas grill was filled with dry, crinkled leaves that were clogging up the drain. It is nearly autumn and my oak trees have begun to discard more of their leaves and twigs. I reached in and pulled out a handful of the debris that had filled the sink. And there they were hiding under the mulch….two medium-sized scorpions each with their claws extended. I had been cleaning this sink with my bare hands. I took a step backward in disbelief. I knew I could not wash the creatures down the drain. I searched for a sturdy twig on the ground, picked it up and began my task. The pair had to be destroyed.

The larger one, the female, was slower since she was carrying her future children. She went first. As she died, she deposited her eggs, a final effort to assure her progeny survived. I felt like a beast. The smaller of the two, the male, fought hard. Even when I thought he was gone, after my sword had crushed his body, his wiggling claws demonstrated his vitality.

I was still uncomfortable about my own safety. I knew a scorpion bite could be very painful and even deadly. Only 30 of the 1,500 species of scorpion can inflict potentially fatal stings. But which 30, I asked? I didn’t have time to look that up before I dealt with these two scorpions that had taken up residence.

Despite the huge variance in our sizes, the scorpions and I battled until the end. The eggs were washed down the drain to their own fate. I snagged the scorpion bodies with my twig and moved them up onto the brick countertop. I needed to reassure myself that they had been properly exterminated. And then I saw a third. He had escaped my sight earlier, hiding along with a medium-sized black spider under the mass of gunk in my sink. This one seemed to move slower than the other two. Yet he was equally as difficult to destroy. All three of the scorpions living in my sink were unaware that today was D-Day. The spider was set free.

—Victoria Emmons, © August 31, 2014

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