After dropping out of college a young man's only option for work is with his father as an exterminator. Unfortunately he has a crippling fear of certain bugs and one certain job makes it worse for him.


3. Part 3

     The summer probably had to be the busiest time for exterminators. Warmer weather meant more active pests, and more active pests meant more active us. When bedbugs weren't the serious problem, it was the usual pests again; ants, roaches, and, of course, bees. Thank god this summer there weren't too many calls for bees or wasps. There must had been only fifteen calls for one of those fuckers. Compared to last year there were countless calls about wasps on a children's playground or a newton the side of someone's house. Best part, all fifteen calls were minor infestations. Instead most of our calls that summer were mostly bedbugs... just bedbugs. Now that was a vacation to me. Look for these tiny little mites, disgusting in some cases, but more bearable than handling bees.

     I only had a couple of months of working with my dad before I leave for college again. Last Christmas my mom and I talked to my grandad, and thankfully he agreed to support me next semester, and thank fucking god for that. Luckily I was accepted at a public school in New Mexico with my major changed to engineering. Exterminating is not really the job I want to get stuck with at any time. If I fail the next semester and I may have to work as an exterminator for the rest of my life. Dad will just have to find someone else willing to take control when he retires; it's not going to be me. 

     Though calls concerning bees and wasps increased early july near the Ozarks. Every exterminator in Oklahoma became busy clearing out nests in backyards and parks, yet they kept coming back and getting replaced. I've noticed myself that the exact same nests were replaced within days. Not only that, but especially in the Ozarks, the hornets looked different. Slightly larger, and nothing like the species that have been seen on earth. They were practically a new species that many started to call "golden devils."

     These Golden Devils were the size of a human thumb and had a golden head with an all black body. Already they sounded like the Japanese hornet which was already a threatening pest in Europe and Asia, but these bugs were somewhat different. Unlike the Asian hornet, these had a more hairy body, and a larger abdomen and wingspan. They were very aggressive and ate other species like they were big macs.

     The word spread fast around the exterminators in the midwest. Apparently there must have been a large population boom in the mountains left uncheck that spread to the surrounding cities and suburbs. Every pest control business in Oklahoma and Arkansas were called together by State Rangers to find the sources after reports and news stories came out about groups of people in the Ozarks being attacked by a swarms. 

     Throughout the month twenty-two people died from bee and hornet attacks, and a reported sixty-three injured; both included exterminators trying to control this infestation. My mom, of course didn't want us to try to go over there, thank the lord, but it didn't stop my dad from wanting to be a part of what he'd considered a war. He got around it however by answering calls near the Ozarks rather than going in the front lines, which meant I had to deal with bees again. It never got easier for me, and this looming threat in the Ozarks made me feel in even more danger.  

     This infestation kept spreading further and further to the Great Plains and Appalachians. More and more reports of huge hives and aggressive hornets and bees followed with more deaths. Everyone in the country started to become concerned with this infestation, yet anyone nowhere near the Ozarks saw it as mere coincidence. A mere population boom. That's what a friend of mine in Tennessee thought, until the day his own town in the heart of the state were having these "population booms."

     "They're everywhere," he told me, over the phone "They're on every block by every house. Hell I spot a few in my house that I had kill. Unless something's done about it I don't feel to safe. There's too many all the time."

     I could definitely understand the fear he had, only mine was ten times more frightening on account of my always evident phobia. The bumbling drones were everywhere in my hometown too. Hives were right outside my house, but since jobs for other peoples problems kept coming up, there was barely time to take care of our own problem and I had to deal with those swarming wraiths.

     By the end of July, the government issued a state of emergency and ordered crop dusting planes to spray poison in certain areas hoping that the population of hornets would die down. Though at the cost some of the local wildlife were killed by the toxic gas.

      It worked for about a week. A reasonable amount of bees and hornets remained alive. Still it wouldn't be enough. From what my dad knew, as well as any other exterminator or entomologist knew, one hornet hive can develop multiple queens that form more hives. Along with this new species reeking havoc on even other hornets, yellow devil hives have to be removed immediately. If there's one huge hive breeding queens, then it'll just go on and spread.

      "We're going straight in." my dad told me one night, over dinner "The state is offering big money for hives being dug up. We're leaving for Arkansas in two days."

      "Is it safe to go there?" my mom asked

      "I'm sure there are hundreds of exterminators going down there. I'll be sure to keep in touch with some of them."

      "You sure I have to go on this one?" I groaned, not wanting to go into the forests of my nightmares.

      "I need every man to go in. The more of us to help the better, even if it's just three of us. Understand?"

      No use arguing. It was his house and I had to do what he said as my dad and my boss. If he needs me to go dig out a hive I have to do it. Over the summer I've been killing thousands of bees and eradicating hundreds of hives. And I hate to admit it, sort of helped get over my fear of bees somewhat, though as long as I wear a suit of course and as long as I'm not alone. With other people out there too there really shouldn't be much to worry about.

      As I imagined the thought of going into the forest with other exterminators like commandos, an all too familiar and dread sound buzzed in front of me. A yellow jacket from a nest not far from our house must have flown in somehow and flew towards our dinner table past my ear. It made me jump from my chair and broke my glass of grape juice.

     "Chirst boy." my dad sighed, and my mom scolded me for breaking one of her glass cups. Getting up from the table, he rolled up a nearly by magazine and swat down the intruder with one strike.

     I tired to help clean the mess but my mom just told me to leave. Dad just went to his bathroom ready to take a shower. I decide to call it a night and not even bother with a shower. Since this whole swarm fiasco started I moved my bed to the basement thinking that nothing could in get in there. I wouldn't have to deal with it much longer. Summer was starting to end, and soon I'd be able to get my college life back on track.

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