Monday, January 9, 2012

Four is a crowd.



Luther and I were rappelling down Bob’s sweaty, hairy , broad back after a hearty meal of cholesterol enriched blood. Oh…before you start to wonder what that means, allow me to clarify: we are two adult male bed bugs living on and off our host/friend/house Bob. I don’t think his real name is Bob. Well..we bugs don’t  really need a name for the body that feeds us. But it is convenient when you have to differentiate between two hosts. Luther was of the opinion that H1 and H2 were quite confusing. I still don’t get it. We never had a permanent H2. I mean a second host/friend/house. Until now.

Living on the stinky mattress in Bob’s house had its perils but that is an occupational hazard we got used to. Bugs all over the world may have similar stories to tell, if they lived long enough to do so. A bug is always one bite away from sudden death. I have seen all the other members of our tiny community meeting bloody instant endings. Some times treated to hot molten wax. Sometimes picked up by nimble fingers and squashed against the floor or wall. Helen, that lovely girl with whom I had planned a family still lives on our wall in the form of a comet shaped dark stain. I remember good ol’ Jonathan who went through 5 agonizing minutes after he was sprayed with some horrible stuff, something Bob’s friend gave him. It curdled my blood watching him die slowly.(Well..technically, not my blood. It was Bob’s) The autopsy report said something else. It said he died inhaling a column of stale air that was trapped for the last 30 years somewhere on Bob’s body. Jonathan was an adventurous bug. May be it was true.

Finally, it came to just two of us. We knew that our family tree would end with us. Two adult male bugs. We both overcame our traumatic insemination instincts long back and have survived until now. But matters  worsened. Since last Sunday, to be precise.

Bob was an ideal host. He was slow, single and sweet. We knew where to bite and where to avoid. We knew him like the palm of our mandibles. And then, without warning, he started to change. First he started to change his bed sheets. Then he started washing his clothes. Bathing times were longer and he smelled weird to us with all that scented soap and deos he bought from some cheap grocery store. He even painted over my Helen’s memory on the wall. The biggest shock came when he brought in the first female version of a human to our abode. Insanity!

May be it was pure jealousy. Luther and I had just us to ourselves. Bob was in some way a part of our life. Another lone male in this strange triangle of love, blood and brotherhood. Three lonely men in the same bed with the warmth of their bodies comforting each other is not your typical scene of love but we lived it every day and night. We were inseparable in spite of Bob’s frantic scratching and turning. And there walks in a girl. Bob’s girl. Tragedy!

It has been a week since she came into his life. It has been seven long days since we had a good meal. We could never venture out fearlessly like before. That girl had big eyes and a matching eye sight. She would spot us from far.But tonight we just couldn't suffer the pangs. The hunger burned through. We went up to Bob's bed.

 And there we looked death in its face. It was supposed to be a quick drink but we bit the wrong thigh. I remember Luther mumbling something about “where has all the hair gone!”. Too late! Bob’s girl’s scream pierced the night and she shot up from the bed scratching her naked thigh. Bob was not where he was supposed to be. He appeared to look down from some where above that girl. He got up as we rappelled down his sweaty back as fast as we could and down into our hide out. We knew that within a few seconds, Bob would become a monster. He would pick up that spray and we would join Jonathan in his heavenly abode. Scared to death, Luther and I hid under the bed and listened to the deadly hiss of poison from that steel can, above us. We heard Bob’s girl screaming; “Bugs!”  Luther’s eyes met mine. As if he read my thoughts, Luther countered in a whisper; “Women!”

The Covariation model