Yesterday, a huge, leggy insect slipped in the door with the dogs.
That is, no doubt, what happens when a person opens a door while lost in introspection so deep one could bury a sixteen wheeler in it.
Due to the fact that Georgia is known, in this household at least, more for its insect life than for its peaches, we always have several lethal concoctions on hand for just these sorts of emergencies.
I grasped the first one available, but in so doing, I lost sight of the interloper. Or, as my husband the staff sergeant would say, I had failed to keep eyes on.
Fortunately, the insect's webbed wings were so large and stiff that I could hear it buzzing and crackling away urgently somewhere in the living room.
Crouched low to the ground, with shifty eyes and awkward knees, deadly can extended as far forward as possible, I slowly rounded the corner from kitchen to living room.
It was buzzing madly about the fireplace. It had the narrow, cruel body of a wasp, with the large fuzzy legs of a moth and was about the size of my thumb. It was the most terrifying thing I have ever seen.
I simply could not force myself to get any closer to it, although I knew it might be just out of range of the poisonous spray.
Squinting, I took wobbly aim, held my breath, and sprayed.
It did not like the spray, but it did not die. Not even a little bit.
I waited just long enough to watch it begin to rise up in fury from the hearth before taking swift retreat into the kitchen. I hid behind the counter to catch my breath, eyes darting around the ceiling.
"Oh my Jesus, Oh my Jesus," I managed to pray in a trembling voice, which is the most I've prayed out loud in a long time.
Even in my incoherent state, I was aware of the irony that I was needing Him while I was attempting to kill a creature He had created, but I had no time for deep introspection on the nature of creation, the human race or Divine intent.
I simply had to kill that bug.
Behind me, I heard it infiltrate the kitchen, bumbling and buzzing around the awful light fixture that hangs above the kitchen table. Keeping my head low, I ran from the counters to a new position in the bedroom, where I waited until I could breathe again.
Patching together the rags of my courage, I peered round the doorway. It had found its way to the window and was framed against the screen.
Of course, at first I thought this was fortunate. I covered it with what should have been a lethal coat of flying foam.
However, instead of dying, it merely crawled up the window screen, behind the window itself. There it remained, perfectly alive and completely out of range, unless I were to point the can up inside the window, between the glass pane and the screen, which I did consider.
But the risk, even if slight, of it falling back down onto my hand was simply too much. There was only one thing to do, and that was to close the window and imprison it inside the screen.
Of course, that meant closing off the lovely bit of breeze that was moving through the house.
Whoever lived in this house prior to us clearly did not believe in opening windows. That, or they were desperately afraid of the neighborhood, because they actually took three inch nails and nailed all the windows shut, using two or three nails per window.
Even with the nails pried out, I have been able to get only three of the windows in this entire house to open. I have worked and worked at the other windows, but they are beyond hope. They live forever shut.
And that damned insect had just taken position inside one of the few windows open. So, I was either to return to the living room, and wonder constantly if and when it would come creeping out, and over the carpet, or crawling along the ceiling, and get me after I had been lulled to complacency, or I was to shut the window.
I shut the window.
Then I went around outside (opening the door only after careful inspection) and sprayed the hell out of the insect through the screen, to absolutely no effect.
The rest of the evening passed in a humid haze.
This morning, when I found the insect remaining still in the place where I had left it, I grew suspicious and rattled the blinds. No movement. I went outside and rattled the screen, using a sun bleached pool toy. No movement.
The thing had died still clinging to the screen. It's there now. It will probably be there months from now, a hollow, frightening husk through which the Georgia breeze will flow, a little bit of insect in the wind.