february 20th, 2014.
On the 11th (Tuesday before last), Vlad found a dead bed bug in a cup in the kitchen. And two days later I found a live one when I dropped the recycling, also in the kitchen. They looked exactly like textbook [read: Wikipedia] pictures of bed bugs. My memory (narrative of myself) is that I delayed in facing reality, but Vlad remembers, “you were like, 'I'm calling Sam! RIGHT NOW!'”
Called Landlord Sam, who made an appointment with the exterminators for Wednesday (yesterday). In the meantime Vlad and I avoided my apartment except for Sunday night. On Monday morning we found a live one in bed with us, and a bite on the back of Vlad's neck. “I think it's just a fiber of some kind,” I said, displaying a rare case of reverse-Morgellons.
“No, that's a bug,” said Vlad. It joined the others in my Ziplock trophy case.
Yesterday Landlord Sam and Exterminator Joe rolled up to my door. Sam, whom I'd earlier characterized to Marcel as a 5 on the Sleezy Landlord Scale, had a lit cigarette Bogarting out the right corner of his mouth (right there! in the hall!) and instantly rocketed up to a 7. Joe brought a sullen teen with him and wore a Bluetooth, which, I love Bluetooths on people who work on their feet. Taxi drivers, postal workers, exterminators ... something about having the Bluetooth makes the person seem boundless to me. Jacked in. This meatspace mere metaphor.
Joe had a big personality and a calming demeanor. Both are certainly necessary for work that requires contact with humans at their most vulnerable and hysterical. He pointed to the mattress. “All of this is gonna get soaked,” he said, and I felt sick.
“Not like this,” I thought.
Joe and Little Joe left the place in shambles. I found my furniture on its sides. The floor tracked with dust and powder. There was little odor, which I was grateful for. The poison in the apartment bothers me more than the bugs. Why am I being asked to participate in something I know is wrong?
While they sprayed, I posted up at the local coffeeshop and bought an expensive glorified luggage carrier that heats to 120F. Told my friend Packer that I felt much better due to the combined factors of 1) a large purchase and 2) the illusion of control seeping back into my skin. Control over bed bugs, and control over death.
“Mostly the bed bugs,” smiled Packer.
“Mostly death!” I said. “Let's be real!”