All life is sacred. This I know.
When I was a kid I used to rescue horseflies from spider's webs. Seems every summer the windows in our carport would get filled with spiderwebs, and those spiderwebs would inevitably become filled with insects of all sorts. And horseflies. And for some reason when I was a kid I always felt sorry for those horseflies stuck in there. I don't know if it was because they always reminded me of Harrier jump-jets, with their long tapered bodies and their huge eyes or if it was just because they seemed unconcerned when I scooped them up and let them free again.
I knew that horseflies bit cows, because we had two (cows, not flies) and they were forever twitching their skin or flipping their tails to dislodge bugs and such, and it's hard to miss a horsefly on a cow. But, it never occurred to me that a bug that big had to have a pretty impressive set of sucking apparatus on it. So I went along on my childhood way, complete naive.
See, I had never been bit by a horsefly. I had heard tales of it, sure. Ten year old kids being drained dry by horseflies was daily fodder on the playground, or some kid being stung to death by thousands of pecan caterpillars which fell from the branches during a gusty day. That was every day stuff for us. But, it had never happened to me, so I disregarded it.
Until I got bit. A few days ago.
Yes, somehow I survived living in the country for almost 40 years without once being bit by a horsefly. Never knew it could happen. I was out taking apart the old swing last weekend, sweating like a pig in the newly arrived summer heat, and I felt and heard a horsefly flying around. And if you've never heard one, rest assured they're hard to miss. A body that big has to move it's wings pretty hard and fast to keep it aloft, and that makes a noise akin to an unmuffled Husquavarna chainsaw.
So anyway, there I stand, swatting ineffectually at this horsefly, my usual straw hat gone somewhere awry, and suddenly it's landed in my hair, almost perfectly centered on the top of my skull. I bat it away, feel it struggling through the short bristles on my skull, it flies about three inches away, makes a daring Immelman turn and lands again, and BITES THE EVER-LIVING SHIT OUT OF ME. I think I screamed like a little girl. I for sure cursed and hollered a lot. That bite HURT. No blood, which was a real shock, because from the feel of it I should have been gushing, but it certainly swelled up nicely, and ached for the rest of the day.
That's why this morning I did what I did. Last evening we went to Chili's with some of the wife's work friends to have supper. Hopefully in a post or so I'll discuss our stuttering waiter, but not now. As we walked out the door of the house to keep our dinner engagement, SOMETHING huge flew into the house. I wasn't about to go back and search this entire house for a bug, thinking the cats might even get it, so we left. Got home, never saw it. Slept all night, never heard it. This morning I'm awakened by a panicked scream of "Horsefly!" A brief battle ensued, which ended with me holding the stunned offender in a wad of toilet paper. Did I step to the door and release it back into the wild? No. Down the toilet it went, a burial at sea with honours.
I'm so ashamed, but DAMN that bite hurt.