Saturday, May 12, 2018

cue the scorpion

Screenwriters of horror films have a little trick.

Whenever they encounter lulls in their story arcs, the easiest way to pick up the pace is to stick in a scene where scorpions menace the leading lady. And, even though it is the rankest of cinematic clichés, it almost always works. Even when we all know how the tension is resolved.

There is something visceral about scorpions. My theory is that they are like sharks -- perfect killing machines. Claws to grasp. Armor to protect. A lethal sting to dispatch its prey. I am surprised an arms merchant has not devised something similar.

We tend to shy away from anything that looks that terrifying.

I have had to resort to misinformation to lure some of my friends down here. Scorpions often top their list of reasons not to cross the border. I tell them the chance they would ever see a scorpion was almost zero. (And that is true. As far as it goes. Scorpions do their hunting in the dark.)

I am glad none of those guests were in the house today. Saturday is cleaning and landscaping day. While Dora was busy tidying up the bedrooms, her son, Lupe, and I were trimming my vines and sweeping out the garage.

I saw the first one. One of the largest beige scorpions I have seen since I moved here. A bit of Raid took care of it.

Then Lupe saw the second. A tiny one. Just a baby. But it too had a Raid date.

Dora came out to see what we were doing -- and found the third. Raid. Done.

Three scorpions. All within a five foot radius of each other. That is the highest number I have killed in one day. If this was a Disney production, they would be a cute animated couple with their young son.

The disconcerting fact is that I walked through the same area last night in my bare feet when I got out of the swimming pool. Reminder to self: sandals exist for a good reason.

Now, before anyone says they are not coming to Mexico because of scorpions, let me ask you how you would react if someone said, "I am not going to visit Oregon. They have yellow jackets."

I have been stung by a whole series of insects over the years. I have also been stung by a scorpion. To me, there was no difference. They all hurt, but I survived them.

There are, of course, exceptions. People who are allergic to bee stings are usually also allergic to scorpion stings. My brother is one of those. When he is here, we regularly sweep the area for bees and wasps. And we are careful of scorpions.

So, come on down. This is not a mummy horror set. And the chances are that you will never see a scorpion. But, if you do, pay attention to them. They are as fascinating as tarantulas and rattlesnakes.

But that is an entirely different story.

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