Tuesday, August 03, 2021

another bond villain strikes out

Sometimes even the most prosaic event can be another adventure chapter.

This morning, I was reading The Oregonian in bed -- something I have done for decades. The only big difference now is that I now do not need to look for my newspaper on the front lawn. It is delivered directly to my telephone before either the sun or I am out of bed.

Usually I can read from the front page to the end of the sports page without resorting to looking for my reading glasses. Sleep seems to give my eyes the elasticity they need in the early morning without resorting to corrective lenses.

Maybe I did not get enough sleep during the night or my eyes just did not get whatever they thought they needed to provide unaugmented service in the morning, but when I opened the newspaper, I had trouble reading. My regular reading glasses were on the day bed where I had left them last night. Rather than get out of bed to retrieve them, I rummaged through the night stand knowing I had placed a spare pair in a glass case with a couple of microcloths.

I popped the case open -- and paused. Something did not seem quite right. The glasses were there along with the cloths. But there was something else. 

When I turned on the reading light above my bed, I saw it. I had just experienced a true Bond moment. It was as if Ernst Blofeld, knowing my eyesight would be weak in the morning, had planted a deadly blue-ringed scorpion where I would completely miss its presence until it had done its duty.

Of course, my unexpected visitor was not a deadly blue-ringed scorpion. I know that because I made up the name. But if I had not noticed the odd wadded-up shape in the case, I could easily have been stung if the scorpion felt trapped.

What it was was a rather common scorpion in these parts -- the Jalisco Coast Scorpion. In the six years I have lived in my current house, I have seen this variety far more than any other. They always remind me of what we called "potato bugs" in Powers -- or, as they are better known "Jerusalem crickets." It must be the mahogany and beige camouflage.

I had just told someone last week that it had been a long time since I had seen a scorpion in the house. And the presence of this one surprised me. How could a scorpion that size get in my glass case? The case seems to close tight, but scorpions are capable of flattening themselves to gain access to almost any space.

I also have no idea how long he may have been there. Scorpions can survive for long periods without nourishment. The experts say some scorpions can survive up to a year without nourishment.

Well, this one won't. Rather than kill it outright, I dumped it in the toilet, shot it for you, and then sent it on its swirly way down the sewer line.

Scorpions are survivors. Like many other crawling creatures, sewer-dousing is not necessarily certain capital punishment. Anyone who has watched cockroaches scramble out of sewers will know that.

So, there still may be a little justice in the end. For all I know, the scorpion will clambor back through the sewer line, hide in my toilet, and wait for the opportune moment to settle scores.

I may need my reading glasses in the bathroom for the next few days.


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