Bugs
I wrote the following in an email to a friend after solving this persistent mystery.




I used to have an infestation of tiny bugs in my house, always dead on the kitchen counter in almost exactly the same area.  This was a mystery for many, many months, but I found the source of them at long last.  I used to have a supply of dog cookies in a zip-lock bag on the top shelf of the kitchen cabinet above my microwave.  Somehow a bug (probably a pregnant one) got into there and those dozen or so cookies eventually turned into a bug-making factory.  I don't know what it was about the cookies themselves, but apparently they were sustenance for the larva, but the bugs quickly died soon afterward, and they would gradually fall out of the cabinet onto the counter and the top of the microwave.

It was completely bizarre because I couldn't find a hole in the ceiling through which they were being deposited, DOA as it were.  And it didn't make much sense why they were only showing up on one end of the kitchen countertop.  It was like a Twilight Zone episode with without the Serling twist... or at least I was waiting forever for that hammer of karmic irony to fall.

In preparing to move over to Dani's last week, I dug into that long-untouched top shelf of the cabinet.  I had stored mostly un-used things like cans of food and toys for Dani's dog and whatever foster dogs I get.  What I found was this bag full of dead bugs and dog cookies that had a million little holes bored through them.  Normally these cookies are heavy enough or at least dense enough to constitute a murder weapon in most states or at least a game of "Clue," but no longer.  Once the bugs had a few months time in which to feast on them, the cookies weighed only a couple ounces.  They were about the weight of a pack of gum... only minus the gum.  Well, the story didn't end there.  In fact, another one has been gradually building.

Over the past couple weeks, there have been small, *flying* versions of these bugs buzzing about the house.  It's hardly a domestic revival of "The Swarm," by any stretch, but an occasional bug would wind its way into the computer room and flirt with my monitor while I typed.  I started emptying my garbage cans more regularly, thinking maybe they had hatched from there, but that didn't seem to do anything.  No, the problem was that I had an even larger time-bomb waiting to explode: a whole box of dog cookies in the back room.

Dani had bought an entire box of cookies several months ago, and the thing was almost completely full.  Thankfully the bugs only just recently discovered this cache or I would be swimming out my windows under a sea of carapaces.  Oddly enough, I didn't even find out about this second infestation until after the fact.  See, in packing up the stuff for Dani's place, I only got around to picking up the box on Friday, just before I headed over there.  I tossed it along with a few other things in my back seat and got on the road.  As I drove down the interstate toward Fort Worth, I kept having a bug or two fly through my field of vision.  I couldn't be distracted from the road long enough to try to tackle the annoyance, so I did my best to ignore them.

When I arrived at Dani's, I started to unload the box and other belongings when a couple of the bugs flew out of the top of the box.  Dani was out of the house helping me at this point and noticed them as well.  We took a look inside the box and found similarly-sized holes bored into these cookies as well.  We left the box outside that night and threw the cookies out all along the highway the next day when we went for a ride.  Disaster averted!  Well, for us that is.  Meanwhile, in boxes of dog cookies in homes throughout Fort Worth, there are scores of innocuous-looking little insects getting ready to work their magic on their unsuspecting hosts!

As I write this, even though I haven't received a single insectoid fly-by, I'm just as itchy as hell.  I keep thinking I'm feeling things crawling on me from everywhere.  I guess that's the ending Rod Serling would pop back in to narrate in this episode of my life: The bugs have been eliminated from everywhere except the one space from which their presence cannot be exorcised... a mind that is now trapped in a place called... The Twilight Zone.



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