Taking no prisoners. Including herself.

Mysterious red bumps have formed along the length of each thigh, like red stiches. This part of my body, a softest skin, has never been exposed to open air, outside of a mosquito net. I consulted a resident Hanoian.

They are classic bed bug bites. Sleep tight!

* * *

With a flash of thirst, I woke up in the middle of the night to get some water. I crawled out of my mosquito net, slid me feet into my plastic sandals, and groggily padded to the kitchen. I wasn’t wearing my glasses; everything was a blur.

I hit the light switch and the fluorescents stammered on. As I reached down to open the fridge, the low-slung handle at knee level, I noticed a large, black spot on the counter. I brought my head closer to inspect the blemish.

It was a cockroach. Four inches long, an inch & a half wide, my was nose nearly touching its back leg. It shivered and scurried under the toaster.

I stood erect, the kitchen still fuzzy for specifics. All I could see were a hundred black circles; the room vibrated with Insectopia.
* * *

A neighbor noticed me sitting in the yard, sipping my last few drops of artichoke tea in the safety and familiarity of the front lawn. I said “chào, chi,” and with that, she came over for a chat.

Unfortunately, my Vietnamese stops there, and the ensuing conversation was politely one-sided.

I did, however, manage to let out a universally understood “oooo!” when she pointed out the two hornet’s nests being built precariously outside my front door. I asked her, do they sting? while dramatically poking myself on the forearm. She responded with a series of ominous tones and pointed to her eyes, one of which I noticed was nearly all white, catarac-like.

I chose to refrain from trying to pantomime whether the eye was a result of hornet-damage or if she inteded to communicate that hornets go after the eyes in general.

When Bắc got home, I point out the nests to her, thinking she might want to take action. She says she knows they are there. She wants to leave them, you see, because hornet’s nests in Vietnam are a sign of good luck.

I say try telling that to ole White Eye.

*     *     *

§376 · October 4, 2007 · Couch-hop, Location-Location · · [Print]

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