It felt like there was something on my toe, but I knew there probably wasn’t, so I just kept playing the XBox in the dark.
The new XBox was eating me alive. Every time I turned it on, seven hours would disappear and it was suddenly two o’clock in the morning – like right now for instance. I would never have graduated high school if this type of game existed when I was a kid.
But it still felt like there was something on my toe. I held my foot up and tried to look at it, but there wasn’t enough light. I could turn a light on, sure, but my wife was asleep across the room. Also, I didn’t want to get up.
I played the game some more, sitting there in an office chair with a blanket around me at two o’clock in the morning, and it still felt like there was something on my toe.
I thought, maybe it’s a toe knuckle hair. Kind of tickling the old toe knuckle. Hairs just sort of show up on you as you get older, they sprong out of your nose and pop out of your ears. Everywhere. If you’re my age and part of your body feels weird, that’s probably what’s going on – there’s hair growing there now. Have yourself a drink.
The more I thought about it, the more certain I was that it was a toe knuckle hair. I decided to have my XBox guy run outside where it would be light, and then I’d be able to look at the toe in the light of the screen and verify that it was just a knuckle hair. I liked this plan, because it wouldn’t wake up my wife, and I also wouldn’t have to get up.
Had a little trouble getting my guy outside. He was a little bit lost and there was a zombie attack. Once he was outside I held my foot up to the screen and looked at the toe knuckle in question.
It sure looked like there was something on my toe. Something bee-shaped. I found that really alarming because bees can kill me. I have an epipen I have to carry around and if I ever get stung by a bee again, I’m supposed to stab myself in the leg with it and call 911.
Where exactly was that epipen, anyway? Hmmm.
I had a little conversation with myself about how bees were not active at night. I said, that makes no sense, why would there be a live bee on your toe knuckle at two o’clock in the morning?
I made a little list of things it probably was instead, like a different kind of bug, or a sticky Cheetoh, or a clump of sock lint. I used my other foot to sweep at the toe knuckle, and flick the bee off of there.
Because that’s what it was; it started buzzing right as I flicked it and I jumped to my feet, sending the chair rolling across the room where it banged into the dresser and I said something like “Holy mother Woop Woop What the shit!”
And then I heard the buzzing for just a second as it flew off somewhere, and then the buzzing stopped. My wife sat up in bed and screamed something in Latin at me, went back to sleep.
I thought, damn it, now there’s a live bee in here someplace, so I can’t go to sleep until I’ve found it.
Now all the real knuckle hairs on my hands and feet, and all the hairs every place else, started feeling like live bees. It’s a weird feeling, standing there in the dark with a little invisible death bug.
I listened really carefully and I could hear the buzzing again. It was different now. Before it was a flying sort of buzz, a smoother sound that rose and fell as the bee flew around the room. Now it was an angry buzz, and it was stationary.
I got a hold of a flashlight and bumbled around the room trying to triangulate the source of the buzzing. I had to fish the controller out of the blankets and pause the game – there was some kind of giant rat kicking the crap out of my guy, and it was loud.
When it was paused the buzzing was more distinct. I found the bee caught in a spider web inside the base of an old lamp. The spider was sitting right there, waiting on the bee to wear itself out.
I said, “Thanks, little buddy.”
“You got it, Tommy C.,” said the spider.
Normally I would panic and shop vac out the base of that lamp, upon finding a clump of spider web back there. But not this time.
I think that spider is A-Okay. Sometimes I sit around late at night watching Torchwood with that spider. I’m pretty sure she’s a girl, because I read Charlotte’s Web, so I named her Veronica – it made sense at the time.