Jumping Flea Beetles

So much for a lie-in.

I`m wide awake at 6.40am, unable to return to my slumbers for fear of the multitudes of little menaces that might, during the night, have taken advantage of my absence to get stuck in. I can see them now, tucking into their third or fourth breakfast of the most tasty of my once-beautiful nasturtiums. They must be stopped.

Before the kettle is given any opportunity to partake in my usual morning ritual – coffee followed by more coffee – I`m miraculously teleported from my bed into the world beyond.

My left hand steadies me by taking hold of a fence post, whilst my eyes focus, and my right hand, clutching its weapon, takes aim.

 

Wheeeeeeeee …..! screeches the first little speck.

Wheeeeeeeee …..! screeches the second.

Not meeeeeeeee …..! taunts a third. I`m staying put, right where I am, in the very heart of this incredibly succulent nasturtium bud.

“Think again!” I shout, as I nip said bud off its stem, complete with inhabitant, and proceed to deposit it on my compost heap.

Returning to inspect the battlefield, I find the first two specks, far from having the decency to at least play at being dead, still very much alive. Still very much alive and – albeit on a different flower-head – still breakfasting. Breakfasting, and now in the company of others.

Ha! mocks the first.

Tee-heeeeeeee …..! giggles the second.

Can`t get rid of us! rejoins the first.

But thanks for the free lift, anyways! whoops the other.

“Like a good tidal wave, do you?” I challenge. “Well here comes another and another and another. And this one`s for your friend.”

WHAM!

“And this one, for the other.”

WHOOSH!

“Not so clever now, are you?

TAKE THAT!

AND THAT!”

And I keep hopping around, trigger-happy and determined. Obstinate.

Almost.

SQUELCH … SLIDE …

Something`s underfoot. Under my foot. Probably a squished green gage. Time for a quick inspection of the ground troops.

CRAP! CRAP, CRAP, CRAP!

Real crap.

WHAM!

The soapy solution in my water dispenser is redeployed, diverted away from the battlefield to the sole of my right boot. WHAM, BHAM, CRAP!

Cat crap.

A neighbour`s cat`s crap, stuck to the bottom of my right boot, obstinate, refusing to shift. A cat`s stinking crap, laughing at me.

Calling a temporary surrender, but by no means defeated by the opposition, I pull at the lace and kick my boot off, aiming it at a hole in the fence I share with a cat-loving neighbour. But it turns out it`s with good reason my childhood self never made it onto any sports team, be it basketball, netball, football, or any other that involved goal-scoring. Bouncing off a fence post, some inches off target, my crappy boot decided, if it was going to go it all alone and legless, it would take up residence amidst my strawberry plants, rather than take any chances by passing through into an unknown beyond.

So be it. Let nature do its worst. With any luck, the retreating specks will leap off the nasturtiums, try to take cover in the bed of strawberry plants, and get stuck – forever – to my crappy-right boot.

As for me, it`s left-foot forward. And –

back.

Back in that I really need to take back control of my life, to get that kettle to boil, to get the day started off properly with a couple of coffees. The caffeine does its best and I stand at the kitchen window surveying the garden. From this distance, the nasturtiums look quite fine and healthy again ……. wine-red, citrus-orange and golden-yellow, spicy-sweet bonbons, beach balls, all breezing around upon a sea of nutritious-green-soap bubbles.

Shame about the all-too-familiar stench that seems to be hanging around my person. Should my left boot, too, have been kicked into oblivion, or at the very least, abandoned at the door? I lift up my left foot, still booted and, fortunately, still reasonably sanitary; but, in doing the examination, I notice that my usually fine and white (if somewhat thread-veined), left calf, is sporting a large patch of something yellow-ish brown …

It`s not a suntan; I`m a redhead and we don`t tan. Neither is it a spillage from a tube of burnt-umber paint; haven`t set foot (or calf) inside my art studio for weeks, and besides which, the last time I did, I was in my blue phase. And it isn`t a ….

Hang on –

Did I just happen to scratch my left calf with my right boot, before I kicked …..?

Indefinite surrender. Abdication.

Time for a shower.

Teeee …. Heeeee…. ! giggle the specks, still mocking and still multiplying. Still gathering in their troops. Still all settling themselves in upon my day-bed of golden nasturtiums. All of them, thousands of specks; all of them obstinate and ready for their sit-down protest. Each and every speck, stuck-in and ready for the fight-

back.

All ready for the big tuck-in.

 

Copyright of text and photographs owned by Jay Cool, Saturday 11th September, 2021

Other posts by the freelance creative, Jay Cool, aka The Silly-Savvy Salopian:

Wordinary

Swan Takes A Stand

Uptrodden

 

P.S. If, despite my sorry tale, you still wish to partake in your own war against an army of jumping-flea beetles, you could always try loading your spray bottle with a solution that is 5 parts water, to 2 parts rubbing alcohol and 1 part liquid soap, as detailed in The Farmer`s Almanac.

I left out the alcohol, as the only sort I possess is for drinking, rather than rubbing – and why waste good booze on woozing out a few beetles? It`s fair to say that washing-up/ liquid diluted with water, proved to be utterly ineffective, but at least I now have the means by which to console myself from a humiliating defeat. Whoever heard of a house cat, volunteering itself as decoy for a load of bugs?

Published by The Silly-Savvy Salopian

Freelance writer and descendant of the cave dweller and outlaw, Humphrey Kynaston. Banished from Shropshire for my eccentricity, I have made my home in Suffolk. I write poetry, short stories, travel journals, comedy gig reviews and non-fiction articles. My wish is to write my way back into the heart of my birth land. All writing commissions (and free holidays in Shropshire!) considered.

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