So there’s this bush out front of my house, right, and it’s always covered in flies and spiderwebs. Like, I really think there’s something WRONG with it – maybe there’s a carcass rotting underneath the branches, or maybe there’s a nest of some kind of nastiness buried underneath its roots. There’s a lot of snails out there, I’ll tell you that much, and the webs are tacky little cyclones burying into the shrubbery. It’s absolutely. ABSOLUTELY. Disgusting.
Tonight, after a long evening of emails, editing, and monitoring my Twitter feeds, I stepped out for one last cigarette before calling it quits. I’m enjoying the sound of rain on pavement, the smell of the air, and then, just as I go to flick the burning stub out into the street, it slips from between my fingers and falls between the cement porch and the fly bush. And sure enough, as I stand there contemplating what to do next, I start to smell burning leaves.
Now, this bush is not small. At street level it would probably rise up to my shoulders, and its infested girth runs right up flush with the front stairway, which corners to the porch at a right angle. There is no way to get back there without wedging myself neck-deep into the bracken darkness. Which, you know, sounded as about as appealing as sliding headfirst into a pile of someone else’s vomit.
Unfortunately, that’s exactly what I had to do. The wedging, not the puke-slide. I cleared away the cobwebs with my shoe, kicked the bush a few times to shake off any extra creatures, and just bloody dove right in there, bracing myself against the stairs with my arms and flailing my feet at the cigarette like a free diver breaking for the sun. It was probably the most horrifying sixty seconds of my LIFE people, and that’s kind of saying a lot.
I’m out of the bush now, and my apartment is not on fire. These are both good things. But I can’t shake this grimy slimy feeling all over my skin. I think it’s time for another smoke. Maybe a cocktail as well.