by Kalí Rourke
I love Halloween.
When I was a child in Northwest Washington, it meant brisk mornings and cooler evenings with bright, colored leaves flying everywhere as my favorite holiday approached.
I spent hours deciding what persona I would let loose each year. My mother was my willing conspirator and her crafty skills and imagination created prize-winning costumes.
I dressed up for Halloween even after I moved to Texas as an adult, but it wasn’t quite the same. Embodying a Disney villainess in the heat and humidity of Austin’s 6th Street didn’t quite have that fall kick, but I adjusted, and my new town gave me my most frightening Halloween ever.
The weather turned cold very suddenly one Halloween weekend.
I realized that I needed to bring in my vulnerable plants or risk losing them. I hauled them in, hanging them in the kitchen, then I went to the front room and watched TV.
Bzzz…Something flashed by my head.
“What the heck?” I frantically searched for something to kill it. I didn’t know what it was, but it did not belong in my front room!
I cornered it at the window where it banged against the glass. It was an adult wasp.
“That was exciting,” I muttered to the empty condo. I went back to the TV.
“Bzzz—Bzzz.” More wasps!
I hustled this time, starting to freak out. I realized that they were coming from the kitchen.
The kitchen was swarming. Wasps were flying in panic, hitting each other in their frenzy like a scene from a fifties horror movie!
I lunged for the patio door and threw it open, hoping they would exit, but cold air poured in and kept them inside.
I pulled on a scarf and cleaning gloves. I gingerly grabbed a can of Raid and a fly swatter. The wasps did not make it easy, but the cold air slowed them down, so I sprayed many of them in mid-air and then swatted and stomped them. The mess became immense.
I spotted one coming out of a plant I had brought in. It was a large plant, and I realized it must have a nest in it!
“Oh crud,” I thought, “What do I do now? It has to go!”
I grabbed it with my Playtex pink, long-line gloved hands and ran as fast as I could toward the open sliding glass door. I slipped on smashed bodies of wasps on the floor, wobbling like a crazed skater. Lurching to the patio, I lobbed my precious plant into a corner!
As I slammed the door shut, wasps started to pour out of my broken plant, looking in vain for a new home in the cold. I watched in fairly unsympathetic silence since I was still shaking with adrenaline!
Later, I called my friend. told her my Halloween horror story and she laughed.
“Oh Girl,” she said, “I can just see you running around going ‘Rambo’ on wayward wasps! And what was that get-up you were wearing again?”
It was pretty amusing, all right.. afterward.