They started seeping in slowly. None of us noticed. One or two, here or there. Easily explained.

 The doorbell buzzed and opened to a dreadlocked orange vest at the bottom of the stairs.

“I need to read your meter”

He starts forward. He wants to cut through the house.

 “I got a big dog in here.”

He doesn’t argue, just gives me a blank stare.

“Drive around through the alley.” I say, as he climbs in his truck.

He comes in the back gate. It took only a minute for the reading, nothing unusual. Except it was then that I saw them. The buzzing swarm.   He shoos them away as he slips back out the gate. I follow them. Droning and crawling inside the porch beams. Squeezing in between the slats. Dark vibrations shuddering under the eaves. Hundreds or more. At dusk I creep and hit them hard with creamy white oil from a lethal black spray bottle. I sleep content till dawn. Then through the window over the coffeemaker they come.  Bigger. Mad. Sickly. I spend more hours with the spray. Up on a ladder and down on crooked knees. I seal the holes with insulating tape and foam. But the carpenters are boring holes like cheese. I hear the tapping of their bodies against the tape. Louder. Harder. Inside desperate to get out, outside hell bent to get in.  I hear them zipping, darting, honing. Sharpening.  Meter man locked the back gate. Everything is moving. The house is alive and coated.  A massive hive.  The first sting starts the flood. I am puffy, soft and porous by the time I go down.

Elizabeth McGuire

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