Escalation

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It all started when I needed the fly swatter.

The buzzing would stop for an instant, but I was always too slow to whack my nemesis. Amazing that anyone can make a bare-handed snatch of something with that many eyes. Probably the same people who can hit major league curve balls. Or Ninjas.

When it wasn’t buzzing around or settling on the table just beyond my slap, the fly was discovering the delectables in my ankle. It’s like it’s biting even before it lands.

I’m sitting there trying to read. No way.

The taunting buzz.

The stinging bites.

The bootless swipes.

I’m not even at the beach. Why the heck is there a biting fly in my study?

Enough’s enough. Drop book, walk to kitchen, open closet.

The nail where the fly-swatter hangs is empty.

“Where’s the fly swatter?” I holler, loud enough for neighbors two houses down in each direction to hear. No reply.

“Jimmy!”

Jimmy’s upstairs, supposedly doing his summer reading. More likely texting his friends.

“Jimmy!” louder.

Door opens upstairs.

“What, Mom?” Annoyed.

“Any idea where the fly swatter is?”

“Nope.”

“Pound on Lucinda’s door. She never hears anything with those ear buds and her music.”

“What, Mom?” Impatient whine.

“D’you have the fly swatter?”

“Ain’t seen it.”

No time to correct her grammar.

Just then Dwayne comes in from mowing the lawn.

“Dwayne, where’s the fly swatter? No one seems to know where it is.”

“I threw it out. Too unsanitary.”

“YOU THREW IT OUT? That’s the most dumb-assed thing since you — ”

“If you and the kids would just keep the doors shut, we wouldn’t need a damn fly swatter. And pick up the dog’s shit in the yard.”

That’s the last straw. He’s the one said we should get the kids a dog. I grab my keys and my purse and drive to Mother’s. I’m staying here till that fool apologizes and buys a new fly swatter. Mother always has at least two fly swatters at strategic locations.

Two months later. Phone call from my lawyer.

“Dwayne’s willing to get you the fly swatter if you’ll let him get a new air conditioner unit for his workshop.”

“He needs to come up with more than a stupid fly swatter if he wants an air conditioner. Tell him fly swatter and new iPhone for me.”

Three days later the lawyer’s on the phone again.

“Dwayne says if you want the fly swatter and the iPhone, he gets a new set of golf clubs plus the A/C unit.”

“Ridiculous. If he gets golf clubs, I get a week at my spa.”

And so it goes.

Six month later I sign the divorce papers. The house gets sold; we have a huge garage sale. After the lawyers get a hundred grand each, there’s $10K for Dwayne and $10K for me. I find a small apartment for me and the kids and buy myself a brand new fly swatter. I leave the slider to the balcony open whenever it’s warm. Flies succumb to the temptation, only to be annihilated by my weapon of mass destruction. It’s all in the snap of the wrist and the follow through.

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