The the mahogany flat, the crimson rambler, the heavy dragoon, the chinche bug, and the dreaded redcoat. Though these may sound like the codex cognomens of a fleet of roguish pirate ships they refer instead to another terrifying plunderer of booty, the bed bug, whose treasure is paid in blood and the sight of which can instil more terror than that of the Jolly Rodger. It’s fucking Jolly, for god’s sake.
I ended the last post with Girlfriend and I abating our unease with our room, coming to terms with it and finally being able to call it home. Then suddenly, FUCKING BEDBUGS. And it’s not funny. Everyone I’ve told gives a cursory “That’s terrible,” or “lol sounds bad” completely unaware of the enormity of the problem.
On Girlfriend’s birthday (last Wednesday) I started to notice small red dots on my arms and feet which later began to swell and itch. Then, she too began to suffer the pinprick plight. Google told us they were hives and then told us that hives happen for pretty much no good reason at all. So we were resigned that they’d eventually go away. Then, on Saturday, waking up in the middle of the night after an essay-nap we caught the scarlet night-time visitor, this scuttling Santa of Doom. And, just like that moment you spot an ant on concrete only to realise you’ve just spotted the patch of concrete in between the ants so too with our bedsheets, as we started to see more of the Crimson Cunts scarper about in satisfying contrast to our sky-blue bed-linen. We spent the night mostly awake with the light on to dissuade them from emerging again. They mostly come at night, you see.
We knew what we had to do. I said we should take off and nuke the entire site from orbit at which point Girlfriend started shouting “Fucking A, man, fucking A!” in agreement so we called a 24/7 exterminator to get a quote. Usually it’s around 150 squids but because of the Easter holiday it’d be closer to 350. What a stupid fucking holiday. This meant the problem wouldn’t be dealt with till the following Tuesday, as we knew our landlords would have their pockets, and not our health and well-being, at heart. The next day first thing we black-bagged every last item of clothing and called the landlords. It was around 2 when the landlord’s son came out to us, bringing with him what we thought to be only a temporary solution; an insecticide bomb.
I tore the pin off the top, threw it in and jumped out of the room in slow-motion, cascading to the floor. We took off for a well deserved Easter Cream Egg McFlurry while we imagined our enemies choking to death underneath our mattress and after 2 hours we returned, only to find the bomb was a dud and failed to ignite. Landlordson appeared again, this time with a can of ACME Bed-Bug-B-Gone. Heaving up the mattress I located some soon-to-be Red Dead BaBedbaBugs, took aim and shot a jet of carcinogens in their faces.
We took everything we had to a laundrette, washing and drying for 2 hours and at one stage occupied every single machine. We rang the landlord, demanding fumigation and a new bed; the new bed they could get (by Tuesday) but they seemed reticent to call in the professionals.
This is what made the entire thing so horrendously stressful. The bugs are horrible, scuttling nightmares who’d been feeding on us for some time, and we had marks from our feet to our faces and forced us to fleer our home but they’re still neither inherently good nor bad.
It was not knowing whether we could trust the people who’d caused this mess to fix it, to believe them when they said they would bring in an exterminator and the lengths they’d go to save themselves some dosh. It was this that made Girlfriend burst into tears outside King’s Cross station as we headed to a mate’s house to escape. As Ripley put it in Aliens:
That night we stayed in our friend’s living room which we had to share with their new pet rabbit. A strange Easter treat which gave our bizarre weekend another spin of the absurd. After two days of stressful displacement and with essay deadlines looming we finally got a call from the landlord saying they’d thrown out the bed and paid the man who’d fitted the new bed £100 to spray the room. Real encouraging. After surveying the room we headed downstairs and caught the landlord on the landing. His puffy face swelled with guilt and behind his glasses he wore the expressions of a child who’d been caught.
“Everything was new when you came and now I’ve gotten you a new bed too! You should appreciate what I’ve done for you!”
He implored. We were having none of it, our demands strengthened by our position at the top of the stairs.
I told him the whole house will have to be fumigated or we’re getting our deposit back. The nerve…chyeah, we really appreciate being the bloodmeal for the parasites of a rapist drug addict. With our ultimatum he winced his wet, piggy eyes and scarpered back downstairs, corkscrew tail between his little legs.
Fuck Bed bugs.