The Bug Blaster
by Don Urbanus
Don’s feeble old hands
fumbled with the Bug-Blaster™. After sixty years in the nursery business, Don
wondered if it was worth trying to keep up with the new ways of doing things. He
punched some numbers into the side of the round gadget and then attached a
picture of a grasshopper onto a stake. The Bug-Blaster hummed to life and shot
out of Don’s hand. It hovered in the air, rotating, searching for an insect,
concluded there were none and went into the rest mode.
“You ding-dong stupid blind piece of worthless junk!”
Don wheezed. He grunted in disgust and grabbed the Bug-Blaster. Again numbers
were punched and again the blaster malfunctioned. Finally the blaster managed to
identify the grasshopper but its laser blast was so weak that it didn’t even
scorch the paper. Don gritted his teeth and turned the laser up to maximum
strength. This time the Bug-Blaster zipped out of his hand and efficiently blew
a hole right through the paper grasshopper.
“Yes! I knew I could do it! Just takes someone with a
little smarts," Don said, pleased with himself. His smile slowly faded as he saw
the blaster sputter and fall to the floor. ‘I’m sorry,’ said a soothing voice
from the blaster, ‘You have exceeded the safety parameters of this unit. Please
contact your local Bug-Blaster™ representative to have this unit reactivated.’
“You no good %#**#%*! son of a ……”, Don stuttered. He
kicked the blaster and it rolled under a floating chair. “I hate the nursery
business. I hate the…….”.
Don paused in mid-sentence and slowly sat down. His
eyes glazed over and his mind drifted away back to a simpler time. Suddenly he
sat up straight and glanced furtively around the room. Quietly he crept over to
his old desk and reached underneath for a hidden key. He chuckled softly and
rubbed the worn key between his fingers. Down to the basement he stole. In the
corner was a small plywood cabinet. He patted the cabinet nostalgically. Good
old plywood. Now everything was poly resin somethingorother. Don blew the dust
off the rusty lock and stuck the key in. The lock sprang open. He grabbed an
illuminator and slowly opened the door.
For a long while he just knelt on the
floor and sighed. One by one he took the crusty contents and set them on top of
the cabinet. Sevin, Diazonon, Malathion, Roundup, Orthene. All the good stuff.
He snickered and reached for the bottle of Sevin. There would be some dead