Satan’s Imp

A Summer Hazard

By Marylyn Cork

I got drilled by a yellow jacket the other evening—actually, a paper wasp, according to the people who know such things. To me, the two species look identical. I would have thought my adversary was a bald hornet, except I had seen the nest.

He came boiling out of his small nest at the top edge of my basement door as soon as I stepped outside, and hit me with a sting that felt like someone with a power drill had tried to bore through my skull. All I was trying to do was to reach the faucet that turns off the water to the soaker hose at the bottom of my terraces.

I got even, though, returning nearer dark with bee-bomb in a can. I wiped that imp of Satan out, along with all his buddies and the nest—for the second time this year. Then the next morning I applied a broom handle to the remains of the nest.

That maddened little critter left me feeling direful aftereffects: a puncture wound that didn’t stop itching and hurting for four solid hours, and swelling that almost closed my left eye as it traveled down the whole side of my cheek from eye to chin. When I awoke the following morning, my face looked like a punching bag.

My mug seemed almost back to normal the next day, but the morning after that I awoke with my left eye swollen half-shut again. The only possible reason I can figure out for my adverse reaction is that the pestiferous insect hit me between eyebrow and cheek, where there was nothing but skin and bone to absorb the venom.

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