There was a mosquito in my office this evening, and I killed it without a second thought.
I saw it doing a lazy air dance in front of me, almost like a drunken kamikaze pilot who’s off course: it was slowly lilting from right to left over my laptop as I prepared a presentation for Monday on the topic of “stewardship,” which of course includes the proper cultivation and care of God’s creation…and all the animals therein.
It was odd.
While I open my window a crack if my office gets hot, it was closed today, and we are on the 11th floor of a modernized space. This bug was definitely out of its neighborhood. Definitely far from home. Which was probably Queens.
I had read part of an essay in The Sun the other day by Andrew Boyd about his stay and quasi-apprenticeship at Doi Suthep, a Thai monastery. As part of his regimen, he was to live by certain vows: no sexual activity, no stealing, and no killing, meaning he “couldn’t even murder mosquitoes.” I had taken so such mosquito-specific vow, nor would I during the months from April to October. Neither would I near large amounts of standing water during the months of November through March.
So I swatted at the damn thing first: you know, the hand clap thing in front of you where you figure it will get dead no matter which way it goes. But it seemed to have eluded my very un-Zen hands. (This was indeed the sound of two hands clapping.) I forgot about it and kept typing, still trying to figure out how it got into our space.
Perhaps fifteen minutes later I looked down along the F key row on my keyboard and just above F8, on the concave power button, there was a small body, struggling for life on its back. I knew what I must do. I took my thumb – for with that digit I could exert the maximum pounds per square inch, and the thumb also has fewer nerves it seems than my other fingers and I was feeling a little sensitive about the while Doi-Suthep-no-murder thingy – and I pressed down on its entire being until it was still.
I made sure not to press too much, or my computer would power down.
I picked up the cadaver between said thumb and middle finger and deposited it in the wastebasket on top of my used dinner containers from Cafe Metro downstairs.
Now, some may find me cruel. Or heartless.
The way I see it, it’s either him or me. Him or me. And I have a family to feed. He’s a bug. Alone, way above his altitude, far from home, and ostensibly looking for a fight.
Well, he found one.