In the early hours of one frosty morning, I set to work at chasing away the chill. In our home the only heat is our wood burning stove. After I carried in an armful of wood, I split a piece with a hatchet. Somewhere in the process the two older boys woke up. Either the chopping sound or the squeaking door of the stove drew them in like moths to a flame.
#5 and #6 watched with their usual interest. Hovering behind in their pajamas, they offered sticks, paper, and cardboard to help excite the tender flames into a blaze that would send Jack Frost running for the hills. The outcome was that I seemed to bump into the two whenever I moved. Then without warning, they were unredeemabley distracted.
A bug had wriggled out of a log and scurried across the carpet away from the fireplace. #5 jumped to his feet and squealed, “AHHHH, A BUG!” as if he had just witnessed a long dead enemy crawl zombie-like out of a grave.
#6 was safely right behind his big brother also pointing and hopping from one foot to another. They were making enough noise to wake their mother, a truly dangerous idea, and I was compelled to save them from themselves. “I see it! Now shooosh.”
“But the bug, you have to kill the bug,” #5 exclaimed, still hot on the insect’s trail.
I had just gotten a face full of smoke and coughed out, “I’m busy. You deal with it.”
#5 spun around to his brother and ordered, “Watch da bug!” and he ran off down the hallway and into his room.
#6 faithfully dropped onto his belly as to keep a close eye on the retreating pest. He followed it crawling army-style until #5 returned waving above his head a tennis shoe. The hunt was on. They crawled after the insect with the hunting spirit of a tiger, though without any of its agility. The bug almost got away twice.
Finally the death blow fell, and the room lit up with green and yellow lights flashing from the shoe in the little boy’s hand. I think the flashing lights were as much a surprise to the boys as it was to me, for the boys froze when the lights made themselves obvious; and then #5 smashed it down twice more. With each blow the insect became flatter and flatter and the room was bathed in a festive light show.
In the end, while I was attempting to keep my fire alight, the bug when out under a light.