City Paper is not for tourists
Editor’s Note: Earlier this year, Justin wrote Iceland, a blog about his band’s American tour. Justin isn’t on tour anymore, but Iceland continues, twice a week, on City Desk.
A gentleman trained in the art of termite extermination wandered into my home with a large drill. We stood in my basement and inspected the floor.
“We will drill three holes at the bottom of your basement stairs,” the gentleman explained. “Then, we will spray a killer chemical into these holes to kill your termites. We will repeat this process outside, both at the front of the house and at the back.”
“I understand that your chemicals exterminate termites, but do they pose a threat to humans?” I queried.
“No, “the gentleman replied. I deemed this reply dubious.
The gentleman then drilled three deep holes into the floor of my basement. My entire home groaned in protest.
“Sir,” I remarked, “I have heard many damnable sounds in my basement, but never a sound as damnable as this drill.”
“I fear the sound is unpleasant,” the gentleman concurred. He regarded the musical equipment splayed throughout my basement. “If you are a musician, when and where do you play?” he queried.
“Whenever and wherever called upon, in places foreign and domestic,” I explained. “In Washington, D.C., I have had the privilege to play at the Black Cat. Once, long ago, I played at the 9:30 Club.”
“Cool,” the gentleman replied. For the next half-hour, he drilled holes in and around my property. Using a hose attached to his truck, he sprayed a clear, killer chemical into the holes that he drilled. I am proud to say that I helped carry this hose. If any termites protested, I did not hear their tiny voices. We were finishing our task in the backyard when the gentleman spoke.
“You have many flies in your backyard,” the gentleman remarked. “For $40 more, I’ll spray my killer chemical around your backyard and kill your flies.”
I thought about the offer. “Sorry,” I said. “I’ve moved beyond fly-killing as an aesthetic.”
The gentleman considered my reply. “I have killed bugs and pests for three years. I am now 37 years old,” he said. “Recently, I moved into a home with my girlfriend. We have been dating for seven months. I must say, I find our domestic partnership difficult. It seems that I have no space left for myself. In many ways, my world has shrunk.” The gentleman swiped at a fly.
“The roads of life and love are muddy and poorly paved,” I intoned.
The gentleman swiped at another fly. Then he began spraying his killer chemical around my backyard. “Don’t worry,” he said as he sprayed. “I will kill your flies for free.”
“Thank you,” I said. “The same killer chemical that kills termites—-this killer chemical also kills flies?”
“Do not doubt it, sir,” said the gentleman. “This shit kills everything.”