Maggots at My Doorstep

I’ve never been one to keep a perfectly immaculate house, to wash every corner and hidden place with the newest enhanced formula cleaners, complete with extra bleach. I do, I like to think, keep my place about an average amount of clean. Most of the cleanliness comes thanks to my fiancÃ?©, but, I do help out when necessary, or she demands it. Even the screened-in back porch of our apartment, where we store our bags of trash until pick-up day, is relatively free of debris and otherwise unnecessary clutter. We have never had a problem with roaches, ants, or any other crawling, sneaking little pests. Perhaps this is why we made the mistake that we did. Maybe we just didn’t realize what would happen; we just didn’t think of it…we just didn’t know.

It was upon that back porch that our lesson would be not merely learned, but ingrained into our minds like a childhood nightmare. One particular hot summer week, we had accumulated the usual couple bags of trash, and had set them out back to wait for the day, Thursday to be exact, when we could move them to the curb to be picked up. Well, it so happened that we unintentionally forgot to move the trash to the curb when Thursday came. No big deal, we thought, we’ll just wait until next week, and put the bags out then.

So next week came and once more we accumulated the normal amount of trash for two people for a week, which was added to what had been left from before. Thursday came again, and, as if in a drunken state of forgetfulness, we once again missed our chance to get rid of the growing pile of bags on our back porch. There wasn’t much we could do, except wait for another week. I had no problem with this, because what harm could it cause, other than an increasingly bad smell if we opened our porch door? It would only be one more week…and…what’s that, seven days? It would be fine, and we would make for certain that there would be no forgetting again.

The following week went by, and as before, a little more trash was added to the pile. It did indeed smell like we were harboring the dead out back, and so in order to avoid investigation by the police because of a call from some concerned neighbor of ours that thought we were some sort of serial killers, I made sure that when Thursday came, we remembered to move our trash to the curb. Well, the day came, and as I had promised myself, I remembered it was trash day.

It was about 7 o’clock in the evening when I prepared myself to move the rotting bags, where they would sit and smell on the curb until Friday morning, when the trash was actually picked up. My fiancÃ?© and I were planning to take a nice stroll through our neighborhood, something we do quite often, and this nice summer eve was no different. Before we went, though, I was going to move the bags…I could not possibly take the risk of having to leave them there for another seven days. I took my first step out onto the porch with caution, knowing full well what aromas were awaiting me. With my breath held, I picked up the first couple of bags from the pile of around six, and prepared to carry them down the back staircase, where I could then walk them around to the front of the building. The bags lifted fine, though I expected them to fall apart just from being out for so long in the heat. I had no idea, until a few seconds later, that the tearing of a bag would have been the least of my problems.

The image of what happened next has stuck in my head ever since. I lifted the bags, and there, covering their undersides, as well as the bags beneath them, were hundreds of squirming, writhing maggots. The little beasts were everywhere, moving their cylindrical, white, half-inch long, segmented, nasty bodies around as though they were having seizures….just constantly moving…never stopping. As disgusted as I was, I couldn’t falter on my duties, so I just held the bags out as far away from me as possible and carried them down the stairs and out to the curb. I could see the maggots moving on the bags as I went, slowly creeping up toward the twisted tops where my hand was clenched. A few of them fell off as I went; nearly landing on my shoes…I had to do a little dance at times to avoid the little dropping creeps. They were like suicide divers, almost seeming to be aiming for my feet as they fell.

After three separate trips, I had finally gotten all the infested bags to the curb. When I dropped the last one there, nearly gagging from the stench, I was entirely relieved to have passed off the burden of handling the trash to the collectors who would come the next morning. Too bad for them, I thought, but they must be used to it. I then headed back around to the staircase, and proceeded up to my back porch. All was well…I had succeeded in finally getting out the trash…and now my fiancÃ?© and I could get on with our evening; after, of course, a good washing of my hands. Seconds later, all of my relief and satisfaction was brought to a horrendous, grinding halt.

As I ascended the staircase, and my eyes came within view of the surface of my back porch, the world suddenly slowed, my feet grew heavy, and a sickening pain shot through my already queasy stomach. I looked on in horror at what was now squirming and crawling all over the wood beneath where the bags had sat. It seemed like hundreds more…the maggots were everywhere. At that moment I learned something very interesting about those nasty little creatures. They don’t like to be exposed. If their cover is taken, they will do whatever is necessary to find more. So the hordes of them were squiggling around, moving toward anything on the porch that they could hide beneath. And they were fast, faster than I ever could have thought a little retarded worm could move. They wiggled their way around the porch like earthworms on speed….searching for cover…thinking….they were thinking!

Like I said before, our porch is mostly free of clutter, but one thing we do have is a rug. It’s just a door mat, really, just something on which to wipe your feet. But to the maggots, this rug was a fortified castle. Multitudes of them raced toward it, and for a moment I just stood and watched, mystified by their seemingly coordinated efforts. They reached the rug, and then amazingly wiggled their way underneath it. Just like that, hundreds of maggots vanished. The porch now looked like an abandoned wasteland; I half expected to see a tumbleweed blow by. If I had not seen the maggots crawl under the rug, I would never have known they were there. I knew what had to be done, but it took awhile for me to be able to do it. Standing there, looking down at the rug, knowing what writhed beneath it, I was thinking the maggots could have carried it off if they had wanted to, like some sort of moving shell. Finally I reached down, and by grabbing just the very tip of the edge, I slowly peeled it up. You can guess what horrors I saw. It was like an army; a massive, squirming, tangled mess, and I swear the little beasts looked up at me in mockery, daring me to take their cover, to see where they would go next. Even

as I pulled back the rug, the exposed ones crawled toward the part that was still touching the ground, trying desperately to get beneath it. Truly, I was amazed by them…but…I felt invaded by their unwanted presence, so they would certainly have to die.

I set the rug back down, giving them a kind of ‘last moment’ with their sanctuary, and opened the back door to go in to the kitchen and look for some sort of poison with which to end their lives. There wasn’t much in the way of bug killers, for we didn’t ever have any bug problems. What I found was a spray bottle of some sort of bleach infused tile cleaner, and I thought, although it wasn’t Raid, it surely would do them damage.

With weapon in hand, I returned and stepped back on to the porch. Just as before, there wasn’t a sign of the maggots, their stealth ness was unbelievable. Unfortunately for them, however, I knew of their hidden place. So I pulled up the rug, and completely flipped it over, leaving an open killing ground. The maggots were entirely vulnerable to my attack…and they knew it. They began to squirm and crawl in a frenzy, but I wasn’t about to let them get to some new hiding place. I let loose my chemical agent, spraying the cleaning fluid down upon them with the force of a torrential downpour. Their little bodies were soaked in it, but, even as I sprayed down more and more, they were not dying. If maggots have emotions, then at this point I would certainly say that they grew quite angry.

The beasts were strong! I stood up and backed away in awe. Surely they were breathing and drinking that stuff in. It wasn’t working, though, and as if that wasn’t distressing enough, my removal of their castle had forced them to once again search out the nearest cover. Well….that would be the little crevice between the floor and the bottom of my kitchen door. There is just a small incline up from the actual porch, to the piece of wood that runs beneath the door, maybe an inch, small enough for the maggots to be able to crawl up. I watched in dismay as they did just that. The army that had taken shelter beneath the rug was now darting in rows for the door. The disgusting, chemical covered worms raced up and began trying as best they could to slither into the small crack beneath it. I had a sudden realization of how serious this problem was becoming, for if they made it under the door, there would be a land of infinite hiding places inside. Something more had to be done. I had to call in reinforcements.

Throughout the events thus far, my fianc�© had no idea what perils I had faced. She had been sitting patiently in our living room, waiting to go for our walk. Sadly, her bliss of being unaware had to be shattered. But in order to get her help, I would have to open the back door. I had no choice, so at the risk of letting the creatures in, I opened it a crack and cried out for her assistance. She came to the porch, not knowing the severity of the trouble that awaited her.

“Help!” I cried to her. “I can’t stop them!”

She looked at me with skepticism, but when I pointed to the army swarming about on the porch, and at the brave intruders trying to squirm their way under the door, she quickly saw the truth in my plea. Instantly she sprang into action, tearing through the kitchen and hall closets to find some sort of bug spray, but, to her growing alarm, none could be found.

“Bleach!” She cried out a suggestion.

“I’ve been spraying this stuff already, and there is bleach in it. It doesn’t work!” She then disappeared into the kitchen, and shortly returned, bearing a very determined look in her eye. In her hands she held a large container of pure bleach.

“No,” she said sternly, “I mean this!”

Seeing the merciless look on her face, I knew she was calling for nothing less than annihilation. So I ran into the kitchen, having to jump across the army swarming at my feet, and shut the door behind me. She gave me the bleach…and we prepared for our combined assault.

“Ok,” I said, “I’m going to open the door. You keep the maggots from crawling in, and I’ll flood the porch with this.”

“Ok…I’m ready!” She said after grabbing a roll of paper towels, and preparing to squish any moving white worm that would try to make it in. We were nervous…and maybe even a little scared. This was an adversary we had never faced…and we were most definitely under attack! Our actions would have to be quick, and our minds sharp, for if the invaders got in, our entire home would be compromised.

With nerves shaking, and adrenaline flowing, I pulled open the door. Just as we had feared, the maggots charged, seeing the promised land of shadows and covered places beyond our feet. They crawled with formidable determination, coordinated in their movements, as though their brains had received a simultaneous call for advance from some leader operating among them.

I brought forth their first obstacle as I began pouring the bleach upon the hordes. The chemical flowed out in a waterfall of destruction, and very soon, nearly half the container was gone, pooled up on the porch. And swimming in it, were the still writhing maggots. Not all had been caught by the fluid, though, as some had already made it to the door, and my fiancÃ?© was kept quite busy smashing and pushing the maggots away. They wouldn’t back down, they just kept coming, and soon we noticed something very, very distressing. The bleach was not killing them. Despite being completely drowned in the half-inch deep pool that was spreading across the porch, the bodies of our enemies kept moving, squirming, twitching. We thought perhaps this was a sign of them dying, but the longer we watched, the longer they survived. Soon the pool had spread so far that its depth dwindled, and the bleach began to run off the sides, unfortunately for our neighbor below. The hordes of maggots were left on the porch, writhing in what seemed to be pain, but alive just the same. The bleach had failed, and as the maggots regained their composure, they once again began swarming toward the back door. We couldn’t believe it. They had to be drinking that stuff…so how could they have survived? They were invincible! And they were still trying to get in our home. Drastic measures had to be taken.

“You have to get to the store…quick!” I said to my fiancÃ?©. “Get whatever kind of bug killer you can find! Hurry! We haven’t much time!”

She accepted her mission, seeing the seriousness of the situation, and left quickly to the drug store down the street. I stayed behind to stand guard. After moving back inside and shutting the door, I stood at the ready with the paper towels, watching for any little beast that tried to come in under the door. They were out there, and I knew they were at that moment trying to wiggle into my kitchen. But all I could do was wait. Without the proper poison, we were defenseless, under siege from a relentless enemy. Guilt began to set in; I knew it was all my fault. If only I had remembered to set out the trash, if only I had been more responsible, then our home would not be under attack. I grew very angry at the maggots knocking at my door. How could they invade my home like this? Who did they think they were? I took comfort in knowing they would pay….as soon as she returned with the weapons we needed, the creatures would pay!

It must have only been a few minutes, but it seemed like I waited for hours…watching the door in fear. When my fiancÃ?© returned, she carried with her two different bottles of bug killer. We each took one, and readied ourselves for our new attack. I peered out the window in the door, looking down at the porch below, and as I suspected, there the maggots were, massed in a newly formed army, looking even angrier than before. My fiancÃ?© and I looked at each other, nodded, and then pulled open the porch door.

The maggots charged once more. They crawled up the short step to the door and wormed their way forward. But…like soldiers storming a secured beach, they faced a full frontal defense. We opened fire with our spray cans. The front lines were blown back, taking several casualties, but their advance was unending. It was as if they were breeding new babies right then, for their numbers were not decreasing. They kept coming. As we stood at the foot of the door, fighting back the little crawling monsters, we felt like the Riders of Rohan, defending Helm’s Deep from the scaling, fearless orcs. I even started to feel faint, being overcome by the chemical poisons rising up into the air. What if I succumbed to it, I thought, what if I passed out and fell to the floor and awoke to find myself entombed by slimy bugs? They were turning the poison against me! I would just have to outlast them….just stay focused…keep my eyes open.

Many of the maggots did indeed fall victim to the spray, but many still lived on. It began to look as though even the spray meant specifically to kill bugs such as maggots was not going to work to stop them. Despite the many deaths we inflicted, the maggots would not stop their attack. Even if we knocked them back, they returned. Even if we drenched them in spray, they persisted. Some, the strongest and fastest of them all even made it past the threshold of the door, actually getting onto the kitchen floor. We had to act fast, for as soon as they got in, they immediately raced for any corner or covered place they could find. We crushed and stomped them in a furious rage, just managing to stop the few that got in from getting any farther into the house. There was only one that made it past us, creeping its way toward a hallway attached to the kitchen. Thankfully, my fiancÃ?©’s hawk-like attention to detail led her to catch the beast in the corner of her eye. She then leapt for it, and smashed it hard into her towel. That was the last straw for her, for the maggot had nearly gotten to a place where it could have crawled its way toward our bedroom. Now it was truly a war.

She got up, went straight out onto the porch, and in a blinding frenzy, began stomping, with shoes on, of course, all over the army of maggots. She crushed a good many of them, before I managed to pull her away, and get her back inside, not wanting her shoes to become covered in bleach, bug spray, and maggot guts.

“Just keep spraying; I think its starting to work!” I said with a hint of hope.

So we continued until the cans were about empty, and finally, after what had now been close to an hour, the advancing hordes had been stopped. The battleground left upon the porch was not pretty. It was a slew of pooled chemicals and soaked, twitching bodies of hundreds of dying maggots. We watched in awe of their resilience. Even then, after being sprayed with kitchen cleaner, drowned in bleach, and covered in a poisonous chemical attack, the maggots still moved. They were done, though. Their movements looked to be only involuntary, like spasming muscles. We had won. With cans of spray still in our hands, sweat and bleach dripping off our fingers, and heavy breath accompanying pounding hearts, we still could smile. We looked at each other and grinned in victory. This was our home, and no filthy little trash-loving maggots were ever going to conquer it.

Amazingly, the next day, some of the maggots were still alive, drunk with poison and unable to move except to slightly twitch, but alive nonetheless. I never knew how hard it would be to kill something so small and gross, but now I do, and now I know the importance of never missing a trash day in the heat of summer. I will forever have a unique hatred of the babies of flies, and I’ll never forget how close they came to breaching my home. Yet I must admit, having to fight them off was not what upset me the most about that evening. No, it was the fact that after everything, my fiancÃ?© and I were not in any condition to go for a walk. The maggots had actually ruined our nightly stroll. Instead of enjoying the summer breeze, we spent the rest of the night sitting tiredly on our couch, reflecting upon our perilous battle, forced to sip wine until our nerves, as well as our fears, were finally calmed.

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