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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sean and the Stinkbug

Via Facebook, my brother Sean has just noted that he's enraged because one member of Edmonton's mosquito horde flew into his mouth. Having accidentally inhaled the odd bug from time to time, I sympathize. I wonder, though, if Sean remembers a more gruesome encounter with an insect - to wit, a stinkbug.

Our childhood home, Leaf Rapids, had plenty of insects; indeed, they swarmed without number. Aside from mosquitoes, blackflies, sandflies, chiggers and bird-sized dragonflies, Leaf Rapids was also home to at least one stinkbug, however briefly. I would think that northern Manitoba is beyond the range of stinkbugs, but it's possible the one in question hitched a ride with one of the many pickerel-fishing tourists that used to come to Leaf Rapids to enjoy the crystal-clear lakes and long summer days.

In any event, Sean and I were playing with toy cars and plastic shovels and pails in our sandy back yard. I hadn't even seen the stinkbug before Sean swept it up in his chubby toddler's hand.

"Bug!" he said.

"Uh huh," I replied. Then Sean opened his mouth. "Hey, don't - "

But before I could stop him, Sean had popped the bug into his mouth. His new teeth burst the stinkbug like a ripe six-legged grape, and the tiny beast's revenge was instant: a foul odor swam up from Sean's gaping mouth as the bug's stink glands burst open across his innocent tongue. The stench made us reel in disgust; wide-eyed with shock, Sean burst into tears and spit out the gory remains while I retreated, gagging.

Once I'd recovered my senses, I poured Sean a glass of water and helped him rinse out his mouth. His trauma was mercifully brief, and soon he was happily engaged with his cars once more.

Sean will have to decide what's worse - ingesting a mosquito or a stinkbug. I'm merely glad I don't have the experience necessary to judge.

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