Authors have a hundred excuses to avoid writing. They are the same ones everyone uses to avoid doing anything. I have one that is unique, but it’s not an excuse… it’s a valid reason: springtails. It was a mystery for quite a while and still is. I guess that’s fitting, given that I write… well, you know.
Aside from the professionals I have talked to, only one of my friends had ever heard of them, my fishing buddy, Tom. Carol and I had never heard of them, and we certainly wish we still hadn’t.
The fifth Spencer story was rolling along nicely back in the spring. It’s all plotted in my head. I was writing at least an hour a day and had about 20 percent of the book done. Spencer is hired by a Chicago crime figure who has been arrested for murder. That creates a moral dilemma—does he want to work for someone he would rather see in jail? Then, back in May, Carol saw a speck of dirt on the white wall in the basement. When she went to wipe it off, it moved. And things got worse… much worse, from there.
So it moved… big deal. Everyone kills bugs. She didn’t think anything of it until she saw a few more. The odd thing was when she went to smush them, they hopped, like fleas. She told me about them and I shrugged and said, “They’re just bugs, they come in the windows.” When she called me to come and look at the bugs she was seeing in the bathtub upstairs, I got concerned. She pointed out that they looked like the same bug in the basement. There aren’t any windows in the bathroom. The mystery was afoot.
It was time to identify the little basta… uh, bugs. I caught one on a piece of tape before it hopped and put it under the microscope. I didn’t like what I saw. I imagine you are agreeing. The bug in the picture is a little larger, but most are about the size of a pencil dot. The mystery didn’t seem too difficult to solve. They must be coming up the drain. We treated the drain and they kept coming. Every day we would find a few in the tub and more in the basement. Pretty soon we were finding them in every sink and tub, and on walls and window sills in every room in the house and some closets. [Read more…]