Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Termites 101

Taiwan is home to many fascinating creatures, including varmits, cockspites and betel nut girls. In the summer months residents are treated to a 'touch and learn' lesson in the life cycle of the termite. These fascinating creatures spontaneously infest entire cities, flying in attack formation with their unique 'X-wing' silent propulsion system. They are adept at flying into mouths, ears and nostrils, and can build nests in human hair.


Two foreigners arrive home to find their living room is a tornado of flying termites. The smart one retreats to his computer room while his friend runs to buy an electric bug zapper in the shape of a tennis racket. He forgets to buy batteries and hides in his room. After ten minutes, the nervous men peer into the living room to find the flying bugs have vanished. "Perhaps they are migrating south," suggests one. The other stares in horror at the floor. "My god," he says, "it's full of wings!" The termites have shed their wings and are crawling around the floor like maggots. One of the men begins stamping on the villains; the other turns pale and sweats cold sweat. "They're... they're evolving," he mutters.

The more proactive of the two heads to the kitchen. He makes a noise that sounds like a distended hippo on heat. "UUueehhheehHHhnnnn," he gags. "Look!" The other man reluctantly approaches the kitchen. The floor, doors and surfaces are crawling with termite maggots. Five or six cockroaches are running round eating them. The foreigners have never seen cockroaches eat before, and it is not something they will forget. "We got to kill the termites," says one. "What about the cockroaches?" whines the other. "The enemy of our enemy is our friend," comes the reply. "They're on our side this time." He begins sweeping the termites into a central mound. The mound, completed, is a heaving mass of pale disgust.

"Here's my plan," he says. "You take the brush and keep them here in the Pile," he says as he brushes some escapees back, "while I go put my boot on and squash them all." "Uh! No! Just put them in a bucket and drown them," replies the logical coward.

When the coward isn’t looking, his so-called friend empties the bucket down the coward's en-suite toilet.

Later, after some of the corpses have floated back up, the coward discovers wings all over his bed sheets, and can't sleep because termites are somehow teleporting into his room and voyaging across his bed, including two that appear to be having sex as they go. Finally, he catches one termite in the act of sneaking in under his bedroom window. He creates a small moat of sports drink and the invasion ends.

The foreigner mentions the infestation to his landlord, who tells him  that the termites were caused by leaving empty beer cans in the living room.

One week later all signs of the termites are gone. Next year they will return, and the landlord will tell the new tenant it is his fault for not paying the gas bill on time.