Armyworm Wars...

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
Summer had arrived and school would be out for two months. It was my favourite time of year. Nothing, in my mind, could compare to the shiny yellow sun, that if you looked straight into gave you headaches, and the occasional winds that blew through the trees and pulled our lawn furniture with it into the muddied bottom of the lake...

Submitted: May 12, 2009

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Submitted: May 12, 2009

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Summer had arrived and school would be out for two months. It was my favourite time of year. Nothing, in my mind, could compare to the shiny yellow sun, that if you looked straight into gave you headaches, and the occasional winds that blew through the trees and pulled our lawn furniture with it into the muddied bottom of the lake. That year my brother, sister and I spent less time playing on the ground and in the water and spent most time fearlessly pedalling our bikes up and down the bumpy curving hills of our road. The armyworms were bad that year.

They’d jump off the trees and into my dark, spindly hair. My sister and I would scream, our matching brown eyes would become as big as moons and we’d pedal faster all the while our little brother would yell “slow down!” or “wait up!
The trees were almost stripped bare of their leaves. The bark looked raven black from the hundreds of worms moving up the tree all at once, frantically trying to be the first to reach the last few green disks that were left dangling on the branches. They’d climb fence posts and when one looked at them it seemed as if the post had sprouted legs and was moving along the road as fast as it could go. That was the illusion.
We tried many things to rid our town of them. We’d pick them up with sticks, since all of us were too disgusted to use our fingers, and pile them one by one on top of a red ant hill. I had taken notice one day how the ants liked to bite the worm in his fuzzy, bluish green flesh and rip his body apart as they pushed, shoved and pulled him into their little hole. We hated them so much we were never bothered to crouch down and get our suntanned faces as close to the hill as possible and watch the torture.
After that became boring my brother and I decided to see how the fish thought they tasted. We’d gotten used to the feeling of their bodies squishing between our fingers so we proceeded to spike the hook through the head and out the side. After endless casts a fish finally went after the bait. I was able to pull up a big northern out of the water and it splashed smelly fish water on my brother and I when we tried to pull the hook from its mouth.
Since we couldn’t fish all the time we devised another plan to poison as many armyworms as we could. A mixture of vinegar, Windex and sunlight dish soap was all we could formulate since grandma reminded us not to hurt the trees with chemicals. My sister poured the potion into spray bottles and we were off. After about twenty or thirty pumps the worms would begin falling on top of the ones beneath them and eventually died there. It stunk like rotting fish guts for weeks afterwards.
Nearing the end of the summer the worm troops hadn’t gone down in numbers but they were beginning to diminish from the trees, roads and anything else they could possible crawl on. The cocoons were upon us.
They held themselves in hideous, white, spider web-like cocoons in crevices, corners, in between rocks and the ground, and basically everything else as well. They were quick witted and had managed to survive some of our toughest ploys to wipe them out but we’d devised another genius idea. The three of us marched out to find long branches. After cutting a branch off a dead tree with scissors we’d use the limb to poke at any cocoon we found. Then we would collect them up in a huge pile and burn it. Sometimes you could hear the explosion of their bodies inside the silky coffins. They thought they could outsmart us but they were wrong.
The next year, after a long, cold winter we forgot all about the armyworms and their wretchedness. Fewer showed up and we were convinced it had a great deal to do with our murder tactics. Things returned to normal and we found other things to do.
Even after years, and no worm outbreak, I’ll still take the time to find a big rock and plunk it right on top of any lone armyworm I spot and swish it around under my foot, just to make sure. For they’ll be back, and ready as ever to clash in the raging war between child and worm.


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