I have a telltale red itchy spot on my ankle. It’s the first one of the season.
I know what it is.
It’s a fucking flea bite. The first of about 1000 flea bites that I will continue to get until around October. By that time my lower legs, ankles and even a small area at the front of my stomach will be red, sore, oozing and unbearably itchy.
I am highly allergic to flea bites. I have 4 cats, and 3 of them go outside. I can’t keep them indoors, and no matter how many flea baths I give them, no matter how many flea collars I put on them, no matter how much off-brand flea treatment I massage into their fur (I can’t afford Frontline or Advantage), the fleas will stay. They will lay their disgusting eggs in my cats’ fur and my own skin. They will suck our blood like little vampires. They will burrow into my rugs and crawl in and out through the weave of my bedding. No matter how much I spray, flea-bomb, vacuum, and carpet-powder my house to kill the little fuckers, they will not go away. They never do.
By the end of the summer, I will, as always, look like I have a deadly contagious skin disease. Fleas love my blood for some reason. They never go after anyone else the way they go after me. I can’t wear shorts in the summer because my legs look like raw slabs of hamburger meat. I might scare people away. They might think I’m a leper.
Why do fleas exist? What evolutionary purpose do they have? Even maggots, disgusting as they are, at least break down dead meat into its basic elements. What do fleas do? They suck blood and make everyone miserable. They have. no. purpose. at. all.
You can’t swat them like a fly either. You can’t squish them like a cockroach. They don’t die. I have picked them up and tried to squeeze them to death by rolling them between my fingers, and THEY DON’T DIE. THEY JUMP AWAY.
It’s the only thing about summer I really hate. The damn fleas.
Maybe I should start a flea circus. At least that would put them to work.