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The Goddess of battle, strife, and destruction explains it all for you


Aug 2, 2005


Allow me to introduce my dear friend Geoff.


I first met Geoff when I rented a house on Cecil Street in Toronto and advertised for 3 roommates. Three guys answered: Geoff and his friends Terry and Les- we were all about 20 at the time and I remember that year as being one of the best in my life.


At the time, Geoff was a slacker extraordinaire (think Jeff Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemount High). During his youth, he was the laziest person I'd ever met - and for me to abdicate that particular honour should tell you something.


Terry was a Japanese bodybuilder (who is now teaching genetics at Harvard) and the largest person I've ever laid eyes on. Not fat by any means -- think Michael Clarke Duncan big - an enormous man. Put it this way: when the boys and I went to a pub, I never had to worry about anybody bothering me. On the other hand, they were so protective of my virtue that no male was permitted to come within two miles of me, which made for quite a few lonely nights stuck at home baking. I used to think that they just wanted the best for me - now I realize that they were afraid of losing their chef. Terry was particularly gratifying to cook for - he loved everything I put in front of him and I love it when people eat - and that boy could eat like nobody I'd met before or since. I'm guessing he consumed about 10,000 calories a day.


Les was an engineer from Alberta, subject to all the idiosyncrasies that Albertans and engineers are famous for. I didn't really get to know him. He was shy and reportedly thought I was cute - so he barely said two words to me, and never without blushing.


But I digress.


Geoff and I became especially close - though I didn't cop on until later that this was just to acquire easy access to my girlfriends, most of whom he wound up sleeping with. "Why send out?" he asked brazenly when I accused him of using me as procuress. "You bring them over. I don't even have to put my hand in my pocket." I got tired of seeing a procession of my girlfriends emerging from his bedroom in the mornings with giddy looks on their faces. On a related note, I was unaware that I knew so many screamers.


Back then, as now, I wasn't really much for hitting the bars or clubs, but the boys made it a point to go out on the weekends and at least once a week, we'd all go to our local together. Saturday morning would invariably find Geoff hideously hung over and playing host to a variety of women whose names he couldn't recall.


An ardent fan of nudity, Geoff made one concession to my modesty and unless he was going out somewhere special, he had one outfit that he wore constantly. It was a ratty, brown terrycloth bathrobe that featured a length of blue rope as a belt. No shoes, no underwear, no socks - just the bathrobe.


The house was a large old Victorian house - I had the front bedroom and Geoff had the one beside mine, with Terry and Les residing in bedrooms in the back. I would guess that the place was at least a century old, with all the peculiarities that old houses have, including an enormous hornets' nest stuck to the side of the house.


I'd been bugging the landlord for weeks to remove it. It was an active hive -- the biggest I'd ever seen. It was at least 3 metres across by about 5 metres and home to thousands of hornets. I'd been doing some research on how to get rid of it but so far the landlord had been unresponsive. In fact, the week before, I'd obtained a pamphlet from a pest control service on the topic. According to the literature:


Hornets are far more difficult and dangerous to control than paper wasps. The nests resemble a large, inverted teardrop shaped ball, which typically is attached to a tree, bush or side of a building. Hornet nests may contain thousands of wasps which are extremely aggressive when disturbed. The nests are often located out of reach and removal is best accomplished by a professional pest control firm. A full wasp suit sealed at the wrists, ankles and collar is recommended when disposing of a hornet nest. Treatment can be accomplished by applying a wasp freeze-type, aerosol insecticide or dust formulation (Sevin, or Ficam,) directly into the nest opening. Hornet nests have a single opening, usually toward the bottom, where the wasps enter and exit. It is essential that the paper envelope of the nest not be broken open during treatment or the irritated wasps will scatter in all directions, causing even greater problems.


Following treatment, wait at least a day before removing the nest to ensure that all of the wasps are killed. If hornets continue to be observed, the application may need to be repeated. Experienced pest control operators will sometimes remove a hornet nest which is attached to a branch by slipping a plastic garbage bag over the intact nest and clipping it at the point of attachment. This technique should not be attempted by anyone else and should only be done at night with a wasp suit.


The nest was located near the roof at the side of the house between my bedroom and Geoff's and I remember we had to be very careful about keeping doors and windows screened or we'd be infested. We'd each been stung at least once by this time and it was obviously a real safety hazard.


One Saturday morning after the boys had been out, somebody threw a rock at the thing, which obviously irritated the hell out of the hornets. They got agitated and several gained entrance through a hole in Geoff's screen, making for a very unpleasant awakening and bringing on the premature beginning of his hangover.


I was already awake and in the kitchen making coffee. Geoff came tearing out of his room in his bathrobe, cursing up a storm and raced through the place in search of a weapon. He snatched the broom from the kitchen (for the first time, I might add) and went out into the backyard, where he grabbed a ladder and dragged it around to the side of the house. He made enough noise to wake Les and Terry, who staggered out of their respective bedrooms to see what was up.


"Geoff," I said, following him. "It's 7:30. What are you doing up at this hour?"


"I'm going to get rid of that bloody nest," he snarled.


"Uh, Geoff, I don't think that's such a great idea" I said. "Let's call the landlord. He can hire somebody who knows what they're doing to take it away."


"Fuck that. I've had it," he said.


Les and Terry, always up for a laugh, were egging him on from the safety of the house.


"Go for it, man. You can take the damn thing down it you hit it right at the top where it's attached to the eavestrough" said Les.


"Yeah, go for it. But I bet you ten bucks it'll take you at least two swings" Terry added.


"Geoff, at least come in and put some clothes on," I pleaded, praying that logic might work - though perhaps I should have realized that attempting to reason with a man famous for putting a skunk in a headlock was a futile exercise.


"You're going to get hurt." I gave it once last try. "Geoff, there might be thousands of hornets in there - let's wait for the landlord."


"Screw that - we could be waiting forever for that bastard. No way -- I'm going to deal with this now."


Geoff steadied the ladder and grimly climbed up with the broom tucked under his arm. We were watching from my bay window and had an unimpeded view.


He wound up as far as he could without losing his balance and gave the hive an almighty smack.


For a moment, there was silence. Then the enraged hornets gathered in a thick cloud and circled Geoff's head like an enormous black halo.


He screamed -just the once - and would likely have continued to scream had not the breath been knocked out of him when he fell off the ladder. He landed awkwardly and tried to stagger away from the swarm, which clung to him like a malevolent shadow.


I was horrified and grabbed my phone to call an ambulance. Terry and Les, however, were writhing helplessly on the floor, laughing so hard that they were both gasping and teary eyed.


Geoff's desperate flailing had loosened the tie of his bathrobe (and to my horror, it soon became plain why my girlfriends called him Bullwinkle). It flapped open, exposing his tender flesh to the rage of the hornets.


"ARRRGGGGGGG!!!!!", he howled. "They're in my armpits!"


"Run for it, man!" urged Terry and Geoff took to his heels. We watched as he sprinted down the street, mostly naked and being hotly pursued by a cloud of furious insects. He only eluded them, he reported, by ducking into the corner store and pulling the door shut behind himself. He stood there, shivering and delirious, while the store's owner cursed him out in Cantonese.


He staggered home about an hour later, flesh blooming with stings in locations so intimate that I knew my friends would be safe from his attentions for the foreseeable future.


And this was one of the less bizarre of his exploits. Next time I'll tell you about his adventures in arson.


Till next time,




Copyright© the Morrigan & Heartless Bitches International ( 2004
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