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                       The Bug Blaster

                         by Don Urbanus

    Don’s feeble old hands fumbled with the Bug-Blaster™. After sixty years in the nursery business, Don wondered if it was worth trying to keep up with the new ways of doing things. He punched some numbers into the side of the round gadget and then attached a picture of a grasshopper onto a stake. The Bug-Blaster hummed to life and shot out of Don’s hand. It hovered in the air, rotating, searching for an insect, concluded there were none and went into the rest mode.

     “You ding-dong stupid blind piece of worthless junk!” Don wheezed. He grunted in disgust and grabbed the Bug-Blaster. Again numbers were punched and again the blaster malfunctioned. Finally the blaster managed to identify the grasshopper but its laser blast was so weak that it didn’t even scorch the paper. Don gritted his teeth and turned the laser up to maximum strength. This time the Bug-Blaster zipped out of his hand and efficiently blew a hole right through the paper grasshopper.

     “Yes! I knew I could do it! Just takes someone with a little smarts," Don said, pleased with himself. His smile slowly faded as he saw the blaster sputter and fall to the floor. ‘I’m sorry,’ said a soothing voice from the blaster, ‘You have exceeded the safety parameters of this unit. Please contact your local Bug-Blaster™ representative to have this unit reactivated.’

     “You no good %#**#%*! son of a ……”, Don stuttered. He kicked the blaster and it rolled under a floating chair. “I hate the nursery business. I hate the…….”.                                          

     Don paused in mid-sentence and slowly sat down. His eyes glazed over and his mind drifted away back to a simpler time. Suddenly he sat up straight and glanced furtively around the room. Quietly he crept over to his old desk and reached underneath for a hidden key. He chuckled softly and rubbed the worn key between his fingers. Down to the basement he stole. In the corner was a small plywood cabinet. He patted the cabinet nostalgically. Good old plywood. Now everything was poly resin somethingorother. Don blew the dust off the rusty lock and stuck the key in. The lock sprang open. He grabbed an illuminator and slowly opened the door.

     For a long while he just knelt on the floor and sighed. One by one he took the crusty contents and set them on top of the cabinet. Sevin, Diazonon, Malathion, Roundup, Orthene. All the good stuff. He snickered and reached for the bottle of Sevin. There would be some dead grasshoppers tonight........


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