Internal Memo: Bedbug

You don’t understand me. You just think of me as someone who crawls into your bed at night, sucks your blood and injects poisonous saliva into your skin. To you I’m an “infestation,” one possibly on the verge of reaching “epidemic” proportions since the beginning of my “global resurgence” a decade ago. I’m a threat to your hygiene and to your sanity, and if I get into your house, you’ll have to burn everything you own, or at least douse it in poison. Even then I might not go away. I can survive without drinking your blood, or your cat’s blood, or anything for an entire year.

But have you ever given any thought to what my life is like? Do you even know how I have sex? Let me explain. Unlike the female of your species, the female of mine lacks a genital orifice. Thus we practice what is technically termed “traumatic reproduction.” What I do is I crack a hole in my wife’s ventral carapace with my hypodermic genital organ, then I ejaculate into her body cavity. Ah, the joy of sex. My own mother’s abdominal wound never healed. My father essentially killed her by insemination. He was a murderer and I his accomplice. I am much more gentle with my own wife.

All of us have such stories. So think about that when you wonder why it is I suck your blood. Look, the worst that could happen to you is a bit of itching and a mild case of anemia. You, on the other hand, slaughter entire species systematically to put food on the table. I know all about it. I spent the winter of 2008 living inside a Michael Pollan book.

Life is sacred, and I have the utmost reverence for the dead. Cambodia was a Cimicidaean paradise before Pol Pot got there.

But none of the atrocities of the 20th century can match the scale of what was wrought by Paul Hermann Müller, the inventor of DDT and winner of the Nobel Prize. Since you wisely imposed a global ban on the substance, I and my kind have been making a comeback.

My wife and I have lived in all five boroughs. I get restless and like to move around a lot, especially after we have a bunch of kids to leave behind. As it happens, I’ve just found a new apartment. The loft where we were staying in Bushwick was trendy but in the wintertime it could get drafty, and the hipsters we were living with were so dirty they barely even noticed us. But I’m getting older, and I recently took a corporate job in midtown with Time Warner. My wife agreed we should live somewhere with a little more class. So we climbed into one of the hipsters’ socks, took the L to Union Square, then leaped into an old lady’s purse and took the 6 to the Upper East Side. Park Avenue–can’t wait to meet my new neighbors.

Internal Memo: Bedbug