Painting Red Righteousness

Max Stainton
September 29, 2019

Not by desire but by necessity, I have ascended to near mythical status as a hunter of mosquitos. The past few days have been a nightmarish torment of pestering, buzzing and biting. I tried first to ignore the problem, swatting half-heartedly when the miscreants floated through my line of sight. However, as their numbers and appetites increased, a change needed to be made. For too long I had abided by the doctrine of appeasement, reaping the consequences on my scarlet, Braille skin. It was time for war. 

I launched my first attacks with a reaching, grasping motion, hoping to crush the life from my enemies with brute strength, but they proved too elusive; only air and frustration were clasped in those first dozen offenses. They mocked me, parading around my ears with the taunting, infuriating whine of their wings. I snatched again and again, yielding similar results, growing weary. I tried to focus on my studies instead. 

Suddenly, gloriously, I drew first blood. While reading a captivating article on Paleolithic deciduous flora, I felt that all too familiar touch. Calmly, slowly then violently, I jerked my hand faceward, smashing the godless skeeter against my own forehead with a convincing smack that left me dazed but accomplished, one millimeter closer to victory. The victim’s comrades mourned with more whining flight. The next day, four more fell prey to my cruel, callous hands. I slapped, clapped, flicked, and whacked those cursed, bellicose bugs, smearing their splattered remains around my room as a warning to others. 

The gargantuan study Bible that rests on my nightstand has become my most sacred weapon. Squashing my adversaries with excessive, booming force, the Divine Warrior does not restrain His mighty hand of destruction. I strike with a clear conscious, vindicated by the knowledge that God has gifted man with the sword for a reason: to enact justice and maintain the celestial law on Earth. If the blood of leaching, barbarous infidels is required for the conservation of civility and order, then I shall let red righteousness paint the walls, floors and ceilings of this holy household. My dwelling has been set apart from the merciless travails of nature, and separate it shall remain. 

No matter how many lives are lost, they always win. Despite my best efforts, my only real avenue for success is to open my bedroom door and release the pestilent hoard upon my housemates who can share the burden of extermination. Selfish? Perhaps. But necessary. 

I don’t have much guilt subjecting my housemother and her son to this puny besiegement because they have caused this problem. They lack either the time or motivation to take their dogs and cat outside with any sort of consistency, so the terrace, whose only entrance is through my room, has become a common pet potty. Fresh mierda attracts swarms of insects: flies, spiders, and skeeters. I clean up when I can, but the dog dookie is relentless. 

The streets here are in similar condition. Domesticated animals behave wildly on the sidewalks, pissing on everything in sight. Owners generally clean up the solid deposits, but poo presents are still found far too easily. 

The real issue is not the waste of the pets but of their owners. The sewage lines run noxiously close to the roads, and lack of public restrooms has turned every park, playground, and public corner into a urinal at some point in time. This, combined with the ceaseless barrage of cigaret smoke, the trash cans that mount every corner, and a nauseating boycott on deodorant, has left the city smelling a little fresher than the outdoors of suburbia I’m used to. 

People try hard to keep their communal home clean, but sheer numbers overpower good intentions. Street sweepers come by each morning to pick up trash and fallen debris, shop owners mop in front of their stores, random citizens yell angrily at mindless tourists who accidentally put their shoes on a metro seat one time in four weeks for less than five seconds. 

Barcelona suffers from the same issue that sustains and cripples every great city: too many people. Being forced up against the doors of the metro, blocked from seeing fireworks, and nearly suffocated by the pressure of bodies at a festival has given me a new appreciation for open space. Space to run, to drive, to watch the sunset without the neighbor's roof obstructing the view. Space for people to spread out, for dogs to poop in the yard, for mosquitos to float away and to burn in Hell like they deserve.

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Max Stainton

<p>I'm a nerdy adrenaline-junkie with a guilty conscience. I love reading dusty books and practicing piano, I don't count it as an adventure unless there is a possibility of death, and I volunteer compulsively. Oh, and I'm weirdly good at foosball.</p>

2019 Fall
Home University:
Wake Forest University
Cincinnati, OH
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