The sun just began to rise as the pest control laborer awoke. He went in the bathroom, brushed his teeth and stared into his hollow, circular eyes. They were small beady little eyes that couldn’t help but give off scorn towards everything in their line of sight. He rinsed out his mouth then traipsed to his kitchen. All he could find were left overs. They weren’t even his but he didn’t care anymore. He ate quickly then put on his uniform. It was an ugly green jumpsuit, of a horribly uncomfortable fabric that was easy to wipe clean. On the back there was a logo from the company he worked for along with the words “You name it, we kill it.” He always hated that slogan. It made him feel like a hitman with a confession plastered on his forehead. On the front of the jump suit was a pocket and the name Ned. He grabbed his wallet and phone heading out the door but felt a sunken feeling in his stomach. He ran over to the toilet knowing what would happen and threw up. He could hardly keep anything down. Shrugging it off, he locked up his house and left.
As he was driving in his “bug mobile,” he paid less attention to the road and more to the other people whizzing past him. He watched each individual flying by in their cars, driving to their different destinations and living their different lives. The exterminator pulled up to an old house and sighed.
Ned opened the back of the van and began pulling his equipment out. It was just a fly infestation, an easy thing to take care of, so he didn’t have to lug many things to the house. After knocking on the door, a friendly middle aged lady opened it and greeted him. He forced a smile, with a twinge of pain.
“So you can see there are a few flying around the house. It started a couple weeks ago and I’ve done nothing but spend my time killing them since. Do you think you can spray something to keep them out or use a pesticide?”
“Well first, I’m going to try to find the source of the flies. From there I’ll know how to treat it.” Ned was very anxious. He made sure to not lie to the nice lady. He spoke carefully to say he’d know how to treat it, not that he could treat it. He was even more worried once he realized that it had been blowflies that infested her house. Blowflies always lead to something dead.
It didn’t take him long to find the crawl space in her basement where the flies were swarming. He was crawling through, careful to not kill any. Ned was a small guy, so it wasn’t very hard for him to maneuver himself through tight spaces. He actually felt more at ease in them. The world didn’t feel so big. He didn’t feel so threatened.
Once Ned finally felt okay, he looked down and nearly threw up. He didn’t know what he expected to find but this was the worst possible outcome. He couldn’t take his eyes off of it and watched his tear fall onto the carcass. Ned felt pain consume every inch of his body to the point that he couldn’t move. He couldn’t turn away. He couldn’t close his eyes. He was paralyzed with sorrow. The distraught exterminator had lost track of time once he was finally able to move his lips.
“I’m sorry, brother.” His voice resonated in a trembling whisper, but in the almost empty crawl space it nearly echoed. “A life has been taken, and I will not disturb it in its rest. I have too much respect for you.” Another tear fell. he sat there in silence, absorbing the enormity of the lifeless body before him. He not once thought how it got there, or how it died. He just felt its pain.
Ned didn’t know how much time had passed when he heard the faint sound of the nice lady calling for him. He turned around and scurried out of the space to speak with her.
“Did you find anything?”
“Yes, it seems that the blowflies are here because they were attracted by something in your crawl space.”
“Attracted to something? What was it? Can you remove it?”
“It was a substantially larger insect, Ma’am.”
“Oh, you can remove, it can’t you?” the woman was both concerned and confused. He had been in there so long; she didn’t understand why he still hasn’t taken it out.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t.”
“Why? You work for a pest control company, go take it out like I paid you to.”
“I just can’t bring myself to do it, I’m sorry.” He grabbed his supplies and started to walk out. The lady was now very irritated. As she rushed to open the door for him, her antenna hit him in the eye. She didn’t apologize and told him to leave.
“You should be fired. You can’t even do your job” she yelled as he hurried to his car. He ignored her, knowing she was right. But still, the exterminator drove on, knowing that the one thing he’d never kill was his morals.
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