Thursday, July 23, 2009

Official, from the source, they were created...

Today I found conclusive eye witness reports and confessions that bed bugs were created by the citizens of New Jersey and unleashed on New York in an effort to get back at them for constantly scoffing "Garden State? Heh... more like parking lot!"

The source. James, a man I saw sleeping on the bench outside of the path train:

At first I simply thought of James as a man without a home... what we in New York call homeless. But then it occurred to me: there are many reasons a man may sleep outside the conforts of his home, and bed bugs was one of them. So I approached him.

"Do you have a quarter?" asked James.

"I have a query."

"That's not a quarter."

"Are you not at your house because of bed bugs?"

"Excuse me?"

"Have you fled your domicile due to a bed bug infestation?"

James laughed at this... scoffed actually.

"Yeah, I'm not at home because of bed bugs."

"And do you know where they came from?"

"HA! Yeah... I invented them... I invented them so that I could spread them around all over the country to places like... where do you live?"

"The Upper West Side [a lie but I could not reveal my identity. I've seen movies like Indiana Jones]."

"Yeah, so I could put them in your apartment in the upper west side."

It was so simple. So so simple. Jersey, jealous from their common perception as a disgusting parking lot got back the only way they knew how... poison and organic warfare. This time with bugs. The pieces all fit in the puzzle.

"Is that so?" I asked.

"Yeah, now you got a quarter?"

I didn't. But I had an answer. And I could go home and rest soundly knowing that my journey was not for naught.

Except it has been really hard to sleep ever since those bugs got there... even though they're gone I can't stop thinking about them. Ech. Gross.

My first interview...

I looked around the local convenience store at the chips and bread lining the aisles. I figured here was just as good a place as any, so I approached the cashier.

"So... bed bugs are gross, huh?"

The cashier stared at me. "Excuse me?" he said.

Ah, he was playing coy. Getting this info out of him was going to be tough... a game of cat and mouse.

"I said bed bugs... gross right?"

"Yes, I guess so."

He was beginning to sweat, but something told me it wasn't the 90 degree heat and the broken air conditioner... it was regret, remorse, a hidden answer.

"Yeah, real gross... what do you know of them? See them around Jersey?"

"Okay, sir, I'm going to have to ask you to give me those doritos... there's a line."

"So you haven't seen them around Jersey?"

"Well, not in my house but I know that they exist."

Got him. As everyone knows bed bugs are fictional to people who haven't heard of them... just a figment of a nursery rhyme.

"Where do they exist?"

"That'll be $.99 sir."

"Answer my question..."

"Sir, I'm going to have to ask you to leave."

"I need to see some!"

"George, can you escort this man out? And take back the Doritos..."

"You don't find it strange that the shape of New Jersey looks REMARKABLY SIMILAR TO A BED BUG!"

It didn't really:

...but I had to get him to break. And that must have done it.

"You are crazy sir, George, throw him out."

George did precisely that... but he smelled of gross and of bugs... which wasn't helping Jersey's case.

They say that the craziest man is the one who's closest to God. And my God is truth. So maybe I am crazy... and just on the verge to discovering the truth of these foul creatures.

The Red Herring - Preliminary Research

As I am a proper journalist, before I went abroad I did some anthropological research:

According to Wikipedia there are three epicenters responsible for the re-emergence of bed bugs: poultry centers in Texas, Arkansas and Delaware. They claim that the bugs then came to New York city because of the vast amount of tourists coming on a day to day basis.

After considering these claims I thought long and hard about their validity, ultimately deciding that these states are red herrings, and could never match up with my theory, nor my evidence to support and prove my theory. Evidence: Bed bugs are gross and so is New Jersey.

Sure Texas is big, but they're very American. Arkansas seems the prime place for bugs to outright take over, but I've heard it's beautiful and Delaware is the first state of the union. I'd expect something cuter to come out of there. Ladybugs perhaps.

No, it had to be Jersey. Bed bugs suck blood from their hosts, much like the Garden State sucks the life blood of it's mother country. Bed bugs normally only come out at night... I'd say the same for any jackass coming out of Hoboken. Finally, Bed bugs are seemingly immortal. I've never been able to kill a Jersey jock... even with DDT.

With these thoughts in mind (and written down in my handy notebook) I began my long trek to the PATH train, and to the center of the bed bug threat.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

It begins with a bug and a word...

Many people think bed bugs are fictional creatures of nursery rhymes... simply imaginary bugs that you "don't let bite when you are sleeping tight." This, however entertaining of a rhyme it might be, could not be further from the truth.

My interest in these disgusting creatures began a month ago with the smallest thing imaginable: a bug. I had discovered I had bed bugs in my apartment here in Chelsea, New York. As my land lord explained this to me I scoffed at him, "Do I look like a child? Bed Bugs don't exist... except in the minds of children after their parents tuck them in!"

Let me explain to you right now that the constant itching and worry that you're being eaten alive pales into comparison to the complete and utter shock you feel when you discover that bed bugs are more than a nursery rhyme. I shall no longer be surprised if I meet a giant egg man named Humpty Dumpty. But I digress.

As the natural field reporter that I am, my interest was immediately perked: where did these fascinatingly gross and imaginary creatures come from? And better yet, who am I allowed to blame for giving them to me... and my search began with a word. Bed bugs are gross, so is New Jersey. It doesn't take a rocket scientist, nor an experienced journalist such as myself, to realize the correlation.

To find the source and the culprit I immediately traveled to the grossest and most imaginary state there is: New Jersey.