The Mud Dauber

29 May


I saw a big long hornet flying around the electrical conduit for the floodlights. Big as a murder hornet. Saw that it had built a mud nest where the conduit runs into the wall. So I took a broomstick and knocked half the nest off. I wrote about it on Twitter. Someone told me it was a mud dauber.

If you google mud dauber the first hit is an exterminator’s web site. And they tell you this is a harmless insect. It kills other pests. Exhibits interesting behaviors. I fucked up a mud dauber that worked hard to built a nest off mud I made watering the garden. The mud dauber kills black widows. Actually it captures black widows and paralyzes them with its sting, which it never uses on people, and encysts them in hexagonal clay cells to feed its young. The most common mud dauber makes cells that look like the pipes of an organ.

Mine did not do this. The nest just looked like a big wad of mud. Still, it was obviously an effort. The mud dauber carried tiny balls of clay dirt in its jaws over and over for days to glom on to this nest. Just like me. Working hard. I destroyed the dauber’s work and so in retribution my works will be destroyed. I destroyed the dauber’s home and what- I don’t own a home. I destroyed the dauber’s family and- what. I won’t have a family. The mud dauber has cursed me in retribution. She came home and crawled frantically over the smashed nest antennas flailing. It was that damn Delicious Tacos, thought the mud dauber. I can’t believe this. I set up shop free to remove black widows from his home. I will summon black widows to gnaw his balls, to hurt his cat.

I’ll chew his books and make a paste and jumble the words so the stories are stupid. I’ll sting his eyes. The nest did not contain babies but an empty cocoon. Her brood had already hatched. I’ll keep making mud watering the squash and the mud dauber will come back. Or another mud dauber will come. Please. I’m sorry.

Even the exterminator site says: don’t harm the mud dauber. The mud dauber is a fascinating creature. A friend. Woebetide unto thee who striketh the mud dauber, least of my creatures. I’ll wear the mud dauber around my neck. Buttonhole some guy outside a wedding and go on and on with this fucking story. I’m sorry. I thought it was a murder hornet. The mud daubers will riot. Burn down Target and Auto Zone.

I feel bad about breaking the mud dauber’s nest. Please, if you can hear me: rebuild. But she’s moved on. They always do.

5 Responses to “The Mud Dauber”

  1. Compaq Deskpro May 30, 2020 at 8:43 am #

    Your writing about animals is entertaining, and not in a depressing or self deprecating kind of way. What happened to your fish tank? Do you still have it?

    I have a 38 gallon tank that’s been running for about 1.5 years now. I got 3 pearl gourami, one big 5″ dominant male with beautiful threaded fins, and 2 4″ females who follow him around and annoy him. I got 8 black skirt tetras, and anywhere from 15-30 guppies, many have been born and many have died. I also have a 5 gallon tank with a single female koi betta. They all have very different personalities.

    I started with 2 young pearl gouramis from Petco. They were cheerful and got along well, but their health was poor, and they both died within several days. My second set from a local fish store seemed to hold up better, I got my small female, and my bigger male, but he didn’t have the threaded tail yet, so I had no idea who he was who at the time. I also got 3 guppies, one pearlescent male, and two plain grey females. These first few months were stressful, as at first the female would bully the bigger male, especially during and after eating, but later this would switch up and the male would get more relentless than her. Throughout the tank’s life, the female’s side was the left, and the male’s side was the right, and the male enforced this with an iron fist. Sometimes he would creep through the left side like a shark and the female would lean away from him scared. Sometimes they would get in tumbling fights.

    So about 2 months in I took a risk: I added a third pearl gourami. This one was juvenile, less than 2″, it turned out to be a female but I didn’t know then. As soon as I put him in, big male stares her down..and then lets her go over to the right and hide behind a plant. Big male enforced this, he would separately chase original female back to the left and newbie female back behind the plant to the right. Sometime big male would want to be a douche, but now he’s faced with 2 gouramis instead of one. Baby female would bristled under the iron fist rule and find paths through the plants so she could come and go. A few weeks of this and things hit a boiling point. Big male was aggressively putting the other two back in their place, insisted they take left and right, he takes middle, face forward, nobody better move. This fish was livid despite having no facial expressions. Then he snaps and has a rolling tumbling “fistfight” with the female inside the tree decoration.

    After this happens, the three slowly started getting along. I was excited to see all 3 hanging out in the right top corner in formation sleeping late in the evening. This change continued as the baby female grew, and ended being 1 inch bigger than other female. Shortly after his attitude changed, he started growing the tail threads, and getting the orange throat, as if he had to mentally mature before his body could look the part.

    Not smooth sailing yet, the fish were still very jumpy, pretty much scared of me unless they are being distracted by food. It got bad enough where they would shoot across the tank and hit the walls and splash when someone would walk by, and I know the easygoing females were being influenced by him. So I took him out and put in a little plastic container like a time-out box over night. Not happy about it, he played dead then stood back up again when I started getting worried. He rediscovered the tank and his mates and things have been good since then. They run up to the glass when I get close, they know me as the food guy. squabbles are day-to-day, they (begrudgingly) stay in a shoal, and they are complex, moody, but endlessly fascinating creatures.

    That’s more than enough, I haven’t even gotten to the frantically procreating guppies and vicious micro-piranha tetras yet, or the snail that appeared out of nowhere.

    • Anonymous June 7, 2020 at 3:20 pm #

      An amusing thought “as if he had to mentally mature before his body could look the part”.

      Best wishes for a harmonious fish tank going forward.

    • Anonymous June 7, 2020 at 11:06 pm #

      Who gives a flying fuck about your fish.

      • Anonymous June 10, 2020 at 6:31 pm #

        Your mum eats fish dicks.

        I saw her down at Hollywood Fish Farm recently, fondling the fish. When she reached in they’d try and wiggle away from her in that spastic, panicky fish flail that they do when startled but your mum was too quick for them. It was clear she had a lot of practice.

        Your mum was lifting the fish straight out of their aquariums, holding them by the tail above her and tonguing their little assholes and penii. I don’t know how she knew the male from female but she did.

        She was trying to masturbate with a fried fish stick the whole time too. The fish stick quickly turned to mash and half of it broke off inside of her slick oily cunt. She’d pick up the bits of mash that fell out and just jam them back into her, all the while still molesting the fish with her other hand.

        I asked her what the fuck she was doing. She told me verbatim “I do this because my son is such a pathetic loser”. I said to her that she was sick and needed help.

        Anyway, your mum says hi.

  2. Leondegrance May 31, 2020 at 7:09 am #

    Never sure what to think
    when the comment is as long or longer than the article.

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