July 30, 2007
West Nile Kills, and
My Client Wants You Dead
“Look at this, D.F.
Look at this!”
The client was not
happy. He was showing me the newspaper. There was the bad news. Plain as
day for anyone to see.
“West Nile Cases
Down Dramatically” read the headline.
This was a problem.
“How am I supposed
to get my contract renewed?” said the client.
Hmmmmm. Is there a
way out of here?
That’s what I was thinking.
Here is what the
client does: He sprays stuff into sewers. Why? I thought you would want
to know that. Mosquitoes live in there. The stuff the client sprays
kills the mosquitoes, kills their larvae and supposedly makes everyone’s
summer barbecues less itchy.
That is all well and
good, but not many cities will pay you thousands of dollars a year to
eliminate itchiness from barbecues. Much to the frustration of the
Death, on the other
hand – that is another story. Cities don’t want their residents dying.
Who will pay the property taxes? Who will pick up the tab for the
mayor’s lease car? Cities like their residents alive, and that becomes
problematic when West Nile starts spreading.
I am not a doctor,
but I’m told that West Nile is spread by mosquito bites and can kill
you. Fewer mosquitoes, fewer West Nile cases, fewer deaths . . . lease
car running strong. The client is sure that this is what’s going through
the heads of city fathers everywhere. City mothers too.
But today was a sad
“Not a single West
Nile case all year, D.F. Not one! You know what’s going to happen, don’t
“People will live?”
“No one will care
about the mosquitoes! No one will hire me!”
I wondered if I
should remind him that people actually die from West Nile, which
might serve as a teensy weensy little hint that his yearning for a West
Nile case could be a tad untoward. I watched him stalk around the room a
“If we can just get
one case. Just one. Even if it’s just some old lady or something. That
would get attention. We could leverage that, D.F. . . .”
“Do you think we can
check emergency room logs? Do they let you do that?”
At this point, I was
beyond creeped out, and decided the meeting was over. I told the client
I had to go.
“Go? What do you
mean? We haven’t got this figured out yet!”
Oh. I had everything
“Aren’t you going to
Granted, I had to
leave the cup of coffee I’d been drinking, which was kind of a shame
seeing as how I had washed the cup myself before filling it up. It
looked like it had last been washed around 1983, so I wasn’t going to
take any chances.
actually took place three years ago. The poor fellow never got his
contract, and I imagine he is still stalking around his office ranting
about it. I also imagine that coffee cup hasn’t been cleaned again.
At any rate, I saw a
headline today announcing that West Nile is back with a vengeance. This
year’s new cases are four times the number we had last year. I actually
thought about sending him an e-mail letting him know the fantastic news.
But he’s probably already checked out the emergency room logs, just
waiting for the day when he’ll be paid to spray.
I’m glad I got away.
© 2007 North Star
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