Dear Human Occupants of Our Shared Home,

You may be shocked to learn that we are aware of your plans to leave our beloved family home. We say”family” because that’s what our relationship with you has become this past year, snuggled up near the nape of your neck every night. We admit, those many times you thought us asleep on the headboard, we were actually awake – listening to you scream things such as, “I want to leave this God damn place as soon as the lease was up!” Your tirades have been so loud and profane that we often have to cover the ears of our young nymphs. What gives you the right to speak around them in such a matter? How are we supposed to reconcile to them that the blood they live on is from the ones who detest their existence? Before we sling words at each other, let’s agree upon one thing: let’s discuss this like adults – for the sake of the nymphs.

You have some major concerns about living with us, which is completely understandable. But today we are coming to you as friends and are asking only one thing: please do not leave. To leave will forsake the blood oath we took with you from the second you laid your head down under this roof. It will separate the families living in your bedroom from those already living in your clothes. It may even leave us here to die, should we go a month with no food source.

Here are concessions we can offer to peacefully coexist:

We are aware, for whatever reason, that your skin seems completely unaffected by our bites. Yet,
at the same time, your partner becomes a mess of welts. The psychological torment and strain this has caused between the two of you is terrible and acknowledged. We remember those fights you had in the beginning, when you wouldn’t believe it absolutely had to be bed bugs. You finally gave in after you saw some of our more faithful brethren on their annual pilgrimage to the Holy Corner of the guest bedroom.

We are aware that every time your counterpart extends her hand to shake someone else’s, they ask “Dude what’s with your arm? Are you allergic to something?” Please know, we feel her pain. That is why we promise, from this day forward, to only feed from the person who can take it: you.

We also understand your anger at us for spreading from room to room. Forgive us. This is part of our culture; a by-product of the manifest destiny that drove our founding fathers. They dreamed of the day we would stretch from “wall to off-white wall” of your apartment. However, we know the age of imperialism is over and are willing to concede territory. We promise to stay in our native lands – your bedroom, connecting hallway, and your closet. If you wish, you may even enforce these borders with that can of Raid and mark it with that white dust you’ve been spreading about, which slices our bodies open when we walk through it. One day, though, we hope this isn’t necessary. In time, we would like to live peacefully next to each other. Perhaps one day we could even proudly say we share the longest undefended border in the entire apartment complex and you will think of us as your friendly neighbors, just north of the kitchen.

The most embarrassing issue, our blood and excrement stains on the bed…well, we know we can do better. Truthfully, some of those stains occur when you roll over at night, crushing our exoskeletons; but for the ones that are truly our excrement, we apologize. We promise to isolate those droppings to one corner of the bed, so long as we can hold it long enough to crawl there.

As for our population and our eggs, those pose one of the trickiest problems of all. We are a family – oriented insect and no “one-nymph” policy will find much success here. We are, however, willing to entertain the idea of recalling propaganda methods aimed at our young, such as reruns of “6 Months and Nesting” on our public access network (what, you didn’t know we enjoyed the arts?)

The point is, we are willing to listen. There is something in this for all of us, even you. We may keep our way of life. And for you, a slumber party every night.

Best Regards,

Barnabus the Terrible, Leader of the Bed Bugs.

Editor’s Note: Devin wants everyone to know he does NOT have bed bugs, doesn’t plan to after seeing what they’ve done to many of his friends, and if he did have them he would NOT negotiate with them.

Devin O’Neill is a Cleveland native. He enjoys makings lists of things he enjoys, separating items in a list with commas, and writing three sentence biographies on himself. Follow him on twitter @devinkoneill.

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