Sleep tight, and don’t let the bedbugs bite.
Well, that’s a very good question, honey. A bedbug is a tiny little bug. They used to be a big problem, in the old days, before they invented pesticides and other ways to kill them. Then they weren’t a problem anymore.
But go to sleep, honey. You’ve got a big day tomorrow.
Okay, fine, I’ll tell you, but then you have to go to sleep, okay? Bedbugs are a problem again because people stopped using those icky pesticides that killed the bedbugs, so now they’re coming back. Hey, you know what else is coming back? The Hug Monster! Uh-oh! He got you!
You know what happens when the Hug Monster gets you, right? Yup, you fall asleep. On the count of 5: 5…4…3…
Where do they live? Well, under your bed, of course. No, bedbugs aren’t monsters. Don’t be silly. There’s no such thing as monsters under that live under your bed. But… Bedbugs are as close as monsters as we’re ever going to get. They are a silent, spreading contagion. Relentless. Horrific. Creepy.
Sorry. Sorry! Let’s not talk about this anymore. You really need to sleep. I almost forgot to plug in your nightlight! There you go.
Oh! Remember when we went to Disneyland? That was great. We saw Sebastian! Sebastian the Crab! What a great trip that was. That was also the trip where Daddy slept, curled up in a ball, on top of his suitcase. See, I had just seen an investigative report about bedbugs in hotel rooms, so I was understandably worried. But YOU have nothing to worry about. This is your room, and it’s not like some hotel room. Hotel rooms are the Typhoid Mary of bedbugs. Who is Typhoid Mary? She was…you know, I’m not exactly sure. Something about spreading typhoid. This really isn’t good to talk about before sleepytime. What were we talking about before? Right, Sebastian! He’s a good bug, right? So bugs are nothing to be afraid of. Good ol’ Sebastian. Go to sleep.
Right, Sebastian’s a crab, and I guess crabs aren’t really bugs. Daddy knew that. Daddy just forgot. He’s seen The Little Mermaid just as often as you have, okay? As I said, I’m tired. So here, I’ll have to tuck you in again. I’m not sure if that first bedtuck took.
There you go. Comfortable? Tucked in nice and tight? Okay, go to sleep, honey.
Are you asleep yet?
Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t think you’d fall asleep that fast. Well, I just wanted to let you know that bedbugs are basically unkillable. They are tiny gods of malevolence. Do you know the word invulnerable? it means you can’t kill them. Maybe fire. Maybe fire kills them. But you can freeze them, stab them, shoot them with a gun, and they’ll still be there, just waiting to suck your blood. Like some sort of combination of a vampire and a zombie.
Well, a vampire is…you know that cereal you ate at Uncle Boone’s house? Count Chocula? Well, Count Chocula is a vampire. They suck blood to survive. And a zombie is…let’s see…a zombie is… Well, you know Lucky Charms? Lucky is a zombie. You can tell from his eyes. Those are eyes that know neither pain nor fear. Lucky just keeps coming after you, never stopping, never resting, never blinking. Bedbugs are like that.
No, not that they never blink. I mean they never rest. Do they blink? I don’t know. I don’t want to know. Just think about those little piercing eyes. Staring. Red. Judging. Beady. Waiting. Evil. Go to sleep. Just go to sleep, okay? Why are we still talking about this?
What is that? That, that speck there, is that a bedbug? No, not the Lego, next to the Lego. We’ll have a talk about cleaning up your Legos later, but first, I want you to very carefully and very slowly take a look at that black speck and tell Daddy if it’s a bedbug. THE BLACK SPECK. I don’t know if it is or not, I’m asking you. I know you don’t know what a bedbug looks like, but does it look like something that could be described as a bedbug? It’s a yes or no question. I know you’re only 5, but you’re pretty smart for a 5-year-old. Fine. If you don’t know, we can only assume the worst. There’s a good possibility we’re going to have to throw out everything and find a new place to live. A clean place. A sterile place. An uninfested place. I’m okay with that, and you should be to. We don’t have a choice. That little black speck could be anything. Especially a bedbug. Probably a bedbug. We have bedbugs.
GET UP. NOW. THERE IS NO TIME TO TALK ABOUT THIS.
Of course you’re scared. I’m scared too. But you know how serious this is. Now stop crying and go to sleep in the plastic toboggan in the garage. Leave your pajamas here. When you wake up, everything you love will be wrapped in plastic and DDT.
Once you’re in the garage safe zone, close your eyes and sleep tight. Daddy loves you.