Fleas On My Pillow

It was one scary Monday morning for me; the sight of red dots scattered on my pillow sent me rolling over to the other side of my bed. With eyes still fixed on the dark red stains I hurriedly got on my feet, took several steps back so gentle I could hear the air through my nostrils as I breathed. My pet dog Linda, a Bearded Collie, was nowhere in sight. I share my bed with Linda on the weekends.

My back against the wall I checked my head for cuts and bruises hoping that I find one because I was beginning to feel creepy. A cut will somehow justify the presence of blood on my pillow. Then I heard a loud crash - and the sound of glass shattering into pieces.

I looked down and saw, its frame broken, the surrealist painting given to me by my girlfriend. I may have poked it with my elbow while I was scanning my head for cuts. I looked at my stained pillow and the shards of glass on the floor. In my mind I imagined myself blindfolded and begging for my life while my girlfriend waves a baseball bat and furiously screaming German profanities at me.

I knelt beside the bits of glass in exhaustion when I saw reddish-brown critters crawling out of the busted artwork. There were about twenty of them, I took a closer look and I remember cursing before I finally blurted out, "Fleas!"

Fact:
  • Fleas are small insects (1/6 to 1/8-inch(1.5 to 3.3 mm) long) of the Order Siphonaptera.

  • They are external parasites living off the blood of birds and mammals.

  • Fleas are descendants of the Scorpionfly family Boriedae.

  • There are about 2,250 species of fleas.

  • Female fleas can lay 300 to 500 eggs in her lifetime.

  • Fleas are associated with rodents.

I called Linda almost shouting; she came in running all the way from the kitchen happy to see me already out of bed. I brushed over her fur. No fleas.

Fact:

  • Fleas have laterally compressed bodies, allowing easy movement through the hairs or feathers on their host's body.

  • Their flattened bodies have spines that are aimed backwards which enable them to move rapidly through their host's hair or fur.

When I glanced back at the blood-stained pillow it looked more crumpled than when I last looked at it. It actually seemed like a tablet of stone. The next thing I knew, I was already on my bed. Left hand holding one side of the pillow, my head cautiously slanted backwards, I slowly lifted the pillow. No fleas.

Fact:

  • Fleas have long legs, the hind pair well adapted for jumping (vertically up to 7 inches and horizontally up to 13 inches).

  • Their horizontal jump is around 200 times their own body length.

  • Fleas are the best jumper out of all animals.

Linda joined me on the bed. On the headboard I saw what seemed like a trail of dark-brown marks in single file, all dots stationary except one. I looked closer, the dark brown dots were dried blood. My eyes followed the moving one. Again I let out an expletive or two. I saw the biggest flea I've ever seen with blood oozing out of its abdomen determinedly trudging along. I must have crushed it with my head while I was tossing and turning. Gross!

Fact:

  • Fleas have tube-like mouthparts adapted to feeding on the blood of its host.

  • Fleas have piercing-sucking mouthparts designed like a siphon. Fleas are carriers of various diseases such as the bubonic plague and murine typhus.

Obviously, the flea had one big feast the whole night, with me and my Linda on the main menu. Using my fingers I immediately squeezed the pot-bellied tick while cursing.

Fact:

  • Fleas have tough bodies that can withstand great pressure, squeezing between fingers will not kill them.

  • Crushing them between fingernails or burning them with a match or lighter might help.

I ran to the mirror to check for bite marks. There were none on my face, then I took my shirt off. Boy! My chest and abdomen were riddled with what appeared to be kiss marks. Hah! How I wish! Only then did I realize they were sort of itchy. I muttered a slew of cusswords so much that I hardly noticed my girlfriend already knocking loudly at my door. Her painting! I was damned.

Fact:

Fleas are immune to profanity.