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Issue 13 – Christ the King 2022

Nunc Dimittis

Domestic Tragicomedy

On bed bugs.

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Two hundred thirty-two is the number of bites my girlfriend and I counted on her body as we applied two tubes of hydrocortisone cream to her skin. The bites appeared one morning, as if by magic, after she slept in the bed of her roommate. This roommate was not allergic to—or even aware of—the perhaps dozens of bed bugs with whom she shared her bed each night. 

There’s something almost supernatural about bed bugs, and any place one is found may as well be enchanted. These are after all creatures that appear only after dark and feed off blood and demand special powders and traps for you to rid yourself of them. The air of an infested room becomes stuffy, somehow thickened by the little parasites crawling through its walls. When bed bugs are in your home, they also seem to be everywhere else—lint on a colleague’s shoulder, pencil shavings on a desk—just until a second glance.


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About the author

Caleb Whitmer