I’m stalking The Beast with an all-consuming focus that’s almost manic in its intensity. The Beast is a disgusting, vile creature, and I’m merciless in my quest for its death. An outside observer would doubtlessly question my sanity, and a miniscule part of my mind concurs that I may very well have lost a touch of my grip on reality as I hover motionless, still as the vacuum of space that yawns beneath my precarious perch. The Beast eyes me, warily. It knows I’m there. It knows that I deign for its demise, and it waits, ever so cautiously for my next move.
We’re in a standoff, The Beast and I. We’ve gone several rounds already, and the score is Beast 6, Rick 0. It’s an embarrassing tally, and I’m ashamed to admit that I’m losing in such horrendous fashion. This is how Eli Manning felt every time he faced Tom Brady, and it’s not a good feeling. The Beast has a mottled gray body sprouting six legs and bulbous eyes, and I can see my reflection in those hideous eyes as it waits just out of my reach. As if to mock me, it rubs two of its legs together, defying gravity, hanging from the side of a sheer and smooth cliff by some magical means. I have no such magical ability. I perch on the impugnable edge of the rickety ladder knowing that a sudden sharp move will mean serious injury or worse. The Beast seems to know this too, and it waits for me to make my play. It knows it has all the time it needs, that I’m the one who desires its demise. It has no such ill intent for me.
There’s motion below me. My dog, Malibu, walks by. She’s aware of The Beast, of course. She’s ferocious in normal circumstances, but eerily ignorant of the danger the disgusting beast poses right now. It’s as if The Beast has cast a spell over her with the same wicked sorcery that allows it to grasp nothingness without even using all of its legs. Malibu walks on. She has her own beasts to chase and harass. We are normally on the same page, but not today. I call her beasts chipmunks, and I care as much about her beasts as she does about mine.
I’m like Walter White in my mania with The Beast. This vile thing is a major contaminant, and, although I don’t have the sanctity of an illicit lab to protect, this beast is screwing with the venerability of my very sanity. It must die, and I must be its vanquisher.
It moves suddenly, away from me, and, much like Malibu who waits patiently at the bottom of a tree for her own beast before jumping far too soon, allowing it to escape into the upper branches, I react toward mine. I swing my weapon with all my might, the flimsy, plastic bludgeoner making a mighty “thwack” on the window where The Beast stands with such sorcery. It can fly, of course, and it does so now, nonchalant, unhurried, seemingly and painfully aware that I’ve now dropped the ineffectual weapon in my effort to grab frantically at the ladder, the force of my stalwart swat throwing off my balance and nearly causing me to fall to the hard ground below. The Beast disappears, and I hang my head in shame. The score is now Beast 7, Rick 0, but I’m undeterred. I shall vanquish this evil, disgusting foe. With shaky legs, I descend the ladder and retrieve my weapon.
Back on the hunt I go.