Two weeks ago the family and I had planned a lovely brunch with two of our close friends (who we’ll call C and G for anonymity purposes) at one of our favorite brunch spots in Berlin. Like most people, I see brunch as a time to let my hair down and leave the stresses of work and other adult responsibilities on a distant island of thought. Additionally, this was prior to my coming out of retirement (due to the global invasion of potentially extraterrestrial seeds), so my investigative skills were also safely stowed back in the recesses of my mind. Relaxation is key to life and I was going to absorb as much as I could hat day.
Per usual, I decided on a breakfast platter featuring an arrangement of meats, cheeses and and a soft boiled egg. Since many German restaurants serve overflowing baskets of bread alongside your meal, the aforementioned platter puts me in an optimal position for handcrafting “breakfast sandwiches”, my favorite food next to macaroni and cheese, tacos, stuffed crust pizza and Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Everything was going swimmingly…until it wasn’t. Just as my abnormally tense body began to relax, a wasp landed on my platter, directly on a piece of ham. It looked like a normal European wasp (Vespula vulgaris), so I decided to take my usual defensive measures when encountering such creatures and moved the fruit garnish from my plate onto the far end of the table. In the movies, this works 100% of the time and from my past experience, it has a relatively high success rate as well. However, this wasp didn’t accept my offering.
Thinking that perhaps it didn’t notice me move the fruit, I decided to make a small, sweet trail from my food to the fruit with a bit of syrup from the pancake platter of my companions’ young daughter. Still, the wasp did not budge and was soon joined by another wasp. Then another…then another.
Eventually, there were at least seven wasps buzzing around my plate, all of which were fully focused on stealing my ham. I panicked at first, but then my admittedly blunted paranormal combat instincts kicked in and I knew that my primary goal was to make sure everyone in that restaurant went fully intact with minimal emotional trauma.
I started my defensive measures by speaking to the wasps with a firm tone. One should never take for granted the benefits of resolving conflict with diplomacy. However, the wasps completely ignored me. Additionally, thinking I was weak, they appeared to signal more of their kind to the table. I decided to raise my voice at the wasps, shouting at them to get away before I escalated the situation further. Still, no effect and their numbers continued to grow. It was time to get physical, though the brute force I utilized as a former cage fighter would not suit this situation…I had to get exotic.
Over the last few years, I had been practicing creating fields of pure energy by moving my hands quickly and heating the air around them. My thought was that the wasps would eventually get uncomfortable and move on. Should they linger, the heat would melt them but could also spell disaster for the flesh on my hands. It was a sacrifice I was willing to make given the company around me and the ramifications for letting meat hungry wasps exist in this world unchecked. Yet again, despite my best efforts this did little to thwart them (not too shocking since it barely worked during the winter when my heads got chilly).
It was at this point that I began to panic a bit. Clearly I was a bit rusty and it appeared that I’d exasperated the situation. Peoples’ lives were at risk and I was fumbling around like a young man playing table tennis with his older brother’s friends for the first time. I felt like a failure as scenes of devastation flashed before my eyes.
Suddenly my good pal G, a refined man with years of experience across multiple disciplines, jumped into action with a resolution to our predicament. With a delicate yet swift motion, he laid a run of the mill paper napkin on top of the meat, dispelling the wasp feeding frenzy almost as quickly as it had begun.
I looked to G, and he looked to me, our eyes locking in a mutual sign of respect and admiration. It was at that moment that I realized that the concept of single-handedly protecting the world from all manner of supernatural and extraterrestrial threats was a lost cause. I didn’t have all the answers, nor did my skill set appropriately tackle the many obstacles my profession would put in my path. If I was going to be successful, I needed a firmer foundation and a solid crew of experts in a multitude of different fields. However, the most important thing I needed was friends…to fuel me in my quest and to lift me up when times got tough.
I’d later find out that flesh eating wasps were quite normal (thanks Frank) as they bring the meat back to their larva during brooding seasons. The reality is, not everything is a supernatural or extraterrestrial occurrence. If that was the case, I wouldn’t be able to hold a regular 9 to 5. However, any opportunity to learn ( or relearn) the importance of friendship is an experience worth more than any horror themed scenario could offer.
With that in mind, don’t think for a single minute my soft heart and the science of Frank would distract me from the potential threat of wasps evolving to different forms through the years. I’m watching you wasps, and I know you’re watching me. We’ll meet again…you decide the terms…handshakes or me punching your stingers through your buttholes.