Puffer Bug

The other day I had a conversation with someone about people who just take up all the space in a room and it got me stuck thinking...what would happen if someone really did take up all the space in any room they were in? It would vary depending on the size of the room of course. Small person in a car, HUGE person in an auditorium. Combine that with my love of writing beginnings to stories and there we go. I think I have written enough to let the idea go now. 🙂


The television was filling the room with sound, some soccer match that had random swells of sounds for no reason at all that Marion could discern. She was trying to read a book, the newest one from her favorite author. A story about a little girl who could manifest things simply by reading about them. She couldn’t do it by thinking or visualizing, she had to read someone else’s words and with the right intonations the items would begin appearing in the area around the little girl. She had read the first chapter twice already and knew she should just give up but she had waited for three years for a new book and just wanted to read. 

More distracting than the sound of the raucous soccer fans was a tiny buzzing that she would hear during the lulls. It sounded like the sound old televisions use to make as they got older, something to do with the tubes she thought. This buzzing was not coming from the giant flat screen television mounted so perfectly in the center of the room so as to get perfect sound when you sat perfectly in front of it,in the perfect chair of course. That’s where Chad was sitting now loudly explaining to the coaches of the soccer match in some far off country how they should be doing their job. Marion suspected that if he actually opened the doors the coaches might actually hear him. When Chad yelled you had no choice but to listen.

Marion had been trying to track down the sound for the last ten minutes by just focusing on it and pinpointing where it was coming from. It actually seemed like it was moving across the room. It started somewhere by dining room door and then moved closer to her, maybe behind the couch. Now it was growing distant again. If Chad got up to get something to drink she would make a run for the remote and mute the television long enough to track it down. Marion suspected it was a bug. Probably one of those beetles that showed up at the end of summer every year. Marion didn’t mind bugs generally speaking, everything has it’s space in the world, but she really preferred her bugs outside. She would find it and do a little home relocation for it.

As she was deep in thought about dolphins, bats and echolocation trying to remember exactly how it worked and wondering if she could do it. She seemed to remember reading a story about a man who had taught himself a form of echolocation and now taught it to others who had visual impairments suddenly her husbands yelling took a dramatic turn. He yelled out “what the hell” and lept like the worlds oldest ninja into the middle of the living room floor while frantically slapping the back of his neck. Marions powers of deduction, honed by decades of reading every English book with an elderly woman detective in it suspected that the buzzing sound had made it to her husbands chair and had attempted it’s own home relocation on the back of his neck.

Marion carefully put her book on the table and asked Chad if he was okay.  “No, I am not okay! Something bit me! I think it’s still on me.” Marion stood up and checked Chads neck and the back of his shirt but could find anything. She brushed his shoulders, and his arms and the back of his shirt just in case it was a very small bug. She could already see a red welt popping up just below the hairline of the back of Chads head. It was a pretty good size. The beetle was no longer looking at a helpful trip to his new home but had mostly likely just been sentenced to a swift and merciful squishing. Biting beetles got no mercy once they crossed the threshold into the house.

There was a momentary lull in both Chads audible aggravations and the soccer announcers and Marion heard the buzzing. It was close. Very close. She looked down and right next to her foot was a very large bug. It was not a beetle. Honestly she wasn’t sure what it was. It looked like a cross between an ant and a fly except it was an impossible bright yellow color. Like someone shrunk a canary down to miniature and turned it into an ant hybrid. Suddenly a giant foot came down on the top of the bug, apparently Chad was not in the mood for mercy either. Not it was just a big brown  and yellow mess on the floor. Marion grabbed some paper towels and cleaned up the gore while Chad tried to see his neck in the hallway mirror.

“Better put some neosporin or something on it honey. It looks terrible”

Chad nodded and grabbed some from the medicine cabinet. “Would you put it on for me? I can’t quite see it and I want to make sure it’s completely covered.”

Marion covered the bite with the off-brand antibiotic cream and cringed. It really did look quite painful. It was an angry red with a tiny white dot in the  middle and was growing rapidly. “Does it hurt much?” she asked her husband. He gave her a sad look and nodded and then went back to his chair, after fully inspecting for any additional bug, and resumed watching the soccer game, while Marion started reading chapter 1 again.

The next morning Marion’s husband went to work as normal and Marion did her Monday things, as normal. She spent some time in the afternoon on the computer trying to find a match for the bug she had seen. She couldn’t find one that looked quite right or lived in their area. She started searching for just yellow bug under images and thought she had found it when she landed on the Puffer Bug, but apparently the puffer bug only lived in South America and could not survive for more than a few minutes in temperatures under 65F.  Since they were in the middle of a Midwest winter she felt safe in saying it was not a puffer bug no matter how similar they looked.

She had never heard of a puffer bug so of course she had to read about it, there was a reason she was so successful at game shows from the comfort of her living room. You never know, maybe some collector of rare bugs had imported it and then a theif had stolen it and the theif had broken into their house and dropped it. Marion smiled to herself. She had never been accused of not having an imagination. Also according to the article if a thief had deposted a puffer bug in their living room they would have made a nice bit of cash if they had caught and sold it. Puffer bugs were considered possibly extinct because no one had seen one in years. They use to be harvested by a South American tribe for some sort of manhood ritual and said tribe was pretty pissed that they couldn’t find anymore!

When Chad got home from work the first thing Marion asked him was how his neck was feeling. He said he couldn’t even feel the bite anymore.Marion looked and sure enough you could barely see where it had been. Mostly it was just a little white dot now. She spread a little more antibiotic cream on it just to be safe and then didn’t think about it again. Life went back to normal, or as normal as their lives had ever been.


Marion wandered the grocery store trying to think of new ideas for lunches and dinners. It seemed  as the outdoors started warming up both she and Chad started bulking up, even Marions largest pants were starting to feel a little snug. It was time for them to get healthier. Dinner would be lean fish and steamed vegetables for her, and broiled chicken with vegetables for Chad, he didn’t eat fish.


Well it was time to shut the house back up and turn on the Air Conditioner. Marion loved living someplace that had all the temperatures but she certainly appreciated the a/c once the temperature outside got in the 90’s. Fresh air was wonderful but so was not leaving puddles of sweat on every chair. Chad was home this week and it was nice having the change of pace, they would always find something to do out of the house. Quick runs to the home improvement store for flowers or trips their favorite lunch restaurant in a neighboring city. She loved having the change in routine when Chad was home but something had changed. He had gained so much weight since last winter that it seemed sometimes there wasn’t enough room for her in the house anymore.

She didn’t care about his size, but she thought that it might be getting to a point that she needed to say something. Chad didn’t think there was a problem. He said he weighed himself every morning and he weighed exactly the same as he did six months ago, and he was still wearing the same clothes, but it was as if he shrunk down every night and then started growing during the day. He would leave for work in the morning looking perfectly normal, spend all day in his little cubicle and then come home and it was as if he took a breath in and just, well, just expanded. As the night went on he just kept getting bigger. By the time they went to bed it seemed like his clothing was going to explode off of him and Marion swore he was taking up three-quarters of the bed now.

But then morning came, and he looked so much smaller again. Maybe he was just retaining water?

This week with Chad home had been particularly trying. Every time he came in a room it seemed like he took up more and more space. Mary had started avoided being in the kitchen or dining room with him because she felt absolutely suffocated. It was difficult to move around. But it seemed the more time he spent in the living room, the larger he got. He didn’t even sit in his recliner anymore, he had moved to the couch. The whole couch. He moved the television of course so the sound was still perfectly balanced. She was kind of looking forward to him going back to work so she could have some space to walk.



5 thoughts on “Puffer Bug

    1. Well thank you so much! I got distracted by the thought of story about a person who manifested things she read on this one. I may roll that idea around for awhile.
      I did figure out how this one should end though! That’s a big step up for me, but I probably still won’t type it

      1. Ok, I like your comment, but I don’t like the last 6 words. You can write so the reader can picture the scene perfectly. Without overdoing the details. That takes talent, you have it. I’d buy your book. Signed of course. 🙂

  1. Nooooo! WHERE IS THE ENDING????

    Lol, got sucked into the story, was happily reading along, and then BAM! Full stop!


    Nice writing!

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