The Revenge of the Gretorogomus Greeble

Posted by on Jul 14, 2019 in Blog, Double Cousins, Home Is Where The Story Starts |

The Revenge of the Gretorogomus Greeble

This morning I was stung by two wasps, four times. It reminded me of a very real incident in my life which I fictionalized into this story several years ago. The names of the innocent were changed, as were those of the guilty.



  The Revenge of the Gretorogomus Greeble

It was my own fault, I guess.  Mom had told me a couple thousand times to put shoes on before I went outside.  She told me all of the bad things that could happen if I didn’t.  Things like stubbing my toe or cutting my foot on a rock or glass.  I remember lots of things my mother told me before she died, but I sure don’t remember her mentioning the Gretorogomus Greeble.

But, despite the warnings I like to go outside without my shoes.  I like being able to wiggle my toes.  I like the cool grass under my feet.  I even like walking on rocks.  Well, maybe not early in the spring but soon my feet “toughen up”.

This afternoon dad had gone visiting.  He is a minister so he does that a lot.  My older sister Cathy, who is twelve, was put in charge.  Ha!  If my dad only knew.

Cathy was mad at me which happens almost every day.  She thinks she can boss me around.  It’s always something, but today she insisted Dad had said we had to do the dishes. That was the last thing on my agenda.  I was going to enjoy the warm spring weather.

“He didn’t tell me to do them.”  I slammed the back door.

“Lori Alyssa McKenzie, you get back in here,” she screamed.  “He said WE were supposed to clean up the kitchen. I always get stuck with the work.”

“So don’t do it.” I yelled back.

I meandered across the yard, the new green grass tickling my feet.  It had rained again the night before and my dad had said, “This is the wettest late spring we have had in years.”  I believe him.  Being ten, I remember a bunch of springs, but none this green.

Well, one minute I was thinking on the green, green world around me and the next my foot was on fire.  Not exactly literally.  There weren’t any flames or anything, but there should have been.  I howled in anger and pain, hopped a couple of steps, then plopped down to see what was wrong.  I saw what looked like a splinter, surrounded by a great welt raising right up in what my health teacher called the ball of my foot.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The pain got worse.  I screamed louder.

“Cathy, help me!”  The back door banged open and my sister stood there with a dripping dish rag and glared at me. “My foot’s on fire!”

I have to admit, the crowd gathered pretty fast.  My little brother, Kent, seven neighbor kids, plus Cathy hovered around; peering anxiously, but rather excitedly, at my foot.

“Something attacked me!”

“I heard that there are poisonous bugs around this year,” Cathy said, hands on her hips.

Everyone’s eyes widened, their faces paled.  I stopped screaming.

“Poisonous bugs,” I whimpered.  “What kind?”

“Oh,” Cathy said, in her best teacher voice.  “I read about them in a book.  They bite people on the foot and the person almost always dies.  They’re called ‘Gretorogomus Greebles'”.

My heart stopped, well, at least for part of a second, and then I howled.  “Dies!  I don’t want to die.”

“Well, not everyone dies.” Cathy patted me on the shoulder. “I believe that about ten percent of the people bitten by the Gretorogomus Greeble live, but they usually have to have the foot, or whatever it bites cut off.”

Trying to ignore this last bit of information I clutched my foot to my chest, just in case anyone got any ideas.  “What does it look like?”

“It’s black with green spots,” Cathy said.

“Oh, I saw one of those,” Susan, our neighbor shook her head, a gleam in her eye. “It had buggy brown eyes with antenna things above them.”

“Yep that’s them,” Cathy said.  “They are about one inch long and if you look close you can see the stinger go in and out of its mouth.”

“My arm is getting stiff, I panted.  All eyes shifted from my foot to my arm.  My hand tucked itself up to my chest.

“That means the poison from the Gretorogomus Greeble is spreading,” Cathy said. A quick gasp arose from the small crowd.

“No,” I wailed.  “I don’t want to die.”  I heard sniffles all round me. “You’re in charge here.” I glared at my sister. “Go call 911. Or are you just going to let me die because I wouldn’t help with the dishes?”

“Call 911?”  Now I saw real fear in my sister and she began to chew on the inside of her mouth.

At that moment, I spotted my dad standing at the back door. “What’s going on out there? Anything fun?”

“I don’t want to die!”  I wailed louder.  Suddenly, Cathy stood up and rocked from one foot to another, like she does when she knows she is in trouble.  She was still chewing on her cheek.  “Cathy says I’ve been stung by a Gretorogomus Greeble.  She says I’m going to die!”

As my dad approached, the crowd parted, like the Red Sea in the Bible.  “A Gretorogolous Grooble, you saI looked into his face but he didn’t look worried enough.  You would think he would be a little concerned about his middle child dying right before his eyes.  But no, he looked like he was trying hard to look worried, but was about to laugh. Gently, he held my foot and looked at the bottom of it.  “Wow, it is swollen, isn’t it?”

My arm jerked, reminding me of the spreading poison. “My arm,” I gasped, my breath coming in short, quick little puffs.

My dad sat back on his heels.  He looked at my sister still holding the dish rag, nervously twisting it while she rocked from foot to foot.  “Cathy, you go in the house and get the Windex and a baggie with several ice cubes and bring them to me.   And bring a paper lunch bag,” he called after her.

Your arm is stiff because you are breathing too fast.  It is called hyperventilating.  Breathe slower.”  Leaning over he whispered in my ear, “it’s just a bee sting, you’ll be fine.”

He turned to the onlookers.  “Why don’t you all go home now and look up Gretorogomus Greeble in the encyclopedia, or on the internet.  See what you find out.”  Like soldiers on a mission, they all took off.

The back door slammed as Cathy tore across the yard.  My dad pulled out the little black thing that looked like a splinter.  He called it a stinger.  Then he sprayed the spot with Windex. “The ammonia will help neutralize the poison and take away the sting.” He put the ice bag on my foot, then handed me the lunch sack. “Hold it tightly over your nose and mouth. Then breathe in and out, in and out.  Slowly,” he added.

“Now Cathy, where did you hear about this Gretor whatever grobble?”

“Gretorogomus Greeble,” I said between slow, steady breaths, the words muffled by the sack.

“I read about it in a book.”  Cathy stuck her chin out.  “It said they come out in very wet years.”

Dad just looked at her, not saying anything.  “And it has been a wet year,” she said, her voice trailing off.

“OK,” he said.  “I want you to go get on the internet, Cathy, and find out all you can about this Gretorogomus Greeble.  Then I want you to see the book where you found the information.”

“But, I can’t remember which book it was.”

I rolled my eyes.  Now I was getting the picture.  There’s no such thing as a Gretorogomus Greeble, I had fallen for one of her big stories again. Boy, she’s going to be in trouble this time.  I giggled.

Dad pulled the paper sack away from my face.  “You seem okay now. The swelling is going down a little.  Let’s go in the house and put some Benadryl stick on it.”

He looked at Cathy. “While you research the Gretorogomus Grubble…”

“Greeble,” I interrupted.

“Whatever. After you research that, look up the Apis Mellifera.  I think that is the culprit.”

“Can I watch a video?” I struggled to my feet, holding on to my dad.

“Not now,” dad said.  “While Cathy does her research, you and I are going to finish the dishes.”

As I dried the dishes, I realized something. I should have remembered the other thing Mom warned me about; getting stung by bees when I went barefoot.  I also should have helped Cathy with the dishes.  I looked at my dad as he washed dishes. How did he know?