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Thursday, Sept. 04, 2003 - 10:56 a.m.

Usually I avoid Bill the Bug Man at all costs. He's very sweet, but he does go on...and on. He always calls the night before he comes, leaving me the same message: "Haaa [that's South Carolinian for 'Hi']. This is Beeeel the Bug Man. I'll be in your area tomorrow."

So I always know I'll have to be out of the house by about 10 AM, but sometimes it doesn't happen. Once, when I was home working on my thesis, I was so desperate not to be distracted by a 20-minute conversation that I ran outside while he was in the apartment next door, jumped in my car barefoot and in pajamas, and drove around the block until he left.

If I'm not here when he comes by, Bill the Bug Man leaves me a note on a paper towel. Invariably it says "Thanks. Bill The, Bug Man" The comma is always after 'the'. Only once, near Christmas, did he write something different: "Ho Ho Ho Bill The, Bug Man". I keep a collection of these paper towels magneted to my fridge. I'm sure that's why he keeps leaving them.

Today when the knock came, I knew I couldn't avoid him. He really is a wonderful man, if highly I steeled myself and opened the door.

"Hit me a high note!"

"Oh, Bill, it's kind of early for that."

"You always say that. Hit me a low note instead?"


"Oh, what you got all these guitars laying around for if you're not gonna sing for me? Anyway, you wanna help me out with my rattlesnake farm?"


"Yep, I've been raising those baby rattlesnakes right next door. Wouldn't be surprised if one of em crawled right under this door you got here. You like rattlesnakes?"


"You know that guy downstairs, the magician? Watch out for im."


"He's got that trick where he pulls a rabbit out of a hat, you know? Well, sometimes the trick goes wrong and he pulls out a rattlesnake instead."

"I'll watch out for that."

"Hey, you like rabbit? Let's cook us up a rabbit."


"Where's your kitty?"

" over there."

[In high-pitched, Owen Meany-like screech] "KITTY! KIIIIIIITTY KITTY! Come here, kitty!"

[Ronnie dashes under couch]

"She must not like me very much. I tell you what, I got a kitty at home, she won't leave me alone. She eats rattlesnakes."


"Well now, baaa baaa." [South Carolinian for 'bye bye']

"Good bye, Bill. Thanks."

And there you have Bill the Bug Man, though in truncated form.

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