Chad M. Christensen

Boy With Shovel: The Wasp (and the Avocado Jungle of Death)

Chad M. Christensen’s next Boy With Shovel column, “The Wasp (and the Avocado Jungle of Death),” is about a battle with an angry wasp and a B movie from the ’80s.


A huge wasp is banging itself over and over into my office window. Apparently, it’s pissed off. This might have something to do with me knocking down its nest on my front porch (unfortunate, but no regrets). We have a giant barn out back that wasps can inhabit, so, they can stay off my goddamn porch.

Post nest wrecking, I may have also swatted its ass during a complicated situation at our front door. My wife and child were attempting to leave and this wasp, for whatever reason, thought now was the time to seek revenge. It lingered in the doorway for a moment, almost questioning its decision, but then started swooping at people like a kamikaze plane.

That’s when I whacked it with a piece of cardboard (which had been sitting in our entryway for several weeks … I guess this was what it was meant for). WHOP! And away it went. I didn’t kill the wasp, but I definitely stunned it. I figured the message was delivered, but I guess not. It’s still angry—and it’s using all its lifeforce to break this window and stab me to death with its stinger— but that’s fine. Get in line, Buddy, you ain’t the first.

My only hope is that some bird will get it and complete the cycle of life, putting this arthropod in its proper place in the food chain. But I’ve never been a fan of hope. Hope has always seemed, well, hopeless. Direct action is the only way—that, or maybe acceptance. I guess there’s also the act of complete and utter disregard. So many roads, so little time.

This is why I wasted a good portion of my afternoon watching Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death. Again, no regrets. It felt like the right thing to do (under current circumstances). If I’m to be held hostage by an insect with a grudge, what better way to pass the time than to watch a half-assed B movie from the late ’80s?


If I’m to be held hostage by an insect with a grudge, what better way to pass the time than to watch a half-assed B movie from the late ’80s?


To make things worse, the movie was on Comet (the channel of old people who are too cheap to splurge for decent TV). I could have streamed it, but instead I chose to endure the commercials. Why? I do not know. Some deep-seated need to hurt myself, I suspect. It felt like eating a ginormous bag of cheap candy. And what semi-conscious adult would eat that crap unless you had some deep lonely desire to visit your dentist purely out of a desperate need for conversation and to inflict pain within the mouth?

To be honest, the movie wasn’t that bad. I actually learned a lot about myself (and Bill Maher … and the weird ’80s attitude towards feminism). I’m still processing it all, but I’m confident something good will come from that experience.

Jesus, the wasp is back. This bastard doesn’t give up! He can see me through my living-room window (in my natural horizontal state) and, apparently, he’s ready to finish this.

I gesture with my hands that I want none of this, but he only persists. I get up, slowly, and with great tactical care, I quietly make my way to the door. It is hard in the jungle. And it appears direct action is the route we have chosen together. It’ll be a struggle. Brooms and garden utensils will be used. The neighbors from across the street will look on and assume that I’m having some kind of psychotic breakdown (which will be partly true).

But as a dead writer once said, and here I’ll paraphrase, “Life is to be defined by the struggles in which we endure.” And if I’m to cultivate any poetry or art out of this goddamn situation, I’m gonna have to put this irritated wasp in the ground—because art is not cheap, my friends. Even bad art can go over budget—which is why I must turn the knob on this door.


Chad M. Christensen

Chad M. Christensen lives in the Ponca Hills north of Omaha, Nebraska, and is the managing editor of the WSC Press and the co-director of the Plains Writers Series. He stole his MFA from the University of Nebraska and teaches writing and publishing at Wayne State College. Find him stumbling on Facebook & Twitter.

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