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Bees have always been problematic. I don’t care for them. At all. I have never been stung and I do not intend to change that sterling track record now.

The thing is, in order to get the best food back home, it’s vital to be there in August. Everyone know this. Including the bees and the wasps. I can’t tell the difference between them, however, I have a soft spot for bees, what with their ability to pollinate and thus provide me with the nice foods I enjoy eating. So things that are nice are bees, and things that are not nice or look weird or aggressive or scary are wasps.

One wasp in particular was bent on plaguing me as I attempted to save my liver and kidneys from more strong medication.

There is a very good chance that some kind of fungus has taken up residence on my left foot. The toenails have all gone a bit funny. I tried athlete’s foot cream, which did nothing. As it provided no results, I gave up on it. Much to the Mom’s dismay. She’s keen on sticking with a treatment, especially if it’s Western and based on strong pharmaceuticals. And the boasts on the tube of cream we’d got last year were inspiring. The number one foot cream in North America! Not only cures but prevents!

“This is what you want,” The Mom had said to me in the drug store. She was so excited, she bought me two tubes. “Just in case,” she’d said.

So when she got a look at my toes this summer, she was not pleased.

“You didn’t use the cream.”

“I don’t think it’s helping.”

“It won’t help if you don’t use it.”

“I concede that, but I think it’s futile to continue rubbing an ineffective cream on my foot.”

“I think your foot is quickly becoming ineffective and futile in its own right,” The Mom said.

So, when I was at the clinic to see about my eye-boil I learned a few things. The first was that the eye-boil could also be skin cancer, which had not occurred to me, but was certainly an interesting way for things to go. The second was that having a weird fungus move in on one’s foot cannot be diagnosed by sight alone. It would require blood work and possibly other things. The medication was expensive and would in all likelihood kill me.

I’m fairly certain that The Mom thought I was exaggerating that the doctor had said the foot meds would kill me, but she was used to me, and was, I think, waiting for the moment when I would invariably change my mind and take the deathly foot-changing meds.

But I like to keep her on her toes. After days of bemoaning The Other Two’s affection for all things hippie, it would not be expected that I take up a natural home remedy. So that’s exactly what I did. Apple Cider Vinegar. That’s what Tinternet said.

I told The Mom what needed to be done, and partly because she thought it would be funny in some way, she rushed right out and got me a large bottle of vinegar. She arrived home and proudly poured me a bowl.

I was outside, with Mrs. Beeton. We were working on attracting a nuthatch. It was going well.

The Mom brought me the bowl and I put my foot in and we all looked at it for a few minutes, waiting, possibly, to see if the foot would just do the decent thing and fall off, giving us an easier and more interesting problem to attend to. It did not. The Mom lost interest. She went inside.

Mrs. Beeton and I went back to watching the birds in the tree. A strong wind was blowing. The wasps must’ve caught wind of the stench. Because a huge big angry ugly black and white wasp came out of nowhere and started buzzing around.

I shrieked. The Mom questioned my shrieking. I explained the situation. The Mom’s only suggestion was that I move inside. When I did, the wasp disappeared, lulling me into the idea that I could go back outside. I did, and about five minutes after I’d got settled, he came back. More shrieks. Much flapping of hands.

It got to the point that I decided I didn’t need my foot much anyway. And gave up on the treatment. I thought the wasp would give up on me and Mrs. Beeton. He did not. So he got custody of the deck. Mrs. Beeton started practising her stink eye on me as she loathes being inside. And my foot became a home for pickled foot fungus.