Karl Boyd, Author & Storyteller


To Kill Or Not To Kill; That Is The Question.

From the bathroom I hear a terrifying scream, followed by my wife’s urgent pleading, “Karl, come here, I need you!”

She sounds frightened.

As I walk quickly through the bathroom door, I know the following:

  1. The lights are on.
  2. There is no one else in the house besides the two of us.
  3. There are no broken pipes spewing water.
  4. There is no drain monster about to eat her.

What can the problem be?

My wife, Carol, is seated on “the throne” otherwise known as the commode. My mind is relieved of another worry. She did not fall in.

Her pants are down around her ankles. On her lap she holds a book of crossword puzzles our daughter gave her for Christmas. In her right hand she holds a number two pencil. There appears to be nothing to disturb her daily “constitution” and puzzle time.

Again, what can the problem be?

With her pencil, she points to the floor near the bathtub and cries out, “Kill him before he gets me!”

My eyes follow the direction in which she points.

Who is “he” and why should I kill him? When would he “get her?

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And when he did manage to “get her; what would he do with her? Almost forty-nine years ago, I was lucky enough to “get her” and I’m still wondering what to do with her.

I’m joking of course. I love my wife dearly, but as the old saying goes:

“These are the times that try men’s souls.” (Or is it which?) At least it’s another time to try mine. I still don’t know what she is talking about.

I am still dumbfounded by her apparent fright, and incredulously, I ask, “Who is he? And where is he?”

“There!” she shouts; “Next to the tub! Can’t you see him?”

No, I can’t. Then, adjusting my bifocals, I notice a very, tiny, itsy bitsy bug. He is no bigger than a period at the end of a sentence. Although she appears to be petrified, how can this ferocious beast be causing harm to my dear wife?

Taking her pencil from her hand and pointing to the small speck on the second tile from the end of the bathtub, I ask, “Is this what you’re talking about?”

Whatever it is, it appears frightened of my pencil. Well it should be. I am a famous hunter from the west - the west side of Rockport.

Her voice trembling; my wife replies, “Yes. Kill it, please.”

She appears close to what I call a “tizzy fit”; so I decide to kill this “monster” before it can attack her and do serious damage to her fragile body.

Nothing will stand in the way of me protecting my mate. My ancestors harken back to the days of the cavemen. We are masters at wielding clubs and dragging women by their hair. A small bug doesn’t stand a chance with me.

Standing upright, I poise my bare big toe over the bug. I am a half an inch from stepping on the creature and rendering it into a speck of dust when something stops me.

I pull back my toe (and my entire foot for that matter) from the ferocious beast. Attempting to further study my adversary; I kneel down and then lie down on the cold bathroom floor.

Good Lord, I can’t see him anymore. Where did he go? If he approaches my wife before I slay him, she may resort to the Kung Fu she learned so many years ago in Hawaii. The creature wouldn’t stand a chance against her board-breaking hands.

Oh, there he is. He moved at least one half a tile closer to my loved one. My eye at floor level; I carefully move nearer. Even close up, he is still a speck of dust to be blown away in a light breeze. From where I lie, he poses no danger to anyone; least of all my dear wife.

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I think of this bug:

Look at him. So small; I can barely see him with my naked eye. I think of the size of his mouth, nose, ears, etc. If there is a God, and I like to believe there is; certainly this bug is also made in His image. He has a brain, a heart, a digestive system and yes; a reproductive organ. The size of any of these is beyond my comprehension.

He must eat, but what does he slay to consume? Surely he doesn’t need to kill an unprotected woman, 65 years old, sitting alone on a commode at 8:30 in the morning.

He also must defecate. If so, where is his small potty chair? Does he have a small book of bug crossword puzzles nearby?

I realize my imagination is running wild. Carol is pulling up her pants. If this monster gets any closer to her; she is prepared to stand on the lid of the commode or climb even higher.

My wife is a Christian woman. She attends church faithfully. How can my God fearing wife ask me to kill one of His creations?

It startles me to think of the many flies, mosquitoes and other flying or crawling insects I’ve killed at the request of my mate, or of my own volition. What of all those bugs we crush daily with the windshields of our vehicles? I know the front of my car is pocked with the residue of these poor creatures.

Their deaths could possibly, and I repeat, possibly, be written off as true acts of God. But, God did not create the automobile. Henry J. Ford and his ilk did. Do these inventors receive a black mark in their individual books Saint Peter keeps for every creature killed or maimed by an auto? It boggles my mind.

“Just a minute,” I tell my wife. “I need to put my shoes on.”

“Can’t you just kill it with your bare toe?” she asks.

Carol now has her pants buttoned and is contemplating making a run for safety or climbing higher.

I imagine she will opt for the latter. Should she make a break for it; she would pass within several inches of this beast. She will never attempt it.

I am right.

As I move to the bedroom to find my shoes and put them on, my wife climbs onto the bathroom countertop, where she sits with her legs crossed under her.

At the sight of the approaching danger, she trembles with fright.

I calmly tie my shoe laces. When I am done, I re-enter the bathroom and fetch a Kleenex from the box on the countertop. I try not to disturb the emotional blob of jelly which used to be my wife. With fear in her eyes and a tremble in her throat; she watches my every move.

I carefully find the live speck she calls a bug and slide the Kleenex under it. With no fear, it grabs hold of the Kleenex with feet so small I wonder how they exist. He or she now has a firm grip on the tissue.

Slowly, so I won’t disturb the bug’s precarious position, or my wife’s similar perch; I retreat backward out the bathroom door. Behind me, I hear a large sign of relief.

When I give Carol the “all clear sign”; I imagine she will climb down from her lofty height.

With the monster riding on the tissue lying across my outstretched hand, I slowly make my way to the front entrance. Before I open the door, I pause once more to insure my monster remains in the center of the tissue.

After opening the door, I step through into the sunlight and walk onto the lawn where I lay the tissue on the grass.

As if it knows my intentions, the small speck moves onto a blade of grass and is lost forever from my sight.

I return to the bathroom to set my wife free. I am victorious! Man has triumphed over beast once more. In their far off burial grounds, my cavemen ancestors are proud of their warrior descendant.

A creature of God is free to roam. My lovely wife is happy. I am a hero and not a killer. God must be pleased.

Could you find a happier ending to this story?

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Short Story Collection

True Competitor
Ballad of Billy Bob & Bubba
Grandmother & the Wicked Witch
To Kill or Not to Kill; That is The Question
Frank's New Boat
My Island in the Sun
George and the "Thunderbolt"
Honesty is the Best Policy!


Award Winner for
"The Nearly Perfect Plan"


Member of the Military Writers Society of America

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