Well, twentysome hours after the bite, it’s subsided to only hurting when I move my hand, jar my hand, or think about touching my hand. No swelling, and other than a tiny crease, you can barely see where the bite was. So it could be a lot worse. Still, it’s rather extraordinary how persistent it is–whang my hand, and it’s a bolt of pain almost as intense as the first ten minutes of being bitten. There is a brief sense of the top of your head coming off. I’m not sure if centipedes use their poison primarily as defense against predators or to subdue their prey, but I tell ya, if I was a predator, I’d think twice about any and all wiggly mouthfuls in the future.

It also confirms my secret belief that despite brains so rudimentary they can hardly be called brains, and presumably a total lack of anything resembling emotional centers, that centipedes are spiteful little muthas.

I mean, a bee sting goes away in fifteen, twenty minutes, an hour tops. A miserable hour, I grant you, but an hour, by which time the bee is long dead. Even the insectile graduates from the William Shatner School of Acting have gasped out their last words by the time it stops hurting, but it still stops pretty quickly in the scheme of things. The bee has gotten you away from the hive, and that was all it wanted. There is no real malice in bees.

But not the centipede. No. The centipede wants you to be miserable for DAYS afterward. It wants you to reach carelessly for a cup of tea and grimace as the handle smacks your palm. Somewhere in a pot on the deck, the centipede is chittering with wicked delight, and I must assume, rubbing every leg together, Mr. Burn’s style.


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