Tag Archives: pests

1967. Introduced species

(This is the sixth of seven days of Science Faction. Like most photographs of alien things the above photograph is decidedly fuzzy).

When the pair of polluxes escaped from the zoo no one minded too much. After all, they were harmless creatures. What people missed of course was being able to see them. They were the only creatures so far that the government had allowed into Planet Earth from Planet Alioth. Planet Earth was doing its bit to save species endangered throughout the Milky Way – of which there were many. There were a mere seven polluxes known to exist. When Earth was asked if they could take part in a breeding program – Earth seems to have the ideal conditions for polluxes – Earth said “Yes!” No one could deny that Earth wasn’t carrying its weight in the cosmic preservation process.

And now the pair of polluxes had escaped. Advertisements appeared everywhere, with both photographs and descriptions. They were small creatures, no bigger than an average cat. They had feathers. (Actually, they weren’t feathers, but they looked like feathers). They had a bright blue chest and the rest was shocking purple-pink. If you saw one you couldn’t mistake it. And no tail – I forgot to mention that.

Over time there were no reports of sightings. Then suddenly, there was a Pollux plague. Polluxes appeared everywhere. They had bred like flies. They were in trees, under houses, infesting drains. One of the worst problems was that they would crawl underneath a car and climb up to nest on the engine. It was believed to be the warmth that attracted them. Such a thing meant that the polluxes spread quickly where ever there was a road. Sometimes they would chew through the wiring in a vehicle.

They most definitively had to be exterminated. Earth’s government shipped seventeen breeding pairs back to Planet Alioth. Earth had done its bit for the environment. Now was the time to get out the traps and shotguns and poison. The whole world joined in on the extermination process – except for three or four mad people who thought the polluxes were cute.

No matter how hard they tried, the polluxes could not be wiped out. They ate the same as many Earth creatures. Dozens of species became extinct when it came to competition with the pollux.

It was a salient lesson. But… too little too late. Not even the introduction of Burmese pythons throughout the world could rid the environment of polluxes. But the pythons tended to take over every environment. They could breed like billy-O, and in fact did, with a guaranteed diet of ever-multiplying polluxes. Now there were two world pests: polluxes and pythons.

922. Pests for pets

922flies

Being the solo mother of three boys kept Robin busy. Two of the boys were at school, but young Calvin was only four. Thank goodness! the house might be old, but it was paid for. The house had a number of antiquated features, such as a meat safe which these days with refrigerators was not needed. And it had an old deep bath tub that never got used because there was a shower.

Young Calvin was an enthusiast. He loved everything, especially spiders and bugs. Only this morning he was running around in the kitchen with a jar and lid trying to catch fruit flies that seemed to swarm where there was food. He caught a few fruit flies in an hour.

“Pets!” said Calvin. “I’m getting them for pets.”

Robin wasn’t an overly fussy mother but she liked to correct English when it mattered.

“You’re not collecting them FOR pets, dear,” said Robin. “You’re collecting them AS pets.”

Little did Robin realize; the fruit flies were FOR pets. Calvin was keeping and feeding his collection of daddy-long-legs in the bath.