By Jim Evans
One warm rainy summers eve last year, I was treated to my first visit from a Mexican scorpion. Now I am a pretty big guy, but I broke the record for short distance withdrawal. I observed the 3+ inch long critter climbing up the side of my brand new queen size overstuffed mattress, probably on his way to hide under my black comforter.
I immediately reverted to my basic military training, I panicked, grabbed the comforter off the bed and shook it ignoring the existing threat. Luckily he dropped down the side of the mattress and tried to make a hasty get away. I was thinking if he gets away I will not be able to sleep here ever again. (On a recent road trip, my travel partner convinced me that the bugs on the ceiling were scorpions, ready to drop at any moment. I spent the night with more than one eye open.)
I managed to get control of the situation and efficiently disposed of this intruder with a combination of bug spray and muriatic acid. He finally quit moving and I figured he was probably done for. I had used half a can of bug spray and several ounces of acid. Now, not only did I have to dispose of his remains, but the floor was a mess and my sheets needed to be laundered.
I started to laugh at myself for being so silly, when I realized, “what if there are more three-inch black messengers of instant death?” I immediately stripped the bed, removed the mattresses and started on my closet. What now? Simple, the internet, of course. I entered “scorpions Mexico.” The first site indicated that not all scorpions are deadly, and being the lucky sort I knew mine was a non-deadly kind. But, then: “In Mexico there are various Centruroides species which are deadly to humans. Go calmly to the nearest hospital or clinic prepared for treatment for scorpion stings.” I didn’t want to be treated, whatever that entails, and I don’t want to go to the nearest hospital or clinic, (did I mention it is Saturday night in Manzanillo, and another fiesta is in full swing?)
I went to another site, this one much more technical and factual. “Scorpion stings are a major public health problem in many underdeveloped tropical countries” That’s reassuring. “In Mexico, 1000 deaths from scorpion stings occur every year. A Scorpion has a flattened elongated body and can easily hide in cracks.” Good news, “Out of 1500 scorpion species, 50 are dangerous to humans.”
I decided that maybe a Corona would help while I made plans to find alternate shelter and asked a neighbor if he knew about scorpions. After conversations with neighbors, I discovered that there is time to get to the hospital (how comforting), and the results of any given sting are pretty much up to the individuals physiology. (Fine time to be turning 68!)
I spent a rather restless night, sleeping with one eye open and lights ablaze. My bed was covered by a single sheet and for most of the night I wore my shoes. Of course the bug spray and Muriatic acid were close by.
The next morning I set off in search of ways to deal with these sneaky beasts. Driving by the local dive shop I noticed my friend Carlos, a former US Marine, loading his truck for a dive. I pulled up, jumped from my car and breathlessly said, “I had a scorpion in my house last night, what can I do about them?”
To which he replied, “Just step on them.”