How doth the little flea leap from the cat
Onto the rug and thence unto my shin?
And how, once there, doth creep this petty gnat
Betwixt my leg hairs thence unto the skin?
Though I do vacuum seldom as a rule,*
The onset of the season of the flea
Me maketh vacuum almost constantly
Lest wicked fleas** from out my veins suck fuel.
When vacuum cleaners cease to suck up fleas
And fleas persist in sucking on my legs,
When threatened with all manner of disease,***
And knowing fleas in rugs do lay their eggs,****
Then time to flea bomb, though it poison be,
And though it may deform my ovary.*****
* The first vacuum cleaner, patented in 1869 by Ives W. McGaffey, required the operation of a handcrank whilst in use. I have always found this something of a deterrent to ardent hoovering.
** "The wicked flee where no man pursueth" (Proverbs 28). Let that be a lesson to us.
*** i.e., plague, bubonic plague, pneumonic plague, flea-borne typhus, none of which, strictly speaking, is carried by the cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis.
**** Curious factoid about flea reproductive practices: the rabbit flea only lays her eggs upon ingesting the blood of a pregnant rabbit, thus the flealets hatch around the same time as the rabbit kittens. Sinister.
***** Of which there are, to date, two.