Aganactesis (ag’-an-ak-tee’-sis): An exclamation proceeding from deep indignation.

My name is Daan Bakksteen. My Dutch ancestors were among the first people to settle New Netherland. They were granted land outside New Amsterdam, NY—on an Iroquois trade route that was fast becoming a colonist highway and would eventually become Route 20–running coast to coast. They were charged by the Dutch government with building a roadhouse for “rest and relaxation” of travelers. Accordingly, they employed Iroquois craftsmen, at a huge sum of money, to build the overnight dwelling place for weary travelers. They named the roadhouse “Slaap Huis” which means “Sleep House” in English.

Here I am, hundreds of years later and “Slaap Huis” is headed toward the dumpster. It has become a go-to place where bondage aficionados congregate, thinking that “Slaap” is a coded reference to one of their favorite sexual practices. But, something was going to happen at Slaap Huis that would change it’s future forever:

All the revelers had checked out. I was cleaning their rooms and retrieving the fur-covered handcuffs, rope, and executioners’ masks we rented to our patrons. I pulled back a bedspread, and holy shit! There was an enormous bedbug infestation in full swing on the sheet underneath. For starters, I ran and got my can of Raid. I popped off the cap and aimed the can at the little bastards. I yelled “You’re going to kill my motel once and for all you disgusting vermin.” “No we’re not.” “What?” I yelled. A bedbug was talking! “We will save you. We have a plan.” I dropped the Raid can on the floor and sat on the bed next to the Bedbug Chief who was doing the talking, with a Dutch accent. “Our ancestors came to this place with your ancestors. We are the last of the extremely rare “Pratende Bedwants,” or in English, Talking Bedbugs. Throughout history we have engaged in “pillow talk,” wisely counseling powerful people in exchange for a few droplets of blood. For example, Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address” owes it’s “Four score and seven years ago” to Anouk Visser, a female bedbug with the soul of an angel and literary gifts that she is revered for.

Our band of the Pratende Bedwants has always inhabited local farmhouses, whore houses, and hotels in town here—never Slaap Huis. In hard times your ancestors would help us by allowing us to feed on their livestock, and we survived. We are eternally grateful and want to help you. The new motel down the road, ‘Lulabye Motel,’ is stealing all your business with it’s swimming pool, microwave ovens, coin-operated bed vibrators, refrigerators, and satellite TV free in every room. Not only that, Lulabye is undercutting your rates by half.” “F-ing hell,” I yelled “Let’s go! What’s the goddamn plan?” “We climb up your pant leg and hitch a ride to the Lulabye Motel. When we get there, you introduce yourself and ask for a tour. The gloating owner, Moe Bass, will agree. As we tour the motel, my brothers and sisters will drop out of your pant leg, seeding the place with bedbugs and ruining his business.” “Brilliant!” I yelled. We decided to do it the next morning.

I was ready to go. The bedbugs scrambled up my pant leg and off we went. Everything went according to plan. No matter how many times Mr. Bass tried to exterminate the bedbugs, he failed. They would disappear and return after the exterminator left, after I warned them, and then, gave them the all clear. Lulabye Motel went to hell in a hand basket. One night, it burned to the ground. Mr. Bass was arrested and convicted of torching it for the insurance, and all our confederate bedbugs escaped, smelling smoke and scrambling out an open window. Now, me and The Bedbug Chief are planning a traveling bedbug troupe, performing “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe” at state fairs. It is a challenge, but The Bedbug Chief is up to it—he audited acting classes at Yale and lived in Archie’s Bunker’s chair on the set of “All in the Family” for two years.

I never say “That bugs me” any more. The talking bedbugs restored my dignity and saved my life. God bless them.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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