The hornet got into the house.
Claudia trapped it in a glass and we slipped a piece of cardboard under it. It didn't care for this one bit.
The phrase "mad as a hornet"? This thing was pissed. It made a noise more snarl than buzz as it hurled itself against the glass, radiating waves of implacable insect anger. I looked into its little black eyes and saw nothing but top-predator rage: I will hunt you down and kill you. It was impressive.
I went outside and put the glass on the table on the patio. Then I called the boys downstairs to see it (they'd been in their nightshirts, brushing their teeth). They stood at a respectful distance while the hornet slammed itself back and forth, making the glass "ding" audibly with its tiny wrath.
Eventually it stopped banging, sat down a moment, and seemed to think. Then it began to groom itself. I know there's nothing sillier than anthropomorphizing an insect, but at that moment I thought of a warrior -- a samurai, say -- caught in a pit, pausing to polish his sword and comb his hair.
You couldn't call it beautiful, but it was impressive. Hornets have these huge jaws, half the size of their head: they're built like bolt-cutters, designed for biting prey into easy-to-handle pieces. Their heads are large and reddish. Their antenna, long and sturdy -- I guess they hunt by scent. The black-and-yellow abdomen was heaving with exertion. If a bee is a bobcat, and a paper wasp is a cougar or a panther, then a hornet is a tiger.
I ordered the boys inside and then tipped the glass over and then took two long, very fast steps -- not running, honest -- to the back door and closed it very quickly. The hornet rose into the air, hovered a little unsteadily for a few seconds, then flew off.
Okay, living with this guy isn't going to be easy. But I'm sort of reluctant to kill him. He's foul-tempered and dangerous, but...