Assume some things. Assume there is an afterlife, that there is reincarnation, and when you die you come back in a different form. If you were bad you come back as a lesser creature, and if you were good you come back as a movie star, or you go straight to heaven. Assume, also, that I am dead, and I was bad. Assume I come back as a bedbug.

It is necessary to explain a biological fact before revealing the list of people I would bite if I were a bedbug: a bedbug partakes of five blood meals in its nasty journey from egg to adulthood. Consequently, your hematophagous narrator could only dine on five of his enemies. If I name more than five people, assume some of them are backups.

(Note, reader, that there are a few people, not mentioned here, whom I’d rather save for when I’ve moved far enough up the karmic ladder to be able to return as a brain-sucking alien.)

Enough biology. I would bite, first, the former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, Michael Gerson. For the crime of trying to take credit for “Axis of Evil.” A decent human being, if accused of coining that phrase in earnest, would be desperate to hide under a rock garden.

Afterwards, I’d hang around the neighborhood for a few days or weeks, until I’d worked up enough appetite to go after whoever is responsible for giving him a job at the Washington Post.

Neither wild horses nor bedbug-sniffing dogs could keep me from biting Sheriff Joe Arpaio, of Maricopa County, Arizona. For the crimes of grandstanding, treating human beings like mistreated cattle, and setting himself up as a small-town dictator. That should be enough to get me banned from Maricopa County, but, for good measure, let me add: with any luck he’d squash me, and I’d come straight back as a scorpion.

I know what you’re thinking: “If I were reincarnated as a bedbug, I’d bite the hell out of Dick Cheney.” If traveling to Wyoming in order to get brainfreeze sounds like fun to you, have at it.

Strictly for the sake of comic relief, here are some people I’d bite if I only had the time and a large enough stomach, to say nothing of guaranteed means of travel: Daniel Bedingfield; those people on TV with all the children; Ronald McDonald; any writer who refers to a plan laid out in his essay as “a modest proposal” when his intent is not satiric; a certain fourth-grade teacher in the state of Texas. (I don’t hold grudges; I wield them.)

For my fourth meal (I’d be much bigger now), I’d tuck into any big, beefy, red-blooded Minuteman.

Finally, we have my adult-stage fare, Erik Prince, the founder of the private military company Blackwater (now called “Xe Services LLC”). For crimes too obvious and numerous to mention. And now that my assassination is guaranteed, readers have the chance to answer a metaphysical question that has haunted humanity for eons. If any of the men here mentioned are, within about a year and a half of my assassination, besieged by bedbugs, you’ll know there is life after death.