Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Gregor Samsa

WARNING: TERRIBLE bug story ahead. TERRIBLE. If you have a horror of cockroaches, DO NOT READ THIS STORY. You have been warned! 

Are you sure then? OK, you've been warned.

Herself speaks.

Fall is creeping steadily into this corner of the desert:  it has been cloudy and damp, with a breeze that ranges from mild to rather surprisingly strong. The night creeps in earlier, the dawn arrives later. Halloween decorations sprout like mushrooms in neighborhood yards. These are the pleasant aspects of fall.

Some of unpleasant hallmarks of autumn are the attempts by various verminous critters to move into the dry, warm house. The most dreaded interloper:  the cockroach.

Most of the occasional roaches we find are already gasping their last (we have a Bug Man who visits monthly and treats the outside of the house, so these wretched bugs are doomed from the start). They appear, abdomen up with legs curles and one sad antenna twitching fruitlessly, in the middle of the floor tile or just under the corner of the desk.  We shudder, and scrape them up, and are done.

Last week, I had the unpleasant experience of seeing two lazily waving antennae emerging from the overflow drain of one of the two sinks in the master bedroom. (My sink, of course.) I politely requested aid from Beloved Husband, who found something to spray into the sink-holes to dispatch the bug.  I then taped up all possible entrances and exits to that sink with duct tape for several days, and followed up with a treatment of anti-roach spray into all the holes for good measure. The sink appears safe. For now.

And then, there was this morning.

It was ever so early -- around 6 AM -- and I was wearing my shorts and sneakers so that I could exercise a bit later. I went to the cabinet to the left of the kitchen sink and fetched a small plastic cup. I then took out the bottle of ibuprofen, since Offspring the Third has had a nasty cold with residual sore throat, and I wanted to make sure he would be comfortable for school. Tiny Dog was my shadow in the kitchen, as always. I felt her ear tickle my left leg. I ignored her and wrestled with the large cotton ball that was blocking the top of the ibuprofen bottle.  Tiny Dog's ear tickled my leg again. I wondered why she was begging so early, and looked down. It was not Tiny Dog.

There was a cockroach climbing up my leg.

"AH! It's on me!" 

(I kicked it off with my other foot.)


(I looked around on the floor for it.)

"Where is it?"

There it was, frantically running away.

"Dude, get me a flyswatter," I said to Offspring the Third.

He didn't see one. I looked at the plastic cup in my hand, and coverered the roach with it, trapping it.


I could hear it scrabbling inside the cup. I located the swatter, but didn't want to remove the cup from atop the roach, lest it escape into an inaccessible spot in the house.

I retrieved a square of cardboard, slid it under the cup to trap the insect inside (oh, the scrabbling; so much scrabbling), and took the cup/cardboard outside. I put it on the patio. Offspring the Third then removed the cup and beat the roach vigorously with the swatter until the insect was quite thoroughly dead.

All done.


All in all, I think I handled it fairly well, particularly since I neither passed out nor just plain dropped dead right then and there. Granted, there was the FUCK that I exclaimed within earshot of Offspring the Third, but I'm certain he'll be understanding of that utterance under the circumstances. Every little itch makes me flinch now, though. GOOD GRAVY.

Is it strange that I feel just the tiniest bit bad for that poor frightened insect, running and scrabbling, doing nothing more unusual than following its bug survival instinct?


Please don't touch me ever again, cockroaches.

Just no.

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