I have a harrowing story to share with you, a story which I initially considered not sharing before deciding that it may be therapeutic. But before I begin, let me preface this by saying that I am not generally a fearful person when it comes to animals. I think nothing of catching snakes with my bare hands - for fun. I’ve been known to enter thickets to retrieve large, injured hawks while wildlife officers stand aside with sheepish expressions. I’ve broken up terrible dog fights and have kept my cool on runaway horses.
But I’m not above being scared senseless, which is exactly what happened last night.
It was late, and after a tiresome night of writing headlines at the newspaper I was ready to relax. Larry, who had to get up early, was already in bed . But I wasn’t sleepy so I sat down on the couch to enjoy a stiff, post-work drink and read a bit.
When I felt something tickly on my head I didn’t think much about it. I thought at first it was the cat playing with my hair. I brushed it away and when I didn’t feel a paw I looked around and there, on the back of the couch I saw it.
Let me say at this point that nothing - nothing - creeps me out worse than cockroaches. So it’s an understatement to say I jumped off that couch. Flew is more like it, and it’s probably good I had a drink in my system or I probably would have had a heart attack right there if I’d not been a little tipsy.
My first instinct was to run and get Larry, but I was afraid if I left the roach alone it would scurry away and hide somewhere, and ambush me anew when I re-entered the room. So keeping my eye on it, I ran and grabbed the can of Raid.
I guess the roach sensed something bad was about to go down because it dived behind the couch. But I wasn’t going to let it get away. The can of Raid was about half full. I sprayed the entire contents behind the couch and then stood back, gasping from fumes and fear.
I was literally shaking, knowing that the cockroach had to eventually come out but not knowing where. My rational mind kept telling me it was already a Dead Roach Crawling, but my irrational mind kept butting in, telling me this might be some sort of Super Bug with a special Raid-resistant gene.
I decided I needed another drink, so I poured one and downed it in two gulps. I felt a little less shaky, which comforted me, so I poured another one and drank it, too.
Then the roach came out. It was crawling - well - staggering up the wall. It was huge - at least ten, maybe fifteen inches long. I tried to spray more Raid on it but the can was empty. So I threw it at the roach. I missed. So I picked up a chair and threw that. The vibration from the chair knocked the roach off the wall and it lay there on its back, kicking its ugly little legs.
I picked up a vase but even drunk I knew that probably wasn’t a good idea so I picked up the empty can of Raid and - mustering courage from some hidden reserve - beat the roach to death.
How my family slept through this I don’t know, and you’d think that with the roach dead I’d have felt better. But the shaking was back. So I had another drink, polishing off what was left in the bottle.
By now I was beyond drunk. I think a better term might be wasted, so forgive me if my recollection gets fuzzy here.
I vaguely remember putting the roach in a Zip-loc bag. I do remember writing the note to Larry. It wasn’t until this morning, when my husband - between fits of laughter - read the note, that I found out all I’d written. In a drunken scrawl, I’d said if he wanted to know why the furniture was overturned, the house smelled like Raid and all the liquor was gone he could just look at Exhibit A, neatly laid out in the plastic bag on the table. Overnight the roach seemed to have shrunk. It wasn't ten inches long. By the light of day it was more like two or three inches long. As for me, I was still on the couch, where I'd passed out clutching myempty can of Raid after sitting up for several hours with the lights on because roaches are supposed to fear light.
I can’t account for the profanity in the letter, either, except to say I was upset. Why else would I refer to the thing as a “cocksucker” instead of a “cockroach”?
At least the note ended politely. “P.S.” I’d written. “I’d feel a lot better if we could spray the house.”
Larry said he would have happily gotten up and killed the roach if I’d just asked him, which probably would have been the best thing for both of us. I wouldn’t still have a residual hangover and he would have no doubt gotten the best Gratitude Sex ever.
We've decided that the roach likely came in via a box of bulbs given to Larry by a local gardener. I can't be angry with him for not checking it. Who knew?
So that's my story. Words of support or virtual hugs of comfort are welcome. But please keep snide remarks to yourself. I’ve got a fresh can of Raid and I’m not afraid to use it.
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