Australia, you are wonderful, but you have a problem.
It’s not a big problem. By mammalian standards, it’s tiny. But it still seems pretty big, when it’s hunched on your wall, waving its impossibly long feelers in slow circles as it regards you with unwavering evil.
They don’t even stop twitching when they’re dead.
I detest cockroaches.
It verges on the pathological; I just despise them. Don’t want them to be. When I see one, it dies. It has to. It does not matter how much dignity I squander as I chase the little blackguard around my kitchen, with knife or pan or just a shoe, thumping at the walls and floor as it tries to escape my all-too-human wrath. It has to die. Crushed beneath my monolithic weapon, like Wile E. Coyote beneath a falling anvil. ACME little-winged-Satan-crushers are hard to procure.
You have to take a few more precautions than back home. Wipe away food mess pretty assiduously. Leaving sugar out in open bowls is probably a bad idea. They come out in the dark, mostly. With wearying predictability, as it gets hotter. It’s now at the stage where if I leave my room during the night, I’m pretty much guaranteed to turn the kitchen light on to find a big brown oval on the off-white wall. Feelers rotating.
There only ever seems to be one at a time. It honestly wouldn’t surprise me if it was the same reincarnatory son-of-an-insect-bitch coming back to plague me. If so, little Lazarus-bug is probably building quite the grudge. He’s died a whole number of ways by now…although they pretty much all end the same way. Crushed once more to be certain. Shrouded in the questionable dignity of a white tissue. Disposed of. Temporarily.
Here’s a funny story! There was this big can of anti-bug spray lying around in the kitchen a few weeks back. Kills crawling or flying insects, it said. A silhouette on the front depicted one of each; some kind of wasp, and a cockroach. Kills. Crawling. Insect. Perfect. And so, when I walked into my room to see old brown-eyes staring down at me from the wall, I smiled a little smile. He didn’t seem to be going anywhere, so I read the instructions carefully first; hold around 30cms from crawling insect for best results and spray.
That is not what it should have said.
It should have been a bit more like…
…hold about 30cms from crawling insect and spray, if desired result is for the crawling insect to suddenly become a flying insect and come whirring like Hades’ own helicopter straight for your face. I sprayed at it frantically as I jerked out of its unerring flightpath, stinking my room out with bug-o-ded (not the actual brand, alas). When insect has landed, those corrected instructions continue, pick up nearest heavy shoe and flail wildly at the floor, inhaling bug-o-ded fumes all the while. Thwack at scurrying roach-devil ineffectually for a while before finally nailing the sucker. Breathe rabidly.
I can’t even listen to Papa Roach the same way any more. Infffeeeeeeeeesst!
Then, two days ago…
…so it’s been stupidly humid of late. Can’t-sleep humid. Lie in a thin salival film of your own sweat humid. And I couldn’t sleep, and the water bottle by my bed was empty, and it was warm. So I get up, and I walk through to the kitchen, and I turn the light on. And I know there’s going to be one, I even look straight at the exact bit of wall where he’s standing. Big, mean Lazarus-bug, just twirling those feelers.
And do you know what I did?
…This is my Last Resort…
I left him there. That Which Must Die, survived. I just filled my bottle up from the tap, and I left him there, to live on without even having to go through the bother of dying. Without even having to escape; just crouching in his shell, twitching his mandibles.
It looks like he’s wearing me down.
It looks like he’s winning.