Friday, August 22, 2008

Fear no bug

Last night as we walked up to the front door, I saw the biggest, nastiest, ugliest roach, ever!, clinging to the doorframe.

Oh, EW! To be honest, I’ve been waiting for this. The house right next door is foreclosed and vacant, which means that leaves and other debris that blows up in piles in the front and back yards stays put. Dark, moist, and undisturbed piles of good roach eats and shelter. You might as well hang out a sign that says, “Roach Party House and Maternity Ward!”

And now they’re checking out the scene Uptown. Great. Just great.

“Hold up there, Captain Adventure,” I said matter-of-factly. “Let mommy get the bug first.”

He looked at me oddly. Huh?

“See? See the bug? See the big bug? Oooooh, he’s a BIG guy, huh?” I point out the roach from a safe distance, keeping one eye on it and the other one seeking out something I can use to prod it away from my door…or squash it. Or knock it off the door so I can stomp it. You know, because I am all about the zen, and embracing nature and all.

For a split second, Captain Adventure stared at the roach. For a split second, I thought he was taken aback by the size and fierce appearance of this very large American cockroach.

For a fleeting instant, I thought he was, you know, alarmed by the thing.

Uh-huh. Yeah. Right. This is the kid who once, in the two minutes between when I left him peacefully watching Dora the Explorer to rotate the laundry, grabbed a tube of Go-Gurt and the biggest kitchen knife I own and began calmly whacking the blade of the knife down on the tube of Go-Gurt (and, by the way, the kitchen floor), centimeters from the sweet little fingers holding the tube.

“Ooooh! Bug!” he yelled, and grabbed for the critter. Yeah, not so much with the ‘alarmed’ thing.

I have never seen a roach move that fast, people. I mean, I once found a whole nest of them when I flipped over some trash in our backyard (yeah, lost about two years off my life from pure startle-value there) and something like two thousand roaches managed to do a disappearing act in about three seconds…but yet they had nothing on Arnie the Cockroach.

Arnie was bookin’. And by the way he moved, I think I’m right about the house next door: he made for the shrub right in front of the vacant house, like a bee zipping home to the hive. Across a good thirty feet of lawn, zzzzzzzip!!!!! Scurrying, hoping, taking short buzzing flights.

And Captain Adventure was hot on his leathery heels, down on all fours (which thankfully slowed him down a good bit), hopping along behind the roach, his hands shooting out like a snake’s tongue trying to catch him. zzzzzzot! zzzzzot! zzzzzzot!

Thank $DEITY cockroaches are built for speed, otherwise I’m afraid I might have been trying to get a cockroach out of my son’s mouth (ooooh, maybe it’s chocolate candy! Let’s try it and find out!), and as I am already operating on maybe six months of life left to me from all the other times he’s shaved a year or ten off my life by one crazy / disgusting means or another, I’d really like to avoid such things.

Otherwise, I’m going to be in the negative on remaining lifespan. And I’m pretty sure the Devil doesn’t want my soul, so I’m screwed on being able to bargain my way out of that pickle.

So I was right behind him squealing, “No-no, honey! Leave the bug alone! Don’t squash the poor bug! Captain Adventure! Stop! Let him go! Ack! Argh! Gah!!!”

In the end, Arnie the Cockroach was safe and Captain Adventure was on hands and knees peering under the shrubs of the empty house while I grabbed him to prevent him from plunging head-first into them after the bug (and a few thousand of his peers, no doubt).

“Uh-oh!” he declared, peering into the Roach Bar and Grill dim tangles of bushes. “Where bug go, mommy?”

“I…I think he went home, sweetheart,” I gasped, torn between laughing and crying…and also, by the way, feeling an intense need for a shower as I wondered just how many cockroaches could be living under a bush that size…oh crap…now I need another shower… “No, no…let’s not go in there after him, buddy. I think he’s scared. Let’s leave him alone…”

“Ooooooh…bye-bye, Bug!” he bellowed into the shrubs. “BYE-BYE, BUG!!!”

“OK, yes, I think he (and people in FLORIDA, for Pete’s sake) heard you, honey…”

I herded my son back into the house, pondering the cockroach. Heh. Now there’s a bug with a tale to tell his grandchildren, huh?

I envisioned him staggering up to the bar in the Roach Steakhouse Saloon [Music Nightly!] and gasping out, “Bartender! Black Flag, and make it a double! OoooOOOOoooo, what a day I’ve had, you wouldn’t believe it! Hopping! Grabbing! Shrieking female Giant, with those things, those shoes, on her tarsus…!” he slams his double shot and waves the glass at the bartender, who refills it with horrified eyes. “And a Giant nymph, so fast…by the Colony, I’ve never seen such a fearless, fast-moving nymph in all my days…!”

All the little cockroach nymphs gasp, and their mothers gather them up under their wings murmuring, “There, there, little ones – there are no Giants here, they don’t like damp, dark places…shhhhh…” and glaring at Arnie.

One of the father’s sidles up to him and nudges at him, antennae quivering angrily.

“Dude, there are nymphs here. You wanna indulge your thrill issues and go out there with the Giants and all, that’s fine – but don’t come in here yelling about Giants and Giant Nymphs chasing people, right? Not cool, dude, not. cool.

But Arnie, still rattled, merely takes a long pull of his second Black Flag, stares back at the other bug and repeats, “Never…never seen…fast-moving Giant nymph…musta been eighty wing-flights high and…and…leaves and thorns, man, it was all…ew, ya know? Just ew…and the Female, it had those shoe-things, on the ends of its …they squash us with those, you know? I saw it happen, once…this guy I knew, we were Out There? Yeah, one minute he’s just chewing on some stuff around the bottom of one of those big smelly-boxes and then WHAM! Giant tarsus with a shoe-thing on it, outta nowhere…”

“Mommy, I’m scared!” a little nymph whimpers.

“Awwright, buddy, let’s get you out of here,” the bartender declares, gesturing to the gathering irate fathers meaningfully.

Three sturdy bugs get twelve hands under Arnie’s wings and lift him out of the bar, still clutching his Black Flag and staring off into the distance.

“Fastest. Nymph. EVER! Never seen a Giant so fast…never…so fast! Sooooooo faaaaaassssst…” his voice trails into silence as the fathers move him well out into the street, well beyond the door.

And all the cockroaches in the restaurant peer in nervous silence out into the ominous light beyond the cool dark safety of the bushes…where there be Giants…and Shoes…and fast-moving Giant Nymphs…


Anonymous said...

Oh, you'd LOVE Louisiana! Although, now that I don't live near oak trees my main problem is making sure there isn't a gecko on the front door when I open it. Captain Adventure would sure go for one of those!

Leoal said...

Reason number 3476 to live in cooler climates.

Oh plus, you have waaaaay too much imagination. :)

Anonymous said...

That is hysterical! What a great mental picture. My youngest son is always trying to sneak some sort of critter into the house....the latest was a HUGE bullfrog. They're fine in the pond, but I don't really want 'em in the bathtub, you know?

Anonymous said...

Have you considered writing horror stories? I'm thinking you could tap a great market of people who like to combine horror and humor. Seriously, this could work. Get an agent, fast!

Science PhD Mom said...

Ewwww, roaches! I hate roaches!!! So glad I live in a cooler climate now where I don't have to see as many of them.

Yarnhog said...

Not even that admittedly charming description of cockroach-land can make them anything other than what they are: horrible, disgusting, soul-less, germ-laden vermin.

I hate roaches with a passion. It's a good thing we've never had one in the house, or I'd probably have burned it down. (Actually, we did have a dead one in the kitchen once. I think it fell out of a paper grocery bag. The ensuing week of extermination and decontamination is something I'd rather not repeat.)

RaplhCramden said...

Entymology, etymology. Coincidence? I think NOT.