I work for a company that sells pesticides to farmers. No, not Monsanto, but a similar devil.
In my four years of working here (unfortunately not full-time, but if this new communications job that just opened doesn’t obnoxiously require 10+ years experience like the last one, maybe I can change that), I’ve come to realize that we apparently do not use our own products on our grounds. Or maybe we do, and the bugs have just mutated and become immune to the chemicals. Because some of the ugliest, ghastliest, fat-ass creepy-crawlies you’d ever want to see rise from the pits.
And last night, one of them followed me home.
Have you ever seen something out the corner of your eye and totally spazzed out? Maybe it was a remote, or a phone, or a hair ball, or a shifting shadow. Whatever it was, it appeared in just the right angle of your eyesight to trick you into thinking it was a bug you weren’t prepared to kill. So you scramble like there’s no tomorrow. Fight or flight kicks in and you shoot off, sent reeling into the air, dangling from the rotating ceiling fan only to realize it was a false alarm.
I didn’t heed that alarm, assuming it was just another deception of the eyes. When I finally peeled away from the computer and looked to the floor, I nearly choked on my tongue trying to scream.
Crawling over the fibers of my carpet was the biggest cockroach I have ever seen in my life.
I won’t gross you out with pictures, just know that it was huge. About the size of my index, middle, and ring fingers combined! The kind of bug you only see after a horrible rain storm, blown in from some far-off, rural third-world country where the people have learned to cohabitate with their monster vermin. Not me. I am 100% a product of the Western world (to my detriment). I do not do bugs. Bugs give me the heebie-jeebies; I freak even when a fly buzzes by my ear. And don’t get me started on spiders! I’m still anxious about the one that escaped my shoe a week ago, and he was a microbe compared to this roach!
And my brother was not home to kill it. Not that he would even bother if he were. My brother is like one of those drunk, potbellied stepfathers, who lie on the couch all day drinking beer from a can. You hesitate to approach them with a request because you never know what kind of mood they’re going to be in. Will they be gentle this time, or lay siege to you with F bombs before even opening their eyes? Knowing my brother, he probably would’ve told me to grow up, get a pair, and sent back to my room to fend for myself.
Sometimes I wonder who’s the older sibling.
So I got my mom outta bed to help me kill the despicable critter. When she saw how big it was, she turned to me and said, “You brought that home from work.” God, I hope so, and I hope it didn’t bring any friends, or heaven forbid, lay any eggs, because I think I would die right there if I woke up in the middle of the night to a blanket of cockroaches crawling from under my bed. Eeeek!
My mom picked up a can of bug spray to gas the sucker out, which only pissed it off, because then it came sprinting towards me, and by the grace of God I had enough sense to pick up my weighed down dirty clothes hamper and slam it right on top of the bugger before it made anymore sudden moves. Then, for good measure, I climbed inside the hamper and stomped around just to make sure it was dead. But you know, cockroaches are resilient; if cats have nine lives, they’ve got 29. And if they can survive nuclear bomb blasts, surely they can survive being crushed by a flimsy plastic wicker basket.
But killing it wasn’t the hard part. The hard part was getting rid of the body. I couldn’t force myself to lift the hamper, too afraid that it had survived and would dart out for a hiding place before either me or my mom could react, or that it had managed to escape before I could deal the blow and was somewhere in my room, unbeknownst to either me or my mom. (Then I’d have to move to Canada, because there was no way I was staying in that house!)
I cowered in the hallway just outside my bedroom door while my mom peeked under the basket to discover the roach was still kicking. She got the fly swatter to finish it off, only to do a fidgety dance around it because she didn’t want to have to touch it. After about 10 minutes of us standing around, squirming in our pajamas, she finally went to the kitchen and got a plastic cup out of the trash can. Using the swatter, she flicked the dying roach into the cup and quickly shoved the cup into a plastic grocery store bag. Then she rushed through house and out the back door and tossed the bag into the outside trashcan, whose contents will be collected today. Sayonara! Good riddance! I’m glad that nightmare is over.
The both of us were still a little squeamish to go to bed too soon, though.
Thankfully no more mutant cockroaches rose from the depths that night, at least not while I was still awake. (Oh, please let that be the end of it!) But now I’m afraid to go to work, afraid Creepy’s vengeful brother will crawl into my bag under my desk to terrorize me when I get home.
To have dominion over all the creepy-crawlies of the earth, I don’t always feel like it. Apparently my company sells a product called Demon. According to Mom, it’s to, “scare the shit outta those roaches.” I wonder if they would let me take a few samples, build up my arsenal for the next attack. Then again, if these chemicals really are mutating the bugs, I’ll just stop doing laundry and stick with my overstuffed dirty clothes hamper as my weapon, because Lord knows I don’t want to wake up to Vincent D’Onofrio’s giant alien bug (think Men in Black) standing over my bed. Eeeeek!