“There’s a giant roach loose in our house. On an unrelated note, we have insurance, right? In case the house accidentally burns down?”
That was the text I sent my husband one morning.
Anyone who knows how I feel about crickets (Cricket Warfare 101: Subtlety, Sabotage, Misdirection, Psychological Warfare, Treaties and Allies) can well imagine how I feel about roaches. We don’t get them often, but we do live in a big city, and we are on a sewer system, so once in a while, it does happen. And I do my best to murder them right away so they don’t spawn or invite their friends over.
Well, this particular morning, things were a little complicated. You see, I had just gotten in the shower. My toddler came into the bathroom, and I peeked out to see what she needed, and a giant, horrifying beast flew over her head and into the corner of the bathroom. I imagine he might have been hiding in the shower curtain and was disturbed when I moved it to check on my daughter.
So there I was, without a shoe or a can of Raid or any other means of defense, and between me and it was my baby daughter.
I reached for my daughter, and when I looked up, the tiny monster had disappeared. He’d landed right next to the door, so logically I assumed he must have scurried under the door and into the hallway beyond.
Now, under normal circumstances, I would have grabbed one of my husband’s shoes and followed him out and hunted him down like the vile terror he is.
But, our foreign exchange student was home. And he had a friend over. I suspected the sight of me running around the house naked and wielding a shoe might affect his decision to come back and live with us next semester.
There was really nothing I could do until I finished my shower and put on some clothes.
So, that done, I shut the baby in her room with her brother, armed myself with Raid and glue traps (I really prefer to avoid the shoe method of murder, as the crunching, popping, squishing sound you get when you smash one makes me gag, and consequently I tend to not hit hard enough the first time and then the critters start running and I have to do it all over again, except then they’re angry and paranoid and gain super speed), and went on the hunt.
The first place, obviously, was in that hallway where he’d escaped to. That’s where I keep the vacuum, some linens, a bin of reusable grocery bags, and a set of drawers with things like toiletries, Band-Aids, hair clips, and that sort of thing.
He wasn’t behind the vacuum. I’d sort of been hoping he would be. That would’ve been the easiest place to kill him.
So I started in with the bags, shaking them out one by one and tossing them to the side when I was sure they were roachless.
He wasn’t there.
So I slowly pulled out the toiletry drawers and peered behind them. I nearly got mauled to death by a feather which had floated in from the parakeet in the other room, but I pressed on, determined to complete my search, but to no avail. He wasn’t there, either. I pulled the drawer out all the way just to make sure, but no luck.
Which meant the horrifying little savage could be literally anywhere in my house at that point.
Like under the couch, where I had to sit because I had a mountain of laundry to fold.
Or in my kitchen, where there are always crumbs and dirty dishes due to the sheer volume of people in my house that like to eat.
Or in the play room, hiding amongst the 7 million Legos strewn about.
Or under my desk, where I had to sit to work.
Or behind my bed, waiting to maul me when I slept.
There was no possible way I could search in every closet, behind every piece of furniture, between every wall, and every other nook and cranny in the house. The roach had escaped. Nothing to do for it but wait for him to come out of hiding and attempt to get on with my day.
My fondest hope at that point was that there might be a giant lizard living in my walls, and that somehow the two would find each other.
As that was unlikely, however, I did my best to forget about it, and live in a fantasy world where the dastardly devil had gone outside and been devoured by a giant pigeon.
That’s when the paranoia set in. Every stray hair that tickled my arm, every crunch of crumbs on the floor, every shadow that moved was a giant cockroach, skittering up my legs or preparing to pounce.
And I had to sleep sometime…
Retribution came that night. We had company for the evening, so afterward I stayed up late to get a little bit of writing done. I sat at my desk and began to type, when out of the corner of my eye, I saw a dark shape move.
God has blessed me with an amazing husband. One who comes running, shoe in hand, when there are critters to murder.
I started hollering at the top of my voice, “Honey! I found the roach! I found the roach! I FOUND THE ROACH!!!” and he dashed in, better than any knight in shining armor, to save me from the clutches of the monstrosity that stalked me in the night.
The roach is dead. And now I can sleep again.