Where I say “f***” many, many times, and with good reason.
The phone rang just as I noticed it on the wall. Seeing that the call came from Karen, I answered with:
“There is a HUGE F**KING COCKROACH ON MY WALL.”
“Big enough to ride if you put a saddle on it?” Karen asks.
I’m not good with the cockroaches, blogosphere. I’m not rational. There are not many things in life that freak me the hell out, but cockroaches are one of them.
One cockroach meandered across my kitchen floor a week after I moved into this house–ten years ago–and I’ve had a bug service ever since. It doesn’t matter how broke I might be, or how bug-free my house is now, one cockroach ten years ago warrants the thousands of dollars I have since spent keeping my home bug-free. And the kicker? That one cockroach was an oriental cockroach, a common outside bug found in woodpiles and gardens everywhere in the south. It wasn’t even the kind of cockroach other people worry about.
“It’s F**KING ENORMOUS,” I tell Karen, now. “But at least it’s an oriental cockroach, thank God…..This is NOT acceptable.”
Honestly, I can’t tell what kind of cockroach it is. I’m a bit demented now, and I don’t want to get close enough for the cockroach to jump at me. Or something. But I want it to be an oriental cockroach, and so an oriental cockroach it will be.
“I’m going to vacuum it up. I’m going to use the tube-y thing and sneak up on it.”
I drag the vacuum out of the closet, muttering, “this is not acceptable. This is NOT F**KING ACCEPTABLE.”
“I’ll be down in just a few minutes,” says Karen, who is to my surprise still on the phone.
Karen knows how I feel about bugs: outside bugs are good and fine, but bugs in my house are not f**king acceptable. It’s a lot like “Snakes On A Plane.” Snakes? No problem. Planes? No problem. The problem is, to paraphrase Samuel L., when the motherf**king snakes are on the motherf**king plane. If the cockroach was outside, he and I could coexist peacefully in the world.
But this cockroach is high up on my wall, by the ceiling, and so I quietly pick up a chair and move it close. Not close enough that I could be attacked, but close. Quietly, I click the vacuum hose onto the long wand attachment. Quietly, I climb up on the chair and move the tip of the wand into battle position.
Flipping on the vacuum, I slam the wand tip over the cockroach while shouting, “I HATE YOU, I HATE YOU, I HATE YOU,” and the cockroach disappears up the vacuum cleaner hose. I wiggle the hose to make sure the unacceptable f**ker isn’t hanging on in there, ready to climb back out when I turn off the suction.
“I hate you,” I tell it once more, and I slump down upon the chair and watch the cockroach spin around and around in the canister of my vacuum cleaner. Eventually, it catches on a clump of dog hair, and is wedged against the clear canister wall. It might not be as big as it seemed when it was trying to kill me, and it might not be an oriental cockroach.
The vacuum cleaner still running, I get down on the floor to look at the dead, dusty bug. Over an inch and a half long, its hideous, disgusting wings are tattered, and its creepy, horrid antennae are blowing in the cyclonic wind of the canister. It’s an American cockroach, and I’m offended.
“I hate you,” I tell it, “you were not allowed in my house, you stupid f**king cockroach f**king…… f**ker.”
And as I calm myself down, it starts to move. Against the spinning dust and fur inside the canister.
I hate it so much. I sit, hating it and watching it blithely explore its vacuum-prison, until Karen arrives twenty minutes later.
“IT IS STILL ALIVE!” I shout, as Karen walks in the door. “THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE. I hate it and it’s alive in there, and I don’t want to turn off the vacuum because I don’t know what it’s going to do next, and it stuck its disgusting head up and looked around and it’s walking around in there.”
“It stuck its head up?” Karen asks.
“YES! Its head is on a little stalky neck thing, and it’s looking around and it won’t DIE!” With my hands I make stalky neck motions, and lift my chin up like the cockroach did. This makes me cry. “I want it to go away.”
The tone Karen adopts implies that I’m becoming hysterical. I totally am.
“OK,” she soothes. “Alright. Why don’t you get me a trash bag?”
“You’re gonna kill it?”
“I’ll take care of it,” she answers.
I hand her a trash bag, and she takes the vacuum outside. Moments later, she’s back in, cheerfully reporting on how lively the cockroach was. She seems to admire the f**ker’s perseverance.
“Did you kill it?” I ask.
“It’s living out its final days at the bottom of your trash can.”
I don’t quite trust it to not chew its way out of the trash bag, crawl out of the trash can, walk around the outside of my house, and come back in. But I can’t ask more of Karen than what she has done.
“Do you think it had friends with it?” I ask her, “do you think there are more of them in my house?”
“Nooo!” Karen assures me. “I’m sure he was a misanthrope of cockroaches. All the other cockroaches thought he was an asshole. They’re probably saying, ‘Don’t go in THERE! Lenny’s in there, and he’s a real asshole.’ “
And because I’m irrational, that makes me feel much better.