How to Take a Life When You’re a Coward

Possibly one of the reasons I have trust issues is that I once tried to save a carpenter ant off the passenger window of a car and the insect took a bite out of my wrist. My philosophy for dealing with bugs is typically one of “do no harm”—last year, I roomed with a couple thousand sugar ants, and last week, I spent an early morning trapping a roach in a to-go box before gently removing him from the premises.

But last night, as I was out at a karaoke bar for my friend’s birthday, I received a picture from my roommate of a dark blob on what looked like our bathroom wall. Guess what I found when I was going to take a shower, she texted. A SCORPION.

If there’s something that puts a damper on “Africa” by Toto, it’s visualizing facing off in a Nicole v. Scorpion showdown. What were the stakes? Would losing mean dying? Would the scorpion become head of household? Would my assets revert to its name?

roachbattle

I asked Roommate if she needed the can of Raid, to which she responded that the bug was—conveniently—too high up on the ceiling. She affixed a sticky note to the door (“REMINDER-HUGE BUG INSIDE”) before heading to bed. I thought about the scorpion awaiting me once I got home and wondered if we could outlast the bug by never showering again.

When I returned home at 1:30AM with, of course, a full bladder, I tiptoed into the bathroom, staring up at the ceiling. Apparently, what’s infinitely worse than seeing the scorpion in your bathroom is NOT seeing the scorpion in your bathroom. Horror movie material.

This morning at 7AM, I checked the bathroom ceilings again to find nothing. I figured the scorpion might’ve retreated into the crack near the ceiling light, lowered my gaze, and did a double-take.

There was a bug on the floor, and it wasn’t a scorpion. It was a medium-sized roach. I stared at the roach. It stared back at me.

roachgreeting

Usually, if a bug is on me and I can squish it on my skin without a mess, I don’t mind it. But killing anything at least as large as a fly turns my stomach. I’m not positive why I didn’t consider sparing this one, as I’d just relocated a larger roach last week, but this situation felt different. It felt personal. The bathroom is a vulnerable, sacred space, and I couldn’t stand for it to be violated.

So I gathered my materials and knelt in the bathroom doorway, equal parts anguish and revulsion. I positioned myself at an angle around the door, the only exit, in case the bug flew straight out at me. I set my finger on the Raid nozzle, my heartbeat accelerating. Aimed. My finger hesitated. You are capable of murder, I affirmed, gassing myself up for the kill. You are a cold-blooded, merciless—

I started spraying. The roach began to run. Neither of us made a sound.

Our actual dialogue

Me:

Roach:

Our mental dialogue

Me: AAAAAAAUUUUUUUGHHHH

Roach: AAAUUUUUUUUUGGGHHH

I followed it to the edge of the toilet, still spraying. Foamy liquid had begun to pool around the roach, but my finger mashed further into the nozzle. I remember thinking you probably weren’t supposed to drown the bug in Raid, just give it a couple good sprays, but I couldn’t stop. The cockroach started to writhe. I let up.

After the roach stopped twitching, I picked it up with a paper towel and a shudder. Then I flushed it down the toilet and placed my murder materials back onto the hallway shelf. The experience had hollowed me out. I felt different, like I had lost something, and by something I mean my innocence but also my last few brain cells because I’d used and inhaled so much Raid (in a room with little circulation) that I might as well have also been exterminating myself.

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Last time, I decided my goal is to have this humor blog show up when you search “funny blogs to read when bored and on the toilet.” I will also accept “popular personal blogs to read” or “sarcastic blogs about life.” Thus, I’m including all of these phrases at the bottom of every post until at least one comes true.

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4 thoughts on “How to Take a Life When You’re a Coward

  1. I do the same thing when it comes to insects—and critters. At my house we have LOTS of spiders. And, of course, I’m quite afeared of the little bastards. But, so long as they only make my ceilings, particularly at the corners, look like an overwrought Halloween haunted house, eh. . .

    Because I’m too freaked out by poisons, I’m usually forced into action when things get out of hand. Like the ants building a huge mound in the wall by the kitchen sink because it’s been so hot and dry, or the mice in the attic have taken over the kitchen to the point that my dogs are scared of them.

    Hmmm. . .

    I’ve probably admitted WAY too much there. Basically, I’m one of “those” people. And by those people I mean I’m one broken down car and/or kitchen appliance in my yard away from being white trash.

    Anycrap, I’m glad you survived the almost self-fumigation ‘cos I really enjoy your stories. I don’t feel quite so bad being me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is the perfect season for spiders, I suppose… How big are they? What kind of ants? We used to have a ton of sugar ants, but I put out ant bait and most of them are gone at this point. Now, occasionally, I see protein ants, which are giant in comparison. They look like those sugar ants on steroids and it’s possible I don’t know enough science to definitively say they aren’t. And the last line of your comment was touching :’) thank you!

      Like

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