Back to the story.
This was not the first time that I had seen la cucaracha in my apartment. Unfortunately for me it was the second.
Flashback to 3 weeks after I’ve moved into my apartment. I have no furniture, very few possessions, but I am living in an apartment that I own. It is painted wonderful colors and I feel a comfort in it. I move through my apartment as master of my domain, king of the castle. I walk into the kitchen to the utter shock of seeing a cucaracha the size of a Hyundai on my kitchen counter. My arms instinctively shoot into my sides as though I just touched a scalding iron and I say aloud, “OOO GROSS!”
I am a statue of fear. If I were a sculpture my title would be “The Willies,” because that is what I have. I am frozen until la cucaracha makes a run for it. Then I REALLY lose my shit. I run for a weapon.
I grab my dust mop with the 5 foot retractable handle (macho right?) and by this time this son of a bitch has run behind a dish. I’ve never seen another creature run this fast. He is not a cucaracha, he is the Flash. If there were a cucaracholympics he would win all of the medals. He is a tremendous athlete. He is Usain Bolt. He is the Michael Phelps of gross.
I can’t see the hidden beast, so I smack the counter with my mop. He darts out and runs toward me. I almost fall down backwards over myself trying to get away. He is charging at me. I grab a new weapon because I can’t kill him with a dust mop, I can only… dust him. He runs onto the floor. I grab my slipper (also very macho) and I raise it above my head as I imagine Moses held the 10 commandments above his head. (In a lot of ways I am like Moses, here to bring the commandments to this creature. Commandment number 1, thou shall not crawl on my kitchen counter. Commandment number 2, DIE you sonovabitch!)
I bring the slipper of justice down like I’m trying to ring the bell with a sledgehammer at a carnival game. BAM! The cucaracha has died a gruesome death. I am victorious. But now it is a bitter sweet victory, I have a permanent case of paranoid schizophrenia.
Here is what it is like to have seen la cucaracha in your apartment. You don’t trust anything. You want to glue everything closed, shut, sealed up completely. Nowhere is safe. You open every door with an 8 foot stick. You don’t get down on your knees for any reason because that might bring you within striking distance of la cucaracha. And lord knows that based on the size of these things, they probably carry switch blades and pepper spray. You want to dress in full medieval renaissance jousting armor.
I deduce that my intruder entered through the pipes under my sink. Keep in mind the fact that my kitchen is the size of a phone booth. It is claustrophobic to begin with. Add in the threat of foreign beasts, and it becomes suffocating. The last thing I want to do is spend more than 3 consecutive seconds in this room.
So I go to Home Depot (which is its' own kind of hell) and buy an expanding foam to fill up the cracks. Before I can even enter my kitchen I smack the walls and shout to alert any unwanted guests that I am coming hoping they won’t jump out at me.
I am on my hands in the cabinets under my sink and knees filling cracks with expanding stuff and then covering that with 4 layers of duct tape. The whole time my heart is pounding and I am literally dripping sweat. My head is on a constant swivel. Where is he? Where does he come from? Is he close? Oh my god I want out of this kitchen, GET ME OUT OF THIS KITCHEN!
This security system I am creating just seems useless. He’s so tiny yet so large. I have no idea how to stop him.
In fact, I would rather see a tiger in my apartment. A fully grown
Bengal tiger with teeth and claws. Even if I walked into my apartment wearing a suit made entirely of antelope meat, and there was a tiger perched on my couch I would be less afraid than seeing la cucaracha in the middle of my living room. Because a tiger, you know “oh ok, this tiger is going to kill me, that’s fine.” With la cucaracha, all you know is you will be creeped out for as long as you are alive. Oh la cucaracha is cunning.
So flash forward to present day. I am standing over my tub with a twitching Barry Bonds. I contemplate letting him just slowly die until morning. But then I imagine the god awful thought of waking up the next morning and finding the tub empty and the panic that would follow. I can’t even imagine what I’d do. Actually I do know, I would set my apartment on fire and leave the country.
So I must assassinate Barry Bonds. But no hand to hand combat. I go and get my swiffer mop. And from 4 feet away I precisely and violently attempt to sever him in half.
I do not sever him, I only crush him some.
And he twitches some more.
And I cry.
I stab him about… 39 more times. He never REALLY stops twitching. So I grab a dust pan and sweep him into it while swearing and shivering like the weenie that I am. It takes me another 4 minutes to get him into the dustpan because I don't want to accidentally fling him at myself and suffer a heart attack. After I succeed in corralling him, I walk with him at arms length to bedroom where I promptly throw him out my 6th story window. My pulse drops, my body relaxes. The scoreboard is Richard 2, Cucarachas 0.
And yet, I do not feel like I have won because this always happens just when you’re feeling safe. But now I can never feel safe. In my daily life, I am very paranoid of bugs. If a leaf lands on my neck, I freak out. Loose thread in my shirt? I shriek like a girl. My blood pressure has been permanently elevated to record setting heights.
Alas I can do nothing for now, so if you’ll excuse me I have to return to the fortress of solitude. Otherwise known as a thin jersey sheet hiding a very terrified 25 year old boy in a queen sized bed. God I wish I were a man.