By C.L. Beck
It was six inches long, with wiggly antennae. We were on vacation, in a hotel. Russ was asleep with a cold, and I was in a stand-off with Mother Nature.
“Russ, get up. There’s a giant bug.”
“Squash it,” Russ mumbled.
Squash it? Its itty-bitty eyes were tracking my every move!
“We’re in a five-star hotel. We shouldn’t have to squish anything.” Then my scientific nature kicked in. “What kind of bug is that?” I squinted. The bug would have to have been the size of the Empire State building for me to identify it without my glasses. But if I could get a little closer, that might help. I crept forward and it scurried under the sofa—but not before I had a chance to identify it and scream, “Aack!”
Russ snored and I realized a man who was sick enough to sleep through my screaming really needed his rest.
“Russ, wake up. It’s a disgusting cockroach. What should we do?”
What I had in mind was calling the bomb squad to roust the bug. Russ opened his blurry eyes and said, “Ignore it and go to sleep.”
“Who in their right mind can sleep with a monster cockroach in their room?”
“I can,” Russ said. He rolled over and started snoring. What had happened to the man who promised at the alter to love, cherish, and defend me from killer bugs?
Over my years of schooling, I’ve learned many things about cockroaches. Things a person should never have to know and that I won’t repeat because they’ll just freak you out. But the most important piece of knowledge was gained living in an apartment in Maryland. If you turn out the lights, cockroaches creep from their hiding places. When the lights are turned back on, some of them fly at you.
I flicked off the light, then flipped it back on. The bug had come out of hiding and was staring at me from the floor, daring me to eliminate it.
Grabbing a sandal, I shrieked and chased it around the room. It scuttled behind the sofa, along the wall, behind the drapes, but I kept chasing. I threw another shoe in front to block it, and it stopped next to our bed. “Die, you lousy bug!” I yelled, bringing the sandal down.
Russ leaned up on one elbow and in a sleep-muffled voice said, “Did you get it?”
I had no clue. Either it was under my shoe or under our bed. And if it was under my shoe, was it dead? I tilted the shoe. The bug waved its antennae at me. I pushed down hard and it made a sound that can only be described as … well, you don’t want to know what it sounded like, but let me say it was now dead.
The next morning, I suggested we call the management and inform them of the cockroach. Russ waved the hotel information card. “This says we’re in a tropical area and we might see tropical bugs. If so, we’re supposed to call the front desk and they’ll be happy to take care of the problem.”
The management wasn’t fooling me. I knew what that meant. They’d send someone up with a shoe.