When we arrived back home in Florida after our trip to Chicagoland, I discovered a squatter living in my house (or more specifically, my bedroom). A giant (the only size they come in) Palmetto bug (Floridians call flying cockroaches Palmetto bugs, but giving them a cute name doesn’t change the fact that they’re FLYING COCKROACHES) was on the ceiling of my room. There was NO way on earth I was going to go to sleep with that thing in my room. It was the size of a Buick and it looked like it was hungry enough to eat my face off.
I screamed for Austin, my 6’2″, bug-squishing son, and begged him to inflict painful death upon the hideous creature that I’m convinced is the result of a horrible experiment that backfired when God was creating the world. Austin glanced up at my vaulted ceiling and shook his head. “I can’t reach it,” he said, walking away.
“But what if it kills me in my sleep?” I wailed after my retreating son.
“Sucks to be you,” he replied as he disappeared into his room. What kind of son would leave his own dear mother at the mercy of a flesh-eating insect the size of Detroit?
“Some kind of hero you turned out to be!” I yelled at the closed door to his teen-cave.
When I heard nothing but the sound of his music blasting in response, I got desperate.
“Austin, seriously!” I threw open his door and demanded, “You have to get that bug!”
“How am I supposed to reach it?” he asked.
“I don’t know! A ladder! Use a broom and knock it down! Or fling something at it! Yeah, throw something at it and when it falls, stomp on it!”
Austin gave an exasperated sigh and trudged back to my room. He grabbed a sleeping bag that had been discarded on my floor when we unloaded the van and flung it up towards the bug. I ran around the corner and hid, lest the bug figure out it was me who was instigating his removal, and come after me, its fangs bared.
After a couple swipes with the sleeping bag, the bug which was supposed to fall to the ground helplessly, flew. It FLEW! It flew right at Austin who did some sort of Matrix manuever, leaning back out of its path. As this was happening, I was involuntarily jumping up and down, flapping my arms, and screaming loudly enough to break glass. And awaken neighbors. And summon the police. I hid in my closet while continuing to scream, “Get it! Get it! Ohmygosh, GET IT!!!” I’d like to say that I’m one of those women who can squish a bug. But I’m not. I’m one of those women who screams like a little girl and hides.
He could fly up my nose in my sleep and eat my brain!
The bug flew to my bed and burrowed under the blankets. Oh great, it probably just laid a bunch of demon-bug eggs in my pillow. Now I’ll have to burn my bed, I thought. Austin poked at my blankets and searched my bed, but came up empty-handed.
“I can’t find it, Mom.” He started to walk away.
“Noooooooo! You have to find it! Now he’s mad! There’s no telling what he’ll do! He’ll probably come back with a thousand of his closest relatives for a picnic of human flesh! He could fly up my nose in my sleep and eat my brain!”
Austin rolled his eyes and kept searching. “I found it! It’s behind your bed.”
“Get it!” I instructed, peeking out from my hiding place.
“I can’t reach it back there,” he protested.
“Get a big stick or something!” I said, proud of myself for having such brilliant ideas.
I quickly leapt from my hiding spot and half-ran, half-stumbled out the door of my room in search of a stick. I returned momentarily with my Swiffer. I peered around the corner to make sure the coast was clear, then thrust the sweeper in the general direction of Austin.
“I already got it,” he said, declining to take the mop.
“I don’t believe you,” I said in a crazed manner. “You’re just saying you got it so you can go back to your room and I’ll leave you alone. It’s still lurking in here, isn’t it?” I insisted.
“No, I really got it,” Austin insisted.
“Show me the carcass!” I demanded sounded like a deranged mental patient on bath salts.
Austin instructed me to follow him as he walked to the bathroom and opened the toilet, the wad of tissues in his hand poised over the bowl. He dropped the handful into the toilet and as the water started to swirl, I saw the demon-bug being sucked down into the plumbing.
But it wasn’t the end. Oh no, my friends, it was not the end. This guy’s cousin came to torment me today and it nearly resulted in a car collision. Check back tomorrow to hear that story.
If you liked this, here are some more favorites from Dawn.