North Carolina is home to many wonders.
– Last of the Mohicans was filmed here. Meaning that Daniel Day-Lewis was here at some point. Which is wondrous.
– UNC is the very first public university in the nation (new fact for the arsenal, glad to have an opportunity to share).
– the beach
– the mountains
And lots of other stuff.
It is also home to a super-species of cockroach. Roughly the size of a hamster only much quicker and more diabolical, these land monsters loiter on sidewalks confident that their substantial size and my all-consuming fear will protect them from harm. They scamper around in darkened stairwells, skitter across ceilings and occasionally drop unexpectedly from the sky just for giggles. I have been chased down the street by one. It was later explained that it probably craved my shadow, but this information didn’t concern me. What did concern me was that it was doing a stellar job of keeping up and I was most definitely double-timing it.
I hate them. They disgust me. They should all die. It offends me that, in the event of an apocalypse, I (being wonderful) would be obliterated and they (being horrible) would thrive.
So when one shimmeyed across the ceiling of my bathroom, the sacred place where I go to clean myself, I interpreted this as a clear and present declaration of war and responded in kind. This particular cockroach was the corn-fed mama-jama mothership. Easily the size of my pinky not including it’s tentacally antennae, it was not going to go down with a delicate slap of a carefully aimed flip-flop. Nor would I be able to throw a book at it and be able to count upon victory. (I once threw a paperback copy of Lake Woebegon Days at a water bug, the kind with billions of legs, that was chilling on the wall out of reach. Miraculously, the front cover connected with the wall with the full force of 300 odd pages behind it and killed the bug instantaneously. There are witnesses to this. Maybe you had to be there, but it was amazing.)
While standing on top of the bath-tub rim, not screaming, I surveyed the tools at hand. Lots of prissy bottles, all of which had a divett on the bottom under which a cockroach could crouch and survive an initial attack only to scamper away once I’d removed the bottle. Leaving the bottle on top of the cockroach forever was only an option if the cockroach migrated to the floor, which it did not seem interested in doing. There were also a couple of brushes, a flat iron and a hairdryer.
My sister Melis recently returned from Italy bearing many gifts. One of which was a little statuette of a chariot with a nice sturdy flat base. It sits on my dresser right outside of the bathroom and (sorry, Melis), has already been implicated in the brutal massacre of several bugs. It’s very pretty on its’ own, but the dual purpose takes it from good to great. I lunged for it and then waited for the roach to sidle within range. This took awhile during which time my anxiety grew.
When desperate to kill a bug, I can sometimes really over-do it. Not wanting to punch holes in the side of my bathroom wall, through which yet more roaches could potentially crawl, I gently put the little statuette down and instead reached for the lysol and hairspray. To calculate how many of my own braincells were sacrificed in the killing of this one cockroach would be a depressing and pointless enterprise. I will have needed those braincells to do the math. I unloaded some Lysol at it first and, to my delight, it moved from an unreachable corner and down further on an opposite wall. To my great dismay, it spread wings to accomplish this. I then employed the hairspray figuring that maybe it would get sticky? And find it difficult to spread the wings that God should never have given it in the first place? This deadly cocktail did temporarily immobilize it, it fell to the floor and then I killed it hella dead with the little statue. Without punching holes in the floor.
That’s one for mankind! A little light-headed, but victorious.