Maybe it’s just me but the water in my kitchen smells like worms and the water in my bathroom smells like dust.
I have a story to tell you, and it must be prefaced by this one very important piece of information: My house is clean.
Wednesday night, I bid goodnight to my mother, who was staying in the guest room, and crawled into my comfy bed, outfitted with clean sheets. Safely ensconced, I fell asleep.
A few hours later, in the dead dark of the night, I woke up, not all the way, just enough. I felt a faint brushing on my cheek, and tiredly I swiped at my face. I pulled my blanket up and turned over. A tickle on my forehead and I thought there was a bug, but it moved in time to me rolling over, so maybe it was a hair. I am overly paranoid about bugs. I know this, so I have to actively talk myself out of my bug invasion horror fantasies. I slept.
The next morning I awoke bright and refreshed (or groggy and a little moist from my drool). I wandered out to do my morning activities and even managed to get a robe on, since my mom was in the house. Bladder emptied, email read, and fish fed, I wandered back to the bedroom to get dressed. I was about to pull off my robe when a giant 27-foot-long centipede with 8000 legs came skittering up over my pillow and onto my bed. I screamed and rousted Jen out of the bed with the well known, “CENTIPEDE CENTIPEDE CENTIPEDE!!” call.
It should be interjected here, again, that my house is clean. This time of year, all centipedes decide to give up their dirty hippie lifestyle and join the landed gentry. They like to come inside, where the weather is more agreeable and the predators fewer in number.
Jen flies out of bed, and I remain in panic mode (but still manage to get a robe on her in case my mom comes to investigate), yelling and jumping. My job in situations like this is to scream, shake my hands, and retrieve the vacuum. I accomplished my tasks admirably. Jen’s job is to remain calm, keep an eye on the bug so it doesn’t escape, and suck its sorry ass into the vacuum. While she assures me that the centipede was only 2 inches long, maybe less, I feel she is probably lying to make me feel better, for I know only an insect of monstrous proportions could have bested her and escaped in such a way.
He was gone, hiding in my room, waiting for night to fall again. I dress and leave for work, filled with dread. I remember the incident the night before and I am sure now that he was on my face, violating me as I slept. I picture him sitting in my room that day, vacation brochures spread out in front of him. On each glossy trifold is a picture of my face. My face is a vacation wonderland for the bug world. In my basement, there is a travel agency working non-stop to provide high-end vacation packages to the insect jet-set. I see the photo of my sleeping face, mouth agape, drool streaming endlessly across my pillow. The caption reads, “Charming natural springs provide a soothing place to take a dip, and scenic waterfalls add a once-in-a-lifetime feeling to your romantic getaways”. There are ads for my nose with copy written about spelunking, my ears are invigorating saunas, and I cannot even imagine what my pried-open eyes could provide for these trendy multi-legged hipsters. I am their spongy-fleshed Yellowstone!
The decision is made that when we return home, we will have a quick and light dinner and proceed to tear the entire room apart in search of this quatredecapedal Charles Kuralt. The room is emptied and vacuumed from top to bottom, but he is not found. Jen assures me that he is gone; pictures developed, he has headed home to share his adventures. I am not so sure. I put a bounty on his head: 2 giant cans of tuna fish for the cat that either kills him or traps him so I can kill him. No reward if he escapes. I want to give him a taste of his own medicine, I want to stand on his head and see how much he likes that. Shouldn’t be too hard for him since I only have 2 feet, he has 40.
I go to bed Thursday night, fully aware of how easy it is to be violated and none too happy that the perpetrator is still at large. We have Friday off and have planned a road trip. I concentrate on this. Friday morning, the alarm goes off and I slowly open my eyes to see my cat staring intently at the other side of my night table. Unable to process information, I doze off. She pounces and I am returned to fully functional mode. She’s found the bug, GOOD JOB. I rush off to get the vacuum, this time fully disrobed as my mother has returned home. Jen is moving things around, but cannot find the bug. A few half hearted swipes with the vacuum, and we know it is a lost cause. Suddenly, victory is heavy in the air: Jen spies the wily little fucker trapped in my trash can. The outside is textured, but the inside is smooth; the cat had been stalking him through the side and he had probably been in there the whole time we were cleaning. He was promptly dispatched to vacuum cleaner hell, and someday soon I will have the strength to develop the tiny roll of film I found.