Tuesday, June 27

Battle Fatigue

My grown, married, new father son turned away from his duty as a man. He said he was "afraid" of it. So was his wife. When I looked at it, so was I!Without emotion he replied he doesn't do spiders or roaches.

It was huge - and frolicking round and round inside our pantry sink, his prickly feet creating that familiar staccato that sends a chill down my spine. The irrigation had come today, and sewer roaches sometimes follow. We do live in the desert where water is the gift of life. If, however, the life has 6 legs I would prefer it remain outside. This guy looked like he had acclimated to being indoors. Since my son refused his manly duty, I prepared myself.

Years ago we lived in a double-wide mobile home with evaporative cooling, which is just the perfect environment for truly amazing sewer roaches. They were a hybrid species from some post-holacost society that could resist any and all forms of standard poisons and efforts to repel their entry. Daddy worked late. We were home alone. The roaches would begin their assault after the sun went down on humid, hot summer evenings. You could hear them scratching around inside discarded coke cans in the trash. Their scuttling generated real horror in my heart. The can had to be removed from the trash. This simple procedure might take 3 or 4 attempts - none of us wanted the beast to jump out onto our hand. Once the can was safely out on the kitchen floor, the kids and I were armed with brooms and a breathless few moments of waiting. Eventually the long, probing feelers would gently twitch at the flip-top opening of the coke can. The roach then boldly declared himself by rushing lightning quick out of the can and across the floor.

Batting furiously with our brooms we jumped and screamed like banshees. If we were not successful in beating it to death, it might take flight - there's nothing worse than having a sewer roach fly into your neck. Really. Sometimes the advent of the intruder was only announced by a scream somewhere in the house. We could count on each other to rally to the defense; upending furniture or poking underneath the refridgerator with a yardstick until at last the enemy was exposed and dispatched. The fear of the moment was not as motivating as our desire to protect each other and see it through together.

I never thought I'd look back on those experiences with any fondness, but I did today. The children and I were really a team; all for one and one for all. Sometimes when it was all over we'd just stand over the kill sweating and gasping, our throats sore from screaming, the gross-out factor right off the chart...but we got him. That was all that mattered.

I approached the pantry with a can of bug spray and a feeling of abandonment.


two forks said...

you left out the part where you BROKE A BROOM trying to kill a cockroach and it STILL DIDN'T die!! and the part when that big manly father son of yours ate half of one... or was that leiland...

Maggie May said...

My sister and I used to stand on the bathroom counters spraying hairspray at scorpions, good times really.