There was a bug in the bedroom.
I don’t mean a mosquito, or a pesky fly. I mean there was a huge, black, antenna’d, angrily protesting bug in my room whose sole purpose was to terrify me. If I were to make an educated guess, I’d estimate he was about 16 feet long.
I first saw him last week, when I entered the room to put clothes away. I keep the door shut to my bedroom, because Steely Dan eats clothes,
and there’s a giant walk-in closet in my bedroom, a walk-in closet the beige-loving person who owned this house before me added. Despite the 10 years it’s taken to eradicate the brass-n-beige extravaganza in which she left this house, I could kiss her flush on the mouth for that yeah-you’re-charming-with-your-1950s-touches-but-fuck-this-postage-stamp expansion of the closet.
Anyway, to me it’s a convenient walk-in closet. To Steely Dan it’s a smorgasbord. So, door shut. At all times.
The normal cats used to love to go in there and sleep under the clothes, on top of the suitcases, so they were completely hidden. There’re also shelves of linens, perfect for curling into a furry circle and purring. And it’s the warmest room in the house, as she added a heat vent, the Beige-Lover did, for that small-ish space.
But all that’s done now. Because at first I’d see SD in there and think, How cute. He loves the closet too. And then every item I pulled from there was Flashdance.
So the room was dark when I opened the door a few days ago to put clothes away, a day that was as tragic as the clothes-putting-away scene in La Bamba.
As I made my way to the closet, I thought I saw some…scurrying.
“ACK!” I screeched, and looked nervously but didn’t find anything. I hung the clothes in the closet, one eye cocked to the side, like a flounder. Looking out the side of my head for whatever scurried. Had it just been one of my many hallucinations? I certainly hoped so.
As I made my way to leave the bedroom, there he was. On the wall. It was like someone had mounted a black horned boat to my wall–you couldn’t miss him.
“ACK!” I screeched, and when giant bugs report back in their Giant Bug Newsletter, they must describe my house as R3sid3nc3 W!th ACK L@dy.
I started at it, horrified, my hand to my throat as if any second it could leap over at me with its bug shiv.
It waggled one antenna at me teasingly.
“ACK!” I screeched as I shut the door.
Look. I’ve lived alone now, excluding my year abroad, for five years. I’ve learned how to take off doorknobs and put new ones back on. I’ve learned minor dishwasher repair. I can snake a drain and pay all my bills. But I cannot deal with bugs. I cannot. If they’re on the floor, I am happy to drop a dictionary on them and then pounce on said dictionary several times and leave the book there for, oh, nine days.
I literally make the bugs eat my words.
But if it’s on a wall, no.
You can’t make me.
So, I did what any adult would do; I shut the door to the bedroom and slept sheetless, in the guest bed with Edsel. For four days. (Because the sheets are in the closet. Of the bug room.)
I also threw Iris in there, in the hopes she’d just murder it. It was my version of free extermination.
I had clean clothes in my dryer, so I lived off those for several days. Hey, who needs that bedroom, really?
The other night, I flicked on the bathroom light, and?
GODDAMMIT HE ESCAPED. HE ESCAAAAAAAPED. And I only have the one bathroom.
Could I move into the Y temporarily? Could I get a gun? I thought of Scarlett O’Hara. She did murder. She must have been almost as scared of that Yankee as I was that bug. Couldn’t I get myself together? Vomit a radish and gather up my strength?
Finally, it dawned on me. I could buy bug spray! It wouldn’t be pretty, but at least I could kill it from a distance, as Bette Midler would say.
As I was on my way to get bug spray later that afternoon, I saw it. Dead. In the living room. He’d given up the tentacled ghost on his own, and all I had to do was wait him out. I got up my nerve and the vacuum, and swept him up, ACK!-ing the entire time.
I’m back in my room now.
I can’t wait till winter gets here.