Tuesday, July 20, 2010
To set the stage, we recently moved to Little Rock. I'm sure we'll say more about that later (I'm actually not sure at all. YOU WILL GET WHAT WE GIVE YOU AND LIKE IT), but just know that we've rented a nice little house.
We had been here for two days. The first day was "Moving Day," in the which I, with the help of two guys from church, moved all of our earthly possessions into our house. The second was "Soreness Day," in which I was sore in pretty much every muscle I have. It was also the first day of unpacking, a long and arduous process that is only doable because you know that eventually you will run out of boxes to unpack. Hell will be an eternal house full of eternal boxes that you must unpack, clean, organize, arrange, and make homey. Then you move on to the next room...FOREVER.
We were retiring for the night. Meagan went to get a pre-slumber drink. Suddenly I hear her call me to look at something. I join her in the dark kitchen, wondering what I'm supposed to be seeing. She tries to point something out, but I don't see anything. Then something moves. Quickly. She turns the light on, but it's already escaped to the dark underworld from whence it came.
"That," she said, "was a gigantic cockroach."
"...Neat!" said I, uncertain as to what else we should do at that point.
The answer? Wait for another visitation.
The next night I went out to the kitchen, in which I had fortuitously left a light on. And there he sat, perched atop our kitchen sink in all his glory.
His shiny-carapaced six-legged, holy-crap-that-is-a-big-cockroach glory.
You might be shouting "SMASH HIM!" at your computer right now. It's probably what I should have done. But something in me needed to preserve this moment. A mason jar was fetched. I comically tried to shoo the roach into it. Cartoon hilarity ensued.
Finally, I managed to trap the roach under my jar. He ran about its circumference for a moment, but then realized that he had no options left. He paused and looked at me.
At least I think he did. I didn't see his tiny little eyes or anything. Let's say he looked at me. It makes the moment more profound.
For some reason, I wanted him to live. Maybe it was the fact that I felt bad about chopping off one of his majestic antennae in the trapping process. The reason I told myself was that I needed to demonstrate the problem to my landlord, and that this would be an indisputable method of illustration.
Whatever the reason, I decided to turn the jar over and put a top on it. But it had to be something that would let him breathe. Roaches breathe, right? Probably!
I grabbed a piece of paper and secured it over the top of the jar. I watched as the roach tried to skitter up the sides, failing each time. He would right himself, scratch at the side, and then fall again. Surely, I thought, there's no way out. I punched a few air holes in the paper and went to bed.
The next morning, Meagan and I woke up. We went about our morning routine in a usual way, until I asked, "Say, did you see the jar on the counter?"
"Yeah," she replied, "I was meaning to ask you what was up with that."
"Is that not a gigantic roach?!" I enthused.
"...There....was no roach in that jar."
My blood ran chill.
"Oh no." I muttered. "He ESCAPED! AND HE'S MAD!"
I went to the kitchen to find that somehow, the cockroach had managed to not only reach the top of the jar, but to chew a hole through the paper I had affixed.
A big, cockroach-wide hole.
Truly these creatures will outlive us all.
Now for the odd part: Ever since the Day of the Empty Jar, we haven't seen this cockroach. My wife wanted to name him James, but I find the name a bit banal for such a survivor. Whatever he's done, he has managed to avoid my wrath. I like to think that he chewed through the paper and before escaping looked in the direction of my bedroom and said something to the effect of, "Nice try," but then, realizing that I would not be so kind next time, retreated, figuring that there were other kitchens out there, a whole frontier that was utterly unaware of his presence. These greener pastures, he thought, would be his home.
In reality, he probably found his way into my bag of flour and I'll someday find him and all his relatives. Who knows? The cockroach is a wily beast, full of surprise and mystery.