The timing is eerie–and not because I wrote the original post admitting to my commission of Murder One: Beetlecide so close to Halloween. No; my unease is due to the fact that the episode that occurred just days ago is pretty darned close to the anniversary of my previous offense. Surely that has meaning…
Those of you who have been following my blog for a while are aware that I could anthropomorphize a pebble. I try very hard to–at the very least–“live and let live” with the natural world.
In the instance last October, I would have been happy to carry the beetle to a window and send it on its way. The logistics did not permit this pacific act.
The fact that the beetle was climbing among a mound of plastic bags in a corner of my bedroom, however, led me to wonder if it was trying to draw my attention in its teensy way to the existential threat of climate change.
To recap: I used one of those dastardly and way-too-handy vessels to deliver it to its watery grave. After the deed was done, I did wonder about the possibility of retribution by some of its multi-legged peers.
That sets the stage for this week’s encounter. Different venue: this time, the bathroom.
And a vastly different coleoptera (scientific name for insect). This guy was not small and harmless-looking. It was huge, with spiky armor, bulging eyes, and semi-wings that enabled it to hop-hop-hop when I tried to grab it with a large wad of toilet paper.
Three attempts, three hops, and then it was gone. Disappeared. The bathroom’s not that large, but it was nowhere in sight. I’ve written about octopuses and their uncanny ability to squish themselves into tiny crevices; I’m wondering if this entity I’ll call Scary Gargantuan Coleoptera (SGC) had the same ability.
After searching for twenty minutes, I left the bathroom and closed the door. Exercising considerable self-restraint, I did not immediately call upon the Artillery-in-Residence–a kind soul but not given to anthropomorphizing.
But when he arrived (of his own volition, at a time of his choosing), I explained the circumstances. He, too, failed to find “hide nor hair” (both irrelevant, but sometimes a cliche comes in handy) of this displaced Force of Nature.
I won’t pretend I didn’t sleep all night, but I did have a bit of queasiness pondering that SGC, aware that its life was in danger (I know; I’m assuming memory and all that), now had the advantage of a dark bedroom AND bathroom in which to roam/hop about.
The resolution came on the evening of Day Two, when my encounter with SGC had actually faded from my memory…a little. The Artillery-in-Residence, about to step into the shower, said: “There it is!”
And he dispatched it.
The process took a series of maneuvers. The Artillery-in-Residence did not want me to write this essay, so I think he found the execution unsettling. Our compromise was that I am sparing you the details.
I am left to ponder, as is my wont, why I felt so guilty about the little shiny beetle and such relief about the much larger and uglier SGC. Despite its size, I don’t think SGC was a threat to my well-being, though I preferred not to find out by experiencing its pincers.
So this second encounter with the insect world, I’m abashed to say, has overtones of shallowness of character based largely on esthetics. And, of course, the all-important ick factor.
The Artillery-in-Residence, ever supportive of my writing, suggested a fictional piece based on the assumption that SGC somehow survived its ordeal, started its own blog, and is seeking retribution by pincing out stories about a crazy woman armed with plastic bags and her partner-in-crime, who had brought out the entire arsenal.
I immediately intuited that the blog posts would suggest that the subjects both naively believed they had ended these incursions.
And I demurred. Horror stories are not my genre.
But in truth, as SGC was far larger and more menacing than last year’s unwanted visitor, I am not looking forward to what I fear may be our personal “October Surprise” a year from now.