So you know what they say about cockroaches surviving nuclear holocausts and living for years without their heads? I don't know about the first part, but I believe the second. Now.
Two days ago, I was lounging in my bed, reading about attribution theory, when I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. I glanced over the side and saw a cockroach lying dead on the floor, toothpick legs scrunched against his chest.
Now, I pause for a moment to relate to you my deep-seated terror of cockroaches. It's not a phobia, because my fear is completely rational. Cockroaches are the literal spawn of the devil. Their eyes gleam with malice. They dream of soaking your house with gasoline, then running unharmed through the flames to slaughter your children and grandparents with hatchets. So it's really no wonder I'm terrified of them.
I jerked back onto my bed, beginning to hyperventilate. A cockroach. On the floor. In my room. I peered over the edge of the bed. It lay there, motionless. Dead. My breaths came in quick bursts, all inhales and I made an effort to slow them. I looked back over at the lifeless villain. I stared at his corpse, collapsed in on itself in death, until I could breath again. Then I took my trusty orange bug-squashing cup and tip-toed over to him, preparing to jump back if he moved. Nothing. I thrust the cup over his body and left the room. I'll take care of it later, I thought. No need to overexert myself today.
The orange cup sat like a traffic cone by my bed for more than a day. Finally, Staci and I returned from a jaunt to Panera this evening. I peered in my room, bed stacked with books and binders, a laundry basket on the floor. "Soo. . . I have a dead cockroach," I told her. "I can't move it." I looked at her with pleading eyes. She collected a wad of tissue from the bathroom and ventured in my room to investigate. I stood in the hallway, hands clasped.
It was quiet for a moment, then--"Augh!"
I jumped. "What? What is it? What happened?!" Fear iced through my spine.
"Uh. . ." She sounded distracted. "You might want to stay back," she cautioned.
I began to tremor and retreated into the kitchen where Heidi was washing a bowl. I stood ramrod straight, holding my arms tightly. She looked at me oddly and I shuffled my feet.
I waited for a few minutes then, hearing scuffling sounds, I ventured a few steps back into the hallway. "Stace?" I called.
"Um. . . So. . . is it a zombie? Is it loose in my room?"
"Uh--you're only right about one of those." Her head popped up from behind my bed and she emerged from the room holding a ball of crumpled toilet paper.
I backed away. "Uh, he's not loose in my room?"
"So he's a ZOMBIE?!"
". . . yes," she said hesitantly as she flushed the monster down the toilet.
I wanted to see, but I knew it might give me a panic attack. I instead stayed in the hall and asked, "How?!"
"I pulled off the cup and he ran out. He was really fast!"
"But I got him to run in circles, and then I squished him and his head popped off."
My face contorted into a grimace. "Euhh!"
"And then both halves were still moving." Staci glanced into the toilet and flushed it again. "And now he won't flush."
After that, Staci went to bed and I crept hesitantly back into my room, checking every corner for the lurking beasts. "How did he get in here?" I kept whispering. Finally, seeing no more insects from hell, I settled down on my computer. As I opened my email, I heard a buzzing sound above my head. I glanced up and groaned. "Great," I muttered to the owl on my desk. "Now I have a bee on my ceiling."