Not a hammer-hit-the-floor-thud or a someone-just-jumped-someplace thud. None of that; no. An exoskeletal “thum”; contact between my tiled floor and a member of the order Blattodea. You see, I was lying peacefully on my bed, and my phone was ticking time away to my deadline beside me. I was on a reading schedule, trying commit three chapters of J. A. Atanda’s An Introduction to Yoruba History to memory within two hours. There was definitely no time to play villainous-human-killing-fat-helpless-albeit-intruding-insect, so I did some internal focus pep-talk:
Hmmm. All my enemies! The day I have no time to fool around is the exact one some fool cricket decides it’s too cold to stay outside and forgets it’s too fat to successfully climb into my room without falling down. We are not bothering with it. The Bible did say “thou shall not kill” after all.
Deliberately I turned around and faced the window; away from the potential sight of the unfortunate cricket, whenever it got around to getting its fat behind up and crawling. I was anticipating temptation and virtuously self-guarding against the occasion of sin. You know, like Adam should have done by running far from Eve after he said “No thank you” when she offered the apple; before she probably threatened and maybe seduced him with what we would never know. Anyway, I digress. To make myself temptation proof, I plugged my earphones in and set my playlist to Enya. Something about her weeping lyrics begging May It Be always aids the associative process and seduces my amygdala and hippocampus into embracing pages of information (please pay for that reading and memory-retention hack).
“May it be an evening star shines down upon you”
I closed my eyes for a bit, then smiled. The ‘intruder’ had been forgotten.
Some minutes and many repeats later, my peripheral vision caught a moving flat black thing. Enya had lulled my reflex, so it took a little longer than a second for my body to get the message from my brain.
Moving Blattidea. In our room. We don’t like.
Grudgingly, my eyes looked away from the book; tracing the migration of Oduduwa’s progeny and subsequent establishment of Yoruba kingdoms had been interesting. I had even drawn a pretty nice sketch on my bedsheet to visually trail the establishment of the kingdoms. I had been too lazy to reach for the drawing book. Lazily my eyes followed the moving black spot on the wall; it seemed in no hurry to go wherever it was headed. Matter of fact, it stopped moving altogether; comfortable in its spot at the junction where two walls met, very close to the ceiling.
That was no cricket. It looked too familiar, too flat, too happy with itself and comfortable in its new spot to be a cricket. I sat up yoga-style, and stretched behind me to where I had dumped my glasses after a day of seeing through them. Glasses secured in its seat atop my nose, I blinked once, twice, adjusting to the clarity of vision imposed on me by my curiosity about the too-happy moving black spot on my bedroom wall.
Frustrated hands thumped on my bed. Sitting yoga-style apparently wasn’t sufficient condition for the imposition of the famed meditative calm. I couldn’t tell if it was a Periplaneta Americana, Blatta orientalis, Blattela germanica, or any other of their family members; but it sure was a cockroach. A fat, happy, comfortable, dark cockroach high on the wall in my room; perhaps just waiting for me to sleep so it could pose atop my head and poop straight in my slack mouth. Hell no!
Fiery avenger of my room’s integrity, I reached to the floor to grab a slipper; eyes locked on the cockroach so it didn’t disappear (they have survival instincts which detect angry, murderous humans and help them escape in nanoseconds). Slipper in hand, I stood on my bed, then hoisted myself on the window burglary to kill the offending bug. I balanced on the burglary, checked out angles for some seconds to get the perfect hit, then…
“What the hell!”
The cockroach flew! It F.L.E.W! Damn thing had actual wings that fluttered, raised it into the air, and took it far from me faster than its family members with only legs! And Lord knows those ones are fast enough and hard to kill.
I realized I was on the floor. I had no memory of deciding to climb down from the burglary or actually climbing down. Matter of fact, I was on the floor and a safe distance away from the cockroach. I didn’t bother to analyse what had happened or why; everyone knows a cockroach with wings changes everything. Don’t get it twisted though; I was not scared of a cockroach with wings or anything like that. No. My adrenal gland just secretes the special kind of adrenaline that moves the body more in flight than fight; and that without any permission.
Watching -heart racing and feet at the ready- the bug no longer looked like a cockroach to me. It looked like a fearless terrorist with hidden wings, unknown intentions, and dangerous capabilities. So I began this monologue; different versions of which I have had ever time I was confronted with a flying cockroach.
But, why would a cockroach have wings that can actually fly? Not to be blasphemous but, com’on God! Cockroaches that fly was a bad, really very bad design. That’s like cockroaches that work out! They are buff, fearless, and be carrying on like they’ve got swag. They fly around when we’re about to kill them, frustrate the hell out of us, and have no bones with flying towards us sometimes. Hell! They often fly around us like icing on cake; just for fun. We are their amusement. That’s just wrong.
The tirade got me energized for #MissionKillAFlyingCockroach. I started moving slowly towards it, you know, real slow like in Matrix when Keanu Reeves was dodging those many bullets. Anyway, I was almost within striking distance when the cockroach turned and looked at me. Straight in the eyes. The next second, I heard my room door shut and realised I was on its other side. It must have been that flighty adrenaline again. Anyway, I went to the sitting room, where I realised my wrapper and pillow were tucked under my left armpit. I had no memory of putting them there, but it was a good thing they were available. I curled up on the couch, covered myself up, grabbed a throw pillow to cuddle, and closed my eyes. All night long.