Lindsay and Clare came to visit me, and I remembered why I loved art school so much. Not only because my entire occupation in school was to study art and make things, not only because I had access to a real live darkroom, but also because I had friends around who loved making art as much as I do. I was so happy to see my dear friends, and we three photographers had a fantastic time exploring Jax, taking pictures and generally catching up with each other.
One evening while we sat about chatting after a lovely dinner at my home, we spotted him. He had been lurking at the top corner of my beautiful cathedral ceiling for days, out of my reach, his disgusting brown body tucked into a corner. His whole being screamed of germy germs and general ickyness, and there he was, just chillin! How offensive! How dare he! I declared to the girls that as soon as he dared to venture down to a more reasonable level, I would kill him. We dubbed him Henry, and agreed that he must die, and soon.
Henry’s slimy self was a cockroach (Notice I use past tense, so you can rest assured that victory was mine. I wouldn’t want you to worry about my safety for the whole story). He was twenty inches long and gross gross gross. Discussion about Henry the Cockroach prompted other cockroach stories, the kind that anyone blessed to live in a tropical climate has experienced at some point. These evolved into deliberations about how to roust Henry from his cozy corner, thus engaging him in the battle to his death. But Henry sensed his end was at hand, and while I was washing dishes I heard the girls proclaiming that he was making his way down. He crawled halfway down the ceiling, just above my reach on a ladder.
We surrounded the little sucker and prepared for our attack. The ever dutiful hostess, I armed Lindsay with a broom and Clare with a shoe and on a count of three we directed Lindsay to sweep Henry the Enemy off the ceiling. But Henry had a surprise move, and at this point pure chaos ensued. Instead of dropping straight to the floor, Henry fluttered through the air (if you can call what a cockroach does ‘fluttering’) and flew straight for my face. Three grown woman in a room with a flying cockroach sounds like an entire movie theater filled with screaming children watching a highly inappropriate horror film. Lindsay and Clare immediately fled the room upon Henry’s counter-attack. Entirely abandoned by my allies, I went into ninja mode and KNOCKED THAT SUCKER STRAIGHT OUT OF THE AIR! That’s right, I ninja-slapped that bug down, then proceeded to beat the tar out of him. Because one does not kill roaches with a mere tap.
Yes, yes, I understand that it’s ridiculous that a bug that is relatively small compared to the size of an adult human inspires such fear in the hearts of women. In my case, the fear is accompanied by rage. I’ve observed living in homes over the years with dear friends and family that every home has a hierarchy of bug killing. This is the order in which people are tasked to kill critters in the home based on who is available at the time. When I lived with my parents, I was at the bottom of the hierarchy. It’s the job of parents to protect you from germy bugs. I have a beloved husband who allows me to remain at the bottom of the hierarchy. He dutifully kills things when he is around. However, in other cases, I tend to be higher up on the hierarchy. This is not because of my ninja-esque bravery, or anti-Franciscan tendencies, but because of my overabundance of imagination. I know that if I personally see to it that Henry and others like him are removed from my beloved home, they cannot crawl down to walk all over me in the middle of the night, and my precious baby angel cat will not eat them. So be ever vigilant, my fellow ninjas! Our war against the Henrys of the world is far from over.