It’s a very odd thing, returning home from work when you live alone. No one is waiting for you. No one wants to talk about how bad traffic was or how you drank too much coffee again and will be up all night again. At least you think no one is there. But I’ll tell you who is there every time I come home. The cockroach. I kill him every night, but the next day, there he is again.
There should be a handbook given to those recently living alone for the first time (similar to the recently deceased). Because this is what they don’t tell you (they being everyone, everyone in the world), when you live alone, no one is going to kill the bugs for you. I’m serious. No one cares.
So when Mr. Cockroach flies out from under that pot you just pulled from the cupboard and you scream and look around for help, you won’t find it. But I still look for help every time, as if I’m in a David Lynch film and a man in a cowboy hat is going to appear in the corner of the kitchen. I wish.
When it first started happening, like I said, I would scream and assume someone would come running (disappointment). Mr. Cockroach and I had our first stand off. There was nothing in reach for me to kill him with. There is never anything in reach when you want to kill a cockroach. At least not for me, because I can only kill a cockroach from a certain distance. In other words, I can’t get anywhere near the thing. So we stood there, staring at each other. He wasn’t going to move while I was there and I wasn’t going to move because, well, I just wasn’t. So we stared. But then he broke his promise. He ran under the stove. He was so fast, I couldn’t believe it. I was never going to catch him so I accepted we were going to be living together. I thought about names for him…Steve, Bob, Randy.
Randy broke his promise again. I thought it was just going to be us. But Randy had friends. And Randy (or Randy’s friends, they’re very hard to tell apart) would show their faces within the first ten minutes of my arrival home in the evening. I was never prepared for a kill. Like I said, nothing was ever in reach. So we would stare at each other and they always broke their promise and ran away.
I was never going to find the courage to kill.
3 weeks ago during a stand-off I said to Randy, “I’m going to kill you.” He ran away immediately.
The next night, there Randy was, behind the coffee pot. A genius idea came to me. The bleach spray, under the sink. It sprays, so the distance between you and the bug is still relatively far, and it had to kill him, bleach kills everything. It’s genius.
I sprayed Randy. He fell to the counter, a dramatic victim. But then I turned my back and he was gone. How could it be? Isn’t he like a snail, ready to dissolve at one, two sprays of this cleaner? Wrong again.
The next night Randy was in the dirty dishes (another living alone-ism). This time I grabbed the bleach and I drowned him. Probably went through about an 8th of the bottle, but Randy wasn’t going anywhere. I held a small, but quaint funeral by placing a paper towel over him and continuing to watch Twin Peaks. I felt so very accomplished. Living alone has it’s small, beautiful triumphs.
But then the next night. No. It couldn’t be. One of Randy’s cousins is in the bathroom cabinet. In my make up brushes. I will never use those brushes again. I screamed and looked for help, as usual, then hit the wall near him to get him away from the brushes. He fell out of the cabinet and behind the faucet. A very tricky crevice. I didn’t have my bleach spray. Of course I didn’t. But then I spotted it, yes, the Shout! Detergent spray. A cousin to the bleach. I drowned Randy’s cousin in Shout!. And I swear on the baby Jesus he screamed. I know what I heard and it was even scarier than watching him run. I took a moment, collected my emotions, and continued spraying. I had to stand my ground. All I have is this studio!
R.I.P. Randy’s cousin.
When I told my mother about Randy (and his cousins) she asked if I was leaving food out. I said no, no food, Randy is mostly hiding in cupboards. My mother’s response, “typical.” She must know Randy very well.
And after all that, you want to know what I found in my coffee cup the following morning? It rhymes with Shmandy’s Shmother Shmusin.