Sunday, April 30, 2006

Brief Encounter

Reading this made me remember my first I account with cockroaches whilst living abroad. Arebella has tried to fool us that the troublesome bugs of Florida aren't cockroaches, but I know better. I've seen these things.

Arranged in multiple shades of brown, from something reminiscent of 1970s Ford tawny metallic, much beloved of granddad's old Granada and a trendy dad's capricious Capri (both with yuckity yuck vinyl roofs) to shit brown, and all its turdy hue variations; these things are brutes.

Living in downtown Limassol in Cyprus as opposed to seeking little-England sanctuary within one of the Sovereign Base Areas, meant hanging out with the locals. It meant speaking fractured Greek with exaggerated gesticulations, staring at the funny tourists, firing up kebab trays on your veranda for every meal, drinking gallons of liver wrecking cheap dreggy red wine with your goaty-meat meal and making yourself ill with pints of sweet commandaria. And living side by side with plagues of cockroaches. It came with the deal, you just went along with it.

The first time I saw one - one of these cockroaches - I was convinced it was a strange exotic animal, or reptile at least. I watched it climb my white-washed wall - picking its way with precise deliberation on spindly legs and scanning feelers which were so long they doubled its size.

I considered my killing options. A lifetime of ant and wasp squashing hadn't prepared me for any less lethal options, any of that stunning, jam jars and considerate relocation nonsense. The murder of anything with a frighteningly complex arrangement of eyes and legs was pretty much all I knew.

Almost before I had selected my weapon of choice - probably something with a firm but yielding rigidity like a rolled up copy of the Cyprus Times or one of those scatter cushions Mediterranean men languish about on the floor with in a tumble of ash, moustaches and sneer-leers - it stopped walking, turned its head and looked right at me. I'd never seen an insect with a face before. A real face, not just a hairy, nobbled affair but proper eyes, mouth, nose, nasal hairs . . . teeth, the whole damn shebang. And not just a face, but an expression. An expression that said to me: 'I lived here before you did fuckhead, piss me off and you die!'

And while I was considering for a moment a moments re-consideration about giving this thing the swipe of its wretched life it took to the air, beating its - until then unseen and unknown about wings - in a clumsy hover before circling my fear-frozen head and whirring out of the open doors into the stifling, terrible night.

Abroad is definitely over rated.
I couldn't help but be impressed by how long it could take for the bleeders to die. Several whacks with the sole of one of The Husband's shoes and the creatures could still get away.
I have to say, even with its nesting in a tree behaviour, I never was taken in by the "Palmetto Bug" angle. Nope. Roach. Nasty. Death.
God that is the most scary post I've read all week.

It was the face that did it.
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