It’s incredible how quickly a night can go downhill. One minute I’m in my study, diligently working on a grant application for the school (yes, they put ‘sucker’ on my name badge at P&F functions these days), the next I’m standing by the fridge hoovering down Cherry Ripe chocolates (if The Builder is reading this, just one, and I left the Turkish Delights), not working, just waiting.
The cause of all this debauchery instead of duty? A cockroach.
The Fibro is a very quiet place at night. Very, very quiet. The kind of quiet where the hum of the fridge sounds like aplane taking off, and a car driving past after 10pm is cause for comment and, yes, curtain twitching.
The kind of quiet where the scritch, scritch, scritch of cockroach feet crawling across cardboard makes a girl sit up and take notice.
When I first heard it, I thought maybe it was a bat outside. They’re hanging around (boom tish) eating the fruit from our big tree (and excreting it all over the deck, pavers and outdoor furniture). That’s how loud that scritch, scritch, scritch was.
I opened the blinds. No bats. Scritch, scritch, scritch.
I looked up to the top of the bookshelf, where I keep my tasteful collection of cardboard storage boxes -you know, the ones that allow hoarders to hoard in peace and prettiness. There, attempting to haul its sorry thorax – or possibly its abdomen – from between two boxes, was the biggest, blackest, shiniest roach I’d ever seen.
I’m not sure how you are with roaches, but they make me retch. I get a cold, prickly feeling up the back of my neck and hold my breath. Automatically. Not ideal.
I also run straight for the environmentally heinous insect spray.
The worst part about those sprays – and there are many bad parts, I know – is the agonising dance of death that follows. I sprayed. It ran left. I sprayed. It ran right. I sprayed, long and hard (possibly overzealously, now that I think about it). It rolled over.
I left the room. I couldn’t bear to watch. I had a drink. I paced. I crept back to the door and put my head around the corner. The roach was back-stroking along the bookshelf.
I went back to the kitchen. It was at this point, 11.05pm, that the chocolate indiscretion occurred. I paced. I crept back to the door. The roach was now sliding behind a vintage Star Wars poster (long story), scritch, scritch, scratching along the paper.
I had to leave again.
I read three pages of The Great Gatsby (which I will need to re-read as I was not concentrating on West Egg, let me tell you). Surely, I reasoned, it would be quiet now?
It was. The roach was laid out in the middle of the floor. I sidled past, figuring I’d leave a post-it for The Builder (and possibly a Turkish Delight) requesting he remove its remains in the morning.
I sit here now, typing, working, happy with my little world once more. I turn to reassure myself that the roach is toast.
Uh-oh. The roach is gone.
Cue cold, prickly feeling…