So for the last few weeks, there has been a cockroach living in the bathroom attached to our office. I’ve never lived anywhere that’s had a cockroach problem; most of the cities I live in have other things, like earthquakes or mice. I wasn’t really any more freaked out by it than I would be by anything else that moves across the floor very quickly making a scuttering sound, or might be in my shoe when I try to put it on. Which is to say, it would be worse if it were spiders, but my imagination still runs a little wild.
It’s been okay though, because it’s mostly been confined to the little crack between the toilet and the bathroom floor, where it would run when you made loud noise or sprayed it with something you have on-hand (Lysol disinfectant, Windex, lemon-scented computer cleaner from the 80’s). I would stomp when going in there, giving it time to hide, and my officemate and I would make jokes about bringing bagpipes or a tambourine into the office. We were even brainstorming names for it.
But my officemate is out this week, which means there’s no one to make jokes with and I’ve developed some pretty serious paranoia. Going to use the mouse? Is that the mouse as you know it, or is there a cockroach on it? Going to take a drink of water? Is that your orange Nalgene or a cockroach swimming pool? Where have his feet been? On the keys you’re touching? On this handkerchief you just got out of your bag? On your lip balm!?!?
It also means she’s not eating at her desk, which means she’s not dropping crumbs for the cockroach over on her side of the room, which means I found him scuttering around on my desk looking for crumbs when I came in this morning.
Thinking quickly, I grabbed the hole punch and the lemon-scented computer cleaner, planning to stun him with the cleaner and then smack him with the hole punch. For some reason I have this weird feeling that if I stepped on him – even in my clogs, which have a one-inch wooden sole – the feeling of crushing the life out of him will remain with me forever, burned into my sense memory, like that time I stepped on a mouse Zeppelin killed in my bare foot. I can’t unfeel that. So the hole punch was a good solution, until it opened, like it always does, and scattered hole punches all over the floor, creating a confetti distraction and giving him time to get away.
I chased him for a while, crawling under the desks and spraying computer cleaner, but he was too fast, it got in my eyes a little and I had a meeting to go to. I hunted for him again when I got back, and then off and on throughout the morning – I caught up with him a few times and sprayed him with computer cleaner until he found another dark crack somewhere, but it didn’t even seem to be slowing him down, and I never got another hole punch opportunity.
Until I braved the bathroom a few minutes ago. I figured that since he’d now had a taste of freedom and sampled the dark cracks in other areas of the office, he wouldn’t be caught dead trapping himself in the bathroom again. So I walked in with only minimal stomping to find him just chilling next to the toilet brush. I backed out, slowly and quietly, grabbed the computer cleaner and rushed back in to spray the HECK out of him. I don’t know what changed this time – the lemon scent created a lack of oxygen maybe, or I sprayed so much that everything was too slippery to climb on – but he was looking dazed, and started to run back to his little home. I quoted some Samuel L. Jackson and kept spraying, when suddenly he turned sharply and disappeared behind the door. I looked behind it, thinking he had just gone around instead of under the toilet, but he wasn’t there – and that’s when I saw him, out of the corner of my eye, scuttering STRAIGHT AT ME. I sprayed CONTINUOUSLY, DIRECTLY on him until he turned white, but he never veered off-course; he ran directly underneath my one-inch wooden-soled shoe, and I CRUSHED him.
It felt AWESOME. Now I have to go clean his corpse and approx. half a can of computer cleaner off the bathroom floor.
Update: Just flushed him down the toilet. His body was SOAKED in computer cleaner.