I abhor a roach happening upon me. Roaches, seemingly, possess psychic powers. They always know, before I do, which way I plan hop next, making it difficult to stay one step in the opposite direction.
Even worse, however, is getting caught with my pants down, literally. The other night, I sat in the restroom in peaceful privacy minding my business, feeling blessed, but a little paranoid about why, no one had walked in on me yet. And along came a zigzagging, black Palmetto bug, growing exponentially as it ventured closer to my dangling feet.
My response? I threw the book at it, beginning with the magazine clutched in my fist.
It wiggled free.
I flung Little Known Facts from the History of the Monkey Wrench, which skimmed over the back of the predator, stunning it momentarily. That gave me a chance to scramble for other lavatory literature.
As the roach began its erratic crawl, again, in my direction, I slammed it with The Life and Times of the Dukes of Hazard, featuring a chapter of color photos. Daisy Duke wailed and recoiled, and the General Lee just barely missed making tread marks on the intruder's back. Legs and tentacles wriggled along the edge of the binding, from underneath.
I guess it's true, what Waylon sang, those good 'ole boys really never meant any harm.
So, I bombed it with Jokes for a Backyard Bar-B-Que, containing my favorite about the pig with three legs, The Kuntry Boy Survival Manual, and volumes I, II & III of Raising Children the Easy Way: A Step By Step Guide (I hope to master all 465 steps by the time my children have children).
None of this occurred with serenity and aplomb. I squealed and squirmed like a newborn baby naked on a cold, stainless steel examining table throughout the entire adventure.
Nevertheless, with the deed done, I finished my business and went in search of someone to remove the spoils of war. Opening the bathroom door, I found my family discussing what must have happened to mother when the ceiling fell in.
My gallant eldest son volunteered to dispose of the remains of the creature. Removing the library from the back of the interloper, expecting to find green guts on the half shell, he levitated three feet in the air when the bug got up, dusted itself off, and scuttled over the hero's bare feet.
For several seconds the two engaged in an engrossing choreographed dance of death, with the roach hypnotized by my son's gangly, graceful movements and shocked by his shrill shrieks. He released the entire reading section again into the drop zone. My first born then called in reinforcements. His two younger brothers promptly obeyed their orders and removed the publications, oohing and ahing at what they found beneath; the enemy fatally wounded, but still twitching.
In fact, the front and rear parts of the bug had disengaged upon impact, and the legs and tentacles waved in a futile attempt to reconnect. An eager child pinched a tentacle between thumb and forefinger, cautiously lifting half the roach to eye level. "Fight or be a villager forever," he said, triumphantly.
Lest my son acquire a sense of inflated confidence, I must remind him that it took four giants and the equivalent of seven A-bombs to bring down our unworthy competitor, who taunted us with sticks and stones won't break my bones and words can never hurt me.
... And insisted on it for a good 30 minutes after meeting his demise.