Date: Tue, 15 Sep 1998 00:20:08 -0400
From: "Nathan J. Mehl" 
To: void
Subject: *twitch*

So I arrive home this evening, after an _extremely_ long day at work. Stumbled into the apartment at around 11:30pm, having little on my mind but moving my car out of the street cleaning zone and then promptly going to bed, perhaps having a cider first.

I walk in, grabbing the mail, and step into the kitchen to drop my bag.

There is a roach.

"But Nathan," you say, "You moved to New York City! Surely you expected to encounter a few members of our friends the blattidae there? Well yes, I did, but you are failing to understand. This, my friends, was a ROACH. Capital-R, bold-face and underline. Easily three inches from stem to stern. Standing there, rather brazenly, on the kitchen floor I just mopped into submission last night. Flicking its feelers at me, as if I hadn't gotten enough of that from the developers at work.

I take a step towards it. It retreats towards the corner. I start to take another step. It gathers for flight. I reconsider. A headlong charge now will involve one, possibly two things: firstly, the distance between the roach and my pantsleg will rapidly diminish. Secondly, assuming that my foot actually does make contact with it, it will make ...that crunching sound. Possibly many times -- this does not look like a one-stomp roach. These possibilities are not pleasing me.

Then I realize that between myself and the corner it is backed into is the sink. And if I recall correctly, underneath the sink is a can of Raid left over from the previous apartment dwellers. (Bless them. I take back every snide remark about their taste in catalogs.) I edge slowly towards the sink. My unwanted guest flits back and forth, trying to gauge my next move. Slowly, keeping one eye on him, I open the cabinet door and lift out the precious red bottle. He twitches, but does not flee. Victory is to be mine.

What followed was, I believe in retrospect, something much like a flamenco dance, except involving fewer feathers, more chitin and neurotoxins, and significantly more cursing. We danced back and forth for a good solid minute, as I kept the aerosol blast focussed as close to directly on him as I could, and he dashed to (towards me, run away!) and fro (towards the crack in the molding, oh no you don't!), trying to evade the poison.

Finally, after expending nearly half a bottle of Dow Corning's finest, the roach staggered onto its side and began to curl up its feet in that gratifying way that significes complete insectile neurological immolation.

I stared down at it for a while. I knew quite well that like the monster in a horror film, there was no way it was actually dead yet. If I tried to pick it up now, it would my hand... and I was not up for that kind of scene.

I sprayed it a few more times for good measure, and went out to move my car.

When I came back, it was, thank god, still there, leaving me with the sticky question of disposal. After some thought, I laid a paper towel over it and picked it up with an oven mitt. Into the toilet, pace et requiem.

Walking back into the kitchen, I made a small pronouncement:

      "You realize, of course, that this means war?"

-n, off to buy a frightening number of ugly chemicals and deploy them ruthlessly