Tuesday, October 10, 2006

"I Am Man"

By Andrew Davis

I call my girlfriend, Kristin, a gorilla. It’s a little mean, I know, but she’s abnormally strong and agile for a woman who’s 5’5 and eats nothing but cereal all day. Once we were walking in the park and she got so mad at something I said, she literally picked up a boulder and hurled it about a hundred yards. I’m not lying.

But when it comes to bugs, or “Creepy Crawlies,” as she calls them, it’s a totally different story.

We recently moved into a new apartment in a carriage house, which means it’s over a garage and we have no neighbors. The place itself is nice - decent layout, large kitchen, and a bunch of other nice stuff. Almost a month prior to moving in, we came across the ad. It said “Luxury Apartments,” and we agreed.

The best part is having no neighbors who live above us. Before this place I lived in a basement apartment, and a group of girls lived above me. They appeared to be nice girls but I didn’t know too much about them. What I did know was that they enjoyed bowling and roller skating in their kitchen. So any place without a FunPlex overhead seemed great.

That was until Kris saw a bug hanging from the living room ceiling. Screaming “CENTIPEDE” as loud as possible – and standing only inches away from me – she demanded I do something. I felt like Denzel Washington in “John Q,” when his wife ordered him to do something about their son not having a working heart. Old Denzel found himself a gun and held an emergency room doctor hostage; given the way Kristin was looking at me, I thought I should get a 45 myself.

“Kill It!”

“What for? It’s just a stupid bug.”

“Andrew, I will take this knife and cut you.”

So I had no choice, and besides, it was our first bug together. I had to kill it. But I’m not gonna lie – I was scared. First of all, that thing had about 2700 legs and all kinds of antennas that were waving at me. Plus it was camouflaged with white stripes covering its tan body. I have absolutely never seen anything like it in my life. It was freaky looking. And second, what if I missed? Would he hide for two months and then lay eggs in my eyeballs as I slept?

So there I am: I get a chair, a shoe, and prepare for the kill. All the while, it’s just hanging upside down having no idea it’s about to meet my size 12 Nike. Suddenly my nerves begin to get to me and I think, “Man, if this thing falls anywhere near me I will, without a doubt, scream like an eleven-year old girl.” Consequently my life and my manhood were riding on this one bug.

After two minutes of planning the trajectory of my strike, I went for it.

But I missed by about two feet and the wind from the shoe hitting the ceiling blew the centipede off…and onto the floor. That’s when Kristin did a back flip and landed four feet away on the arm of the couch. It was like the scene from “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon” when that lady walked on bamboo.

Now she was screaming as it crawled behind the radiator. I looked for it, but to no avail. So she’s yelling louder even though she’s ten feet away…and that wasn’t helping any. Imagine trying to do a Where’s Waldo puzzle but Waldo keeps moving because he has a million legs, and there’s a really loud lady yelling in your ear. Well, it was something like that.

I got some Windex and sprayed the entire bottle on the radiator hoping to kill it. And don’t you think that was some arbitrary decision, because it wasn’t. I’ve killed many insects with the blue stuff.

Anyway, I don’t think that worked because over the next week we saw about ten of those things. After Kristin vowed never again to set foot off the couch, and I had black eyes after sleeping with goggles every night, we decided it was time to do some research. They're called House Centipedes (or Millioneous Leggus ), but I call them Freaky Little Bugs With a Bunch of Legs That Run Really Fast.

Researching also led to a couple disturbing discoveries. For one, they like moisture and that’s why we kept finding them in the tub and in the kitchen sink. Yeah, it’s not fun being naked in the shower, thinking something’s wiggling their ten-inch long antennas near you.

Two, they eat spiders. As in kill them. Call me crazy, but I thought spiders were at the top of the bug food chain. The eight-legged guardians of the home. When did this change of the guard happen? Animal Planet should really consider doing a show about this hostile takeover. But finding that out was the equivalent of moving to Africa then learning something’s been killing lions…and they live in your tent.

It wasn't comforting – especially not to Kristin.

And just in case you didn’t notice, I’m deathly terrified of Centipedes too. So, yes, that means Kris isn’t the only wuss in the house. She’s just the only wuss who can climb the Empire State Building to escape.

Writer and humorist Andrew Davis lives in Albany, New York, where he is pursuing a Master's Degree to become a high school English teacher. When he's not writing, he likes spending time at home with his girlfriend, Kristin, and dog, Dozer.


Anonymous said...

I liked it. I found it very amusing, and couldn't stop laughing. The ending, I have to say was the best. I mean the title is called I am Man. So having a title such as that, it was unexpected that he too would have been scared of the bug, although it is a scary looking creature.

Anonymous said...

i loved this story it was funny as hell ... especially when you described the attack!!!!