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The Roach with Soul

On January 30th of 2007, Pete and I went to a blues club in a shady neighborhood with one of his old friends from college. The evening was warm and light for being January, and I instantly liked his old friend Heath. Heath was a funny guy constantly cracking jokes and pushing the envelope. Finally the hostess seated us at the only available table in the place, a small table so close to the band that the snare drum reverberated in my head. I couldn't help but smile. I was already having a glorious night.

We hadn't been sitting even five minutes when I frightened Pete with the look of pure panic on my face. That smile I couldn’t get rid of was gone.

I was sitting next to Pete’s right side when I saw it out of the corner of my eye…

Crawling on his shoulder was one of the largest roaches I’ve ever seen in my life. The thing was monstrous. It was no thinner than my large toe, and the length was around that of my thumb! Horrified, all of the color drained from my face. Pete turned to look at me just then and grew very sober, seeing the look on my face and the ghostly complexion I knew was visible to anyone within sight.

“What’s wrong?” I stood there, watching the roach crawl up his arm towards his neck. It changed direction and went over the bak of his shoulder instead. Hoping it would find its way to the back of the seat, I said nothing. “What is it? What’s the matter?” He kept prompting me. Stalling for time, I began to stutter slightly. Finally, the roach reared its ugly head on the other shoulder and began working its way down towards the suit pocket on his left pectoral. That’s when I squealed.

At this point, Pete’s prompting me had gotten the attention of Heath and his lady friend Brook, as well as some of the neighboring tables. Heath didn’t see what I had seen and thought instead the look on my face was one of complete rage. He said later on that it looked like I had it in my mind to kill Pete – or at least severely maim him. At my tiny squeaky squeal, Brook followed my gaze and saw the ugly bug. Her face widened in alarm and she began to squeal as well. Finally I spoke up.

“Pete,” I said calmly and slowly, “You need to remove your jacket,” I paused, and then shouted “NOW!” I finished quite a bit more forcibly. Understanding a situation of urgency from my expression, Pete shed his jacket faster than I’ve ever seen him remove any article of clothing. He danced a bit, trying to shake off his invisible attacker. I shuddered when I didn’t see it on his jacket anymore and immediately picked up my feet from the floor. For the rest of the night I sat on top of my feet, not caring that I was in a dress.

Heath got a big kick out of me squealing at a bug like that, so Pete jumped to my rescue.

“I never told you,” Pete started. “You’ll never believe it – she found a spider in my room once. Ya know what she did with it? It was a big, ugly, hairy Wolf spider.”

“What DID she do? Scream?” Heath chuckled to himself.

“No,” Pete sat up straight and proud. “She scooped it up in her hand and carried it outside to let it go.”

I earned new respect that day...


(Photo taken at work around that same time, me blownig kisses
to Martha the Chilean Fire Spider, the Office Mascott)

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