A COLLECTION OF STORIES BY LUKE TAGG
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SMOKE: Cockroach Horror

Originally published: 16 September 2004

I've made no secret of the fact that I'm no cockroach-lover.

Let's say - for argument's sake - there are exactly six billion humans on the planet. Of those six billion 5,999,999 of us are in the same roach-hating boat, and the one dude who isn't is the Aussie who thinks they're "beyootiful, mayte".

Yeah right - as beautiful as sharks and crocodiles and spiders and snakes and - ah, fuggedit. There's always one.

The unfortunate thing for me is that t'missus cannot even look at a cockroach without breaking into a severe rash and fever, which makes me the sole roach-slayer in da house. A tag I resent, but one which I am powerless to shed.

I've had a pretty good run of late. Since we moved into our house three years ago we haven't had one single cockroach (our previous place was infested) - and that's the way I like it.

But on Tuesday night all that changed.

Getting up from a heavily-Survivored couch I went to the kitchen to get something from the fridge while Tashi took the inevitable post-Survivor phonecall from her mother.

I was just about to open the fridge when out of the corner of my eye I spotted movement at my feet, and half a body length out of the bottom of the fridge was a roach, checking me out.

We stared at each other in fascination - he with feelers quivering and testing the air, and I with a fat wet one steaming faintly in my trousers.

We remained frozen like that for perhaps five seconds and then we both cracked at the same time - I leap backwards and landed in the dog's bowl of water and he scurried back under the fridge.

"Motherfucker"...

...was what I said.

I didn't scream it, I didn't yell it and I said it calmly enough with a weight of hatred behind it. When I say that word in that way both wife and dog know that it means something is badly wrong and simultaneously the phonecall chatter died abruptly and the hound came bounding over to deal with said motherfucker.

To enquiring glances I managed to croak out "cockroach" by way of explanation, and a scream containing a faint thrill of horrified excitement came from the couch.

Explanations were hurled down the phone and a scream came from the receiver in sympathy, and by now the roach-killing hound was revved and ready.

I grabbed a tin of Doom odourless and sprayed under the fridge until the poison ran out in liquid form via the gaps in the tiles, then I stepped back to see what would happen.

And out he came! I roared in terror as he came limping out wetly, covered in Doom and staggering around with a rustling sound, and a split second after I roared two screams came from the direction of the telephone.

The absolute tossing twattie of a dog finally spotted the roach (she'd spent all her time looking at my finger, and not where I was pointing - kills me every time with that dog), and like a dutiful watchdog she pounced on the wounded scum.

One bite convinced her that the poison wasn't to her liking so she dropped it, gave it a swipe with a paw and retreated to her mat to start feverishly sucking her bottom with wet slurps.

I roared at her to come finish the job as the roach was up and on the move again, tacking ever-relentlessly - although erratically - towards my bare feet.


But the dog was having none of it - she'd had one bite of the cherry and found it not to her liking and there was no way on Earth she was going back.

Resolving to force-feed the dog a tub of caustic soda when all was said and done I grabbed a sandal, but still couldn't bring myself to hit the bastard with it (the roach that is - not the dog). There's just something about the sticky crunch they make when flattened that I can't bear.

So I hurled my sandal at him with great force, but he just wouldn't die. He lay there twitching and feebly waving his feelers and I kept throwing the sandal at him until he was practically finished.

Optimistically I looked at the dog, hoping she would perform mopping up operations. The dog stared back at me happily, wagging her stupid stump of a tail ever so slightly. Obviously she had no intention of helping out and was eagerly awaiting the next instalment of this unexpected but welcome evening entertainment.

So I rolled off almost an entire roll of boggers, marked the position of the half-corpse and bent down to retrieve it without looking. I roared when I made contact with the stiff, and two screams from the telephone confirmed that the copious amount of female empathy was still very much present. Nothing like giving the girlies a thrill.

I kept dropping the damn thing since I didn't want to close my fingers around it despite the volume of toilet paper surrounding it, and by this stage the dog decided she could be quiet no longer and began running at high speed through the house in excitement, barking at the top of her lungs.

I finally managed to pick the swine up and ran through the house with my arm held far in front of me and the dog snapping at my heels, and hurled the whole lot into the toilet, flushing the chain.

Vanquished. It's the only word to describe my horrific foe.

I returned to the lounge exhausted where sporadic applause confirmed I was the hero of the day, and ripping the shirt from my chest I flung open the front door and emitted a primal scream into the night.

I would have had wild, medievil sex there and then but the dog had reappeared and was busy working her bottom over again with squelchy, damp noises, which killed that idea.

That dog will be the bloody death of me.

All Smoked Out,
Luke Tagg
Spending time online does bad things to a person, but I'm OK.

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Copyright © Luke Tagg. All rights reserved. A few lefts as well.

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