A COLLECTION OF STORIES BY LUKE TAGG
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SMOKE: Cockroach Horror Revisited

Originally published: 7 March 2005

In September of last year I had a horror experience with a cockroach. I wrote about it, assumed that all was said and done and got on with my life as best I could under the circumstances.

But on Friday night old wounds were reopened and bitter feuds rekindled when the mother of all cockroaches - The Big One - gatecrashed our little party and sent the womenfolk into fits of swooning and the menfolk manfully hunting the beast down, despite all of them wanting to do nothing more than sit in a corner and scream like girlies.

Here's how it came about.

We were having dinner for friends - a soiree, if you like - and once dinner was over we retired to the living room for after dinner mints, bon mots, cheerful banter and drugs.

I opened up the front door to let some air in and not even the odd noises coming from the other side of Monkey Boy's wall were enough to disturb the pleasant tranquility of the evening.

I was in the midst of describing something in vivid detail - arms gesticulating and smoke trickling out of every crack and crevice in my face - when one mate said as calmly as possible, while moving suddenly in my direction: "Hang on a second."

He was staring at a point just below my knee and with such intensity I knew in that instant that all was lost.

I was about to ask what was going on, despite sensing the awful truth, but before I could two things happened simultaneously: I felt something running up my arm with intent to do grievous bodily harm, and someone on the other side of the room screamed "Cockroach!!!"

And all hell broke loose.

Tashi and I were sitting on the couch together and as one we shot straight up into the air like a pair of hairs on a cat's back, parting ways in the air. She went flying in the direction of the kitchen while I swatted the bastard off my arm before diving behind the dog.

Ah yes, the dog...

Both Tashi and I had roared, as had both other female guests, and everyone in the room was on their feet in various stages of distress.

The dog - cleverly sensing something was wrong (she's truly gifted) - emitted a piercing bark of sheer joy and plunged headfirst into the recently vacated couch in search of what she knew not.

All she knew was there was some swine-ass bastard pig-of-an-insect around, and she'll have none of that in her house, thank you very much.

She went burrowing in there, scrabbling and sniffing and generally being way over the top, to renewed screams of horror from the kitchen.

The story eventually unfolded - the roach had run in through the open front door and without so much as a pause or a by-your-leave went straight for the couch, up it and onto my arm, no doubt on his little mission of death which would ultimately only end once he'd delivered that fateful feeler to my jugular.

The problem was simple: the absolute twat of a cockroach had disappeared. The only thing worse than having a cockroach in your house is having one in your house and not knowing where it is.

And there's something else - this roach (and my witnesses will back me up on the veracity of this report) - was just about as long as my forearm.

It was a monster. Browny-black, and wet with shiny wing wax. Dripping slightly. Slavering.

I was convinced I'd seen it scurry under the couch, but two other eyewitnesses swore they saw it go out the door. I knew the women would never in a million years rest until a corpse was produced, and thus began the odorous task of hunting that sucker down.

The dog by this stage was no more than a bottom in the air, with the rest stuffed between wall and couch. She seemed convinced that it was under there, so we had to do the inevitable - lift the couch.

I did so, and there it was!!! Horror!! Thrill!! Screams of terror from the kitchen, mixed with the rather useless advice of: "Kill it! Kill it!"


What the bloody hell did they think we were trying to do - dance with it? A nice little samba to the accompaniment of La Cucaracha?

The first troop in was the dog, who pounced. She grabbed the hostile and gave an experimental crunch, but decided - after a mere split second of thought - that she wasn't being paid for this shit, and dropped it in the middle of the lounge.

The wounded beast began tacking towards the safety of the other couch, and my mate made a vain go at crushing it with his foot. He couldn't get to it because the dog - sensing her prey was going to be taken away from her - went back in to try and retreive it.

But by this stage someone had covered it in Target (no Doom this time - we all know what happened last time) and all the dog wanted to do was pick it up, so a cacophony of voices rang out, urging the dog to back off.

But all she heard - in her excited state - was a bunch of voices calling her name at once, and renewing her efforts she managed to dive under my mate's foot and grabbed the thing, which was dripping white poison.

Deciding that she'd better evacuate the area she trotted off at speed - head erect, tail up and sides of her mouth turned up in a grimace of disgust.

She headed straight for the kitchen, to show Ma what she'd caught.

Ma screamed blue bleeding murder and leapt out of the kitchen, but was followed by the dog who was under the impression that she hadn't explained carefully enough.

And the endearing sight of the evening was watching Tashi running at full tilt out of the kitchen and into the lounge with the dog in pursuit - poison-dripping, quavering cockroach held grimly yet proudly between her front teeth.

Tashi leapt onto the couch, and fearing the dog was really trying to get her she went one step further - she climbed onto the back of the couch, her head pretty much touching the ceiling.

While the dog stood looking on in obvious happiness, her tail wagging slightly in approval at it all.

We somehow managed to first coax the cockroach out of the dog's mouth, then - once it had been wrapped in toilet paper and deposited into a watery grave and flushed - we managed to coax Tashi down from the top of the couch.

The dog got a helping of leftover bolognaise to get rid of the poison taste, as well as the title "Oh Ye Sweet Slayer Of Roaches", and knighthoods and marijuana were handed out all round.

The dog got a little ahead of itself and started spotting roaches under every couch for a while after that, but eventually life returned - slowly - to normal.

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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