Mrs. Choate, in the Bedroom, With the Book

It started when I was rocking Hudson to sleep for his afternoon nap. Out of the corner of my eye I saw movement. It was a huge cricket. Definitely a full-size adult.

I’m terrified of bugs and not ashamed to admit it. I wanted to run but I also wanted to get Hudson down for his nap. Since he was about to fall asleep I stifled a blood-curdling scream and kept an eye on the bug out of the corner of my eye.

When I put Hudson in his crib I was afraid the cricket would have time to escape. Fortunately, it didn’t moved much. Its whereabouts confirmed, all I had to do was look for a weapon.

I wished my brave husband was home. He would have picked up the cricket and put him outside. He doesn’t like to kill things. He’s nicer than me.

I decided to first try my two big dogs, Jack and Tatum. Maybe they would eat the cricket, or at least mortally wound it. Lazy Jack showed little interest in responding to my pleas from the bedroom. When he finally came he took one look, huffed, walked out, and went back to napping in the front room. Poor Tatum mistook the urgency in my voice for anger and came in the room with her head hung low. I reassured her I wasn’t upset with her and tried to get her into attack mode. She wasn’t interested in the cricket either. Clearly I was going to have to handle the situation alone and I’d already decided: only one of us was coming out alive.

I could have used a shoe but then you have to deal with scraping the guts off the soles. You don’t want to track the carnage all over your carpet. Plus, my shoes aren’t heavy enough to make a kill shot. They might wound or maim but they’re not going to take out the cricket, that’s for sure.

It would have to be a book. A big, bulky book. Not the Bible because I use mine and that’s just gross. So I looked through the hardback titles readily available in my bedroom. Mary Higgins Clark: too thin. Laura Dave: also too small. Elizabeth George: yes! Now I needed a back-up in case the first throw was a miss. David Ebershoff would work.

The cricket had cornered himself against a wall. I took aim with my Elizabeth George hardback and fired. A miss. It jumped away far enough so that I felt safe grabbing the book for a second try. Now it was on the tile of my bathroom floor. Perfect. I fired again. This time I threw it harder and hit it. The book bounced off and I saw the cricket laying there, belly up. Phew! That was over. I would leave the carcass there for my husband to deal with when he got home.

A few minutes later when I went to use the bathroom I noticed… it was gone. Could a cricket play possum? Now I was even more afraid because wounded crickets seem to jump higher and in unpredictable zig-zag patterns.

I spotted it again, just a few feet away, mocking me with its antennas circling the air, looking completely unwounded and very much alive. I figured I might have only one more shot before the dumb little bug got smart and went into hiding. So I picked up the Ebershoff, dared to get a little closer this time, took careful aim, and plunged that book down as hard as I could. It skidded across the bathroom floor, dragging the cricket’s carcass along with it.

I wasn’t taking any chances this time. I went to the garage to retrieve my broom and used it to lift the book and make sure the cricket was dead. It was…

Or so I thought. Like a bad horror flick where the psycho gets shot, stabbed, set on fire and keeps coming back, so this little cricket seems to have nine lives. It is somewhere in here, waiting for the moment I least expect and then… SPRING! It’s going to jump out at me. I can feel it.

Yes, I really did stalk and assault an innocent cricket and I fully intend to kill it. Come and get me PETA. But be warned: I have books and brooms and I’m not afraid to use them.

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