The Gringa Chronicles - Gringa vs Beast

by Marsha Ackerman

The Gringa Chronicles...

Gringa vs Beast

So one of the main differences between the south and Midwestern portion of the US that I have found is the size of the bugs.

I had grown to a ripe age of 36 without coming personally acquainted with a cock-roach. I knew they existed of course, but animated and on the side of a Raid can " right? And I had come to believe that if you had a cock-roach in your house, that it meant you had terribly housekeeping skills, lived in a garbage can and/or raised them to feed your pet snake of some sort.

So the day I came face to face with the cock-roach I now refer to as "The Beast", was quite the surprise so much so, that it earned its place among the Chronicles.

It was May of 2006; I woke early, because that morning, I had to meet colleagues at the airport for training. And, since I was new to the area and easily confused by traffic, I wanted to get an early start on my fellow drivers.

As with the day my "inspiration" kicked in, my morning started in a normal manner. My alarm rang, and Lynard Skynard began singing of Sweet Home Alabama. I turned over from the fetal position which I found myself in more and more since my arrival to Miami. Opened one eye, to see the time. (As if I did not already know...but somehow, I doubted my alarm, thinking it was its own life force with an ultimate plan to destroy concept of time among us all....) Yep " it was true, my alarm this morning, did not prove successful in its evil plan and I had to face reality and wake for the day.

I take a deep breath, ah " yes....coffee, that nectar of the commuter...things is looking up. I step into the bathroom, not turning on the light. I was no where near ready for the shock of my "morning" face.

Still with only one eye open, I walk to the kitchen. This is it.....sigh....I flip the light. After screaming like Gizmo for 5 minutes, my eyes adjust, and my focus is now on the prize....my coffee.

I take one step and my heart skips a beat..... On the floor is this massive figure. I am confused; did I get a dog in my sleep? Is this a case like so many others I hear about in Miami, of unsuspecting men and woman who have Alligators suddenly appear?

I rub my eyes, look again and it hits me.....could it be....no " can't be..... but it.... No, no " impossible, it's a........ I can't form the words. It is similar to the picture on the Raid can, but this thing doesn't have eyebrows and a thick Brooklyn Accent " so it can't be.....but...... "Oh Marsha, escape from reality.....if you deny it enough " it won't be real...... Sigh....alas, it is, it is a cockroach.

I take one step forward, the cockroach jerks in anticipation. Like a dog waiting for you to throw a ball. And I realize, this is not your ordinary bug....this " this is a super bug. But how do I kill it? I can't call for help....what would my friends say if they knew I had a bug the size of an alligator on my kitchen floor.....

I run to my bathroom....what do I do? Maybe I should smash it with a shoe? But that would result in a crunch and gross bug guts that I would have to clean. Maybe if I went to the door, opened it and threw a Frisbee, it would run out after it. Granted, it would return for a second throw. But it would give me desperately needed time to come up with plan B.

No " I have no time.....think fast...Ah " yes....hairspray. I have extra firm hold, surely " that will at least freeze him in place long enough for me to sweep him up and throw him out.

I grab the spray, and tread lightly back to the kitchen. He was still there, this was no ordinary bug....he was brave....

I look closer, and I see he is wearing a black cowboy hat, boots and spurs. What???? And using his antenna, he tells me in Morse code.... "This apartment ain't big enough for the both of us "gringa"....

In the distance, I hear the lonely whistle.....from the good the bad and the ugly. This is a show-down of epic proportion. It's the cockroach and I...it has come to this...

Tumbleweeds roll across the floor, and I see scared eyes peering from around the corners, and from inside the saloon doors.....

"You're right, Big Bad Bart, you have messed with the wrong Marshall. You're kind ain't welcome round these parts. But, you are wearing a black hat, mine is white, and that means you are the bad guy...so say your prayers.

"OK he taps back with his antenna from beneath his hat...10 paces...."

"10"...doo de doo de doo..... 9... doo de doo de doo...8...our eyes meet....close up on his eye, then mine.....7...squint, and switch of my hand near my gun Belt.... 6...5...

He reaches for his weapon " What??? Not only are you a bug, but you are a cheat!!! We are only on 5!!!!! He gets off a shot, I duck.... The townspeople cry, mothers cover their children's eyes....this is too horrible to watch.

I stand tall, "ha ha ha ha, partner....your cheating ways have betrayed you! Get ready to meet your maker....I throw the can in the air, flip flip flip.....and spray."

He laughs, as his back turns white & sticky from my extra hold spray..... It's going to take more than that to get rid of me...he cries as he scurries across the floor, his cowboy clad feet tapping as he ran. He jumped on his horse and rode into the cupboard.

First showdown score, 1 " bug, 0-good guy...

I could not relax, I knew he would be back....and until he was dead, my little town on the prairie would not be safe.

The rest of my day was consumed by thoughts of my encounter that morning. And after, my meeting, I headed straight to the ammo store....

I enter, grab a cart and march straight for the "misc aisle". Raid for Roaches, Orken for Roaches, Off for Roaches, Roach Hotel, Roach Traps, Smoke Bombs, Indoor formula; outdoor formula...regular strength, super strength, extra super strength, so much strength that we do not have enough room left on the can to write how super it is....

$150.00 later, I head back home. I near my apartment, each step taken with trepidation...He is there, I feel it. Hiding among the canyons, hiding all traces of his existence...

I change clothes, pull my hair back, put on the hazmat suit I bought with the Raid, closed the flap of my helmet, activated the oxygen and stepped again into the kitchen. First " the traps....place them strategically in every corner available. Next, the bug sterilizer....again, I place these around the other traps. If he manages to escape the trap, at least he will not be able to reproduce.... "Ha Ha Ha cough cough (running low on my oxygen"....damn, this suit is hot....

Next, the sprays......1 can down, - hmm " it is a refreshing scent, like wildflowers " yes, wild flowers....wait, no " it is an ocean mist " how fresh....now " mountain breeze " quite woodsy, I feel rather L L Bean....

I am just buttoning the last button on my black & red flannel shirt, I tighten the suspenders, when I hear it....tap tappety tap tap..... "He's back!"

Again, I find myself face to face with the booted bug....only this time, our encounter is much different.

My trap has worked....he is now coughing, grabbing his throat as he crawls across the floor. Crawling, like the bug that he is.....

"You win, "he manages to get out with the tip of his antenna.... He continues on, with his death bed monologue...after 10 minutes, he ends with..."you are the better man....."....

SMASH!!!

"I think you mean Woman....." I scream as my shoe comes crashing on his head. I never liked these shoes anyway....

And that " my dear readers....is the end of Gringa Versus the Beast.

Copyright 2010 Marsha L Ackerman

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