Don’t Feed The Cockroaches
I once visited a nice lonely old lady in her ancient Victorian three story twelve bedroom mansion tri-plex. This home was an inheritance from her rich parents. It was huge with high ceilings. It was filled with very expensive antiques. All the antiques were covered with many layers of cloths and blankets. Everything in this home was the same as it was a hundred years ago. I was young, so this had quite an impression on me. The whole place was dark spooky and eerie to me. I had never seen such a place before in my life. Everywhere I walked I was in awe. The only thing that had any familiarity to me was the kind old ladies voice. She took me for a tour of the house and informed me that she rented rooms for the night to drifters, winos, and the homeless. These were her only visitors.
She kindly invited me to the kitchen for a sandwich. So I walked slowly behind her to the kitchen. The kitchen was like the rest of the house with dark discolored walls. The floor, the counters were dark with dirt from many years. I watched her as she familiarly went about in the kitchen. Then I noticed a bug then I saw another, and another. I then realized that there were bugs everywhere I looked. I don’t like bugs in a house. Then I looked at her at the counter with the bread. All of a sudden a bug ran across the two slices of bread she had laid out on the counter. That disgusted me. I watched as she opened the fridge to get some sliced meat. I noticed that nothing in the fridge was covered or wrapped. Then to my horror I see more bugs scattering everywhere in the fridge as the fridge light came on. The inside of the fridge was full of ugly bugs. I wondered how this kitchen could have so many bugs. I realized it was because the house was not kept clean and she left open food and dirty dishes everywhere. In effect she was feeding the bugs.
The kind old lady, with a smile handed me the sandwich. Oh by then I was completely grossed out. With a reluctant smile I accepted the sandwich. She eagerly waited for me to take a bite. It was the hardest thing I had ever done in my life. I took a bite; oh I carefully looked at it first to see if there were any bugs on it. She had a puzzled look on her face, due to my reaction of fear when she handed the sandwich to me. Will after bravely taking a small bite off the corner of the sandwich I immediately changed the topic. Hurriedly went down the long dark hallway into the living room and hid the sandwich on my way.
As we sat on the comfortable oversized antique couches. I had a thought. I decided that I would help this old lady get rid of the bugs. So I very carefully brought up the topic that I thought she had a problem with bugs and that I could help her get rid of them. I asked her if she could give me some money so I could go to the local hardware store and get some bug spray. This is when I found out what kind of bugs they were. I had never seen a cockroach before. The insecticide spray can had a picture of a cockroach on it.
So I bought two of the largest cans they had. I was now armed with two huge cans of spray and eagerly confident that I would defeat those ugly bugs and kill them.
I knocked on the door and the kind old lady was very happy that I was back and let me in with a smile. I proudly and quickly walked down the long dark hallway to the big old kitchen. I told the lady that I needed to close the kitchen door and that she should wait in the living room. I felt like the grime reaper coming to take care of the dead to be cockroaches. So I carefully walked to the middle of the kitchen making sure not to touch anything so no bugs would crawl on me. I opened the first can of spray and started aiming it at any bugs I saw. The bugs reacted to the spray by running faster. So I went closer. The spray did not seem to affect them. But it did do one thing. It caused many more bugs to come out everywhere. I got scared of so many bugs, so I backed up and just continued to spray everywhere. I did not like the smell or taste of the spray. I then opened the second can and started spraying over my head. Oh what a mistake that was. The bugs started falling off the ceiling onto my head and shoulders. By now I was getting really grossed out. There were thousands of bugs everywhere. It was literally raining cockroaches. I immediately ran to the hall kitchen door and continued spraying through the cracked open door. I was now only peeking and spraying through the cracked open door. There now began to be so many bugs falling down that it sounded like loud rain. When I peeked again. I noticed that the whole kitchen had become very dark. Frightened I closed the door. I went to the living room in a frightened state. I asked the lady for more money to get some more spray. I got and sprayed three more cans. I filled up the kitchen with a thick fog of insect spray. I was sure that that would kill those ugly nasty bugs.
I waited with the old lady in the living room. I was so concerned about the situation, that I could not talk to the lady about anything. I just sat there and listened to the noise of falling bugs coming from the kitchen. So two hours later, as the noise subsided I decided to go to the kitchen and look in. What a gross and scary sight awaited me. Everywhere and I mean everywhere was dark and covered with at least three inches thick of dead bugs. And there was still more bugs crawling everywhere.
So I decided to start cleaning up the mess. I took a snow shovel and broom and filled a large outdoor garbage can with bugs. I went out the back door to the Doctors General Hospital parking lot and dumped the bugs. I went back in many times and filled the bucket. By now there was a huge pile four feet high of bugs on the ground. I was not even making a dent in the clean up. There had to be millions of bugs. Many people were walking by in the dark poorly lit parking lot. Until a young woman and man walked by pretty close. The woman all of a sudden looked at the pile of bugs and when she recognized what she was looking at, got a most frightful disgusted look on her face. I then took a closer look at the pile and realized that the bugs were not dead. The fresh air was reviving them. They were crawling in every direction. I then got completely disgusted and scared of these tough bugs. I dropped my bucket and shovel walked back through the kitchen. Did not say a word to the old woman. Walked out the front door and never went back.
Many years later I discovered that all the homes on that side of the street had been leveled. Except for the old ladies tri-plex group. So there was the three attached homes still standing. Boarded up and abandoned. I then realized that the bugs must of taken over the street. The tri-plexs could not be touched or demolished for fear of releasing the bugs to the rest of the neighborhood. They were considered hazardous. I know that they stayed boarded up for more than twenty years.
By the way this is a hundred percent true story. So the lesson to be learned is… “ Don’t feed the cockroaches”
Daniel J Towsey July 2006