Travel: China

Too Ugly to Love, Too Big to Kill

If, in the late hours of evening…

…when not a creature stirs and you are curled up in your bed under the spell of the tantalizing last quarter of a deliciously fat book…

(Middlesex, if you care to know)

…you happen to hear an almost stereotypically feminine squeal

(“Eeeek!”)

…come from your shared living room, followed some long seconds later by the hissssss of an aerosol can of Raid being discharged for all its 18 Yuan worth…

…then you know that at least one kind of creature was definitely doing some stirring on what would have been a heavenly night indeed.

(Yes, one of my life ambitions is to write some of the longest sentences known to humankind.)

Thanks to the Raid, the creature stirs nevermore.

“Nevermore.” said The Raid. “Nevermore.” (The Raven, if you care to know)

Rewind. Enter the Asian Cockroach.

No, not some kind of two-legged Oriental stalker. The six (?) legged, two (?) antannaed  Blatella Asahinai, measuring in at a minimum 1.6cm

(Yes, said Blatella Asahinai has been the subject of a previous blog and, just as it does around my walls, floors, and drawers, it is also making a reappearance here.)

The only humane way to kill it – humane with regards to your own squeamish sensitivities – is from a distance with plumes of Raid. The thought of manually crushing such a monster exoskeleton, of feeling the echo of its death throes in your own bones and its mushy entrails through the thin divide of a piece of tissue paper or the sole of your shoe, the thought of all that primal intimacy which will come from engaging with it hand-to-hand is more horrifying than the sight of the animal itself scuttling with its particular skin-crawling speed across your precious walls, your precious floor, your precious furniture; it’s enough to turn you animal-lover only insofar as how you choose to terminate this particular ugly beast.

(Agree. That last paragraph is a catastrophe. The basic idea is this: it’s less gross to spray the giant roach than to squash it. It’s just too damn big to squash. Ew.)

Here’s the catch – you might do more harm to yourself than to the roach, considering the quantity of Raid you have to discharge to douse it with enough poison to first shock, then slow down, and finally terminate its flight.

No, not “flight” in the methaphoric sense, but in the fully two-winged sense. Who knew the bastards could fly?

Chasing it around the floor and through the air with the wind of Raid at its back, sure, between the two of you, it will eventually get the bulk of the poison and go belly up. But there are more of them than there are of you. Maybe this time, you came away with just a little cough and an icky taste in your lungs that soon faded away, but what about next time? What’s it worth to you not to get a little Dead Blatella Asahinai under your foot?

Too Squeamish to Breathe?

“Nevermind” said the R, “Nevermind.”

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