Thursday, August 25, 2005

Fear Factor in Cowtown, Or Halloween Comes Early For Pattie




*THIS IS A REPEAT, INSPIRED BY STEVE'S NIGHT OF THE PALMETTO STORY.

Last night after watching Channel 5 news at ten, I head for one last trip to the little girl's room before snuggling down for sleep. One foot already slung over the bedside, I see movement out of the corner of my eye. As fast as my brain could transmit the image of a Texas-sized water bug, the demonic critter had rushed under my side of the bed faster than Emmitt Smith can score a touchdown. Matter of fact, judging by the size of him, the bedframe legs probably looked just like goal posts. Half-heartedly, I did try to stomp in his direction, but bug guts have never been my favorite nighttime pedicure cream. Now, here's the thing; how do you just casually flip off the lights, saying "Oh, he'll probably just find his way back outside" ? Knowing full well that no one ever died from being crawled upon by these Lone Star beauties doesn't ease my mind one bit. "You're not going to sleep until we find him, are you?", Kman queries with a touch of disgust. Snap goes on his lamp, snap goes on Pattie's. Grabbing a shoe, I crouch down beside the bed waiting for my brave knight to roust the devil from his den.

Most folks who know Pattie well, are also quite aware of her pack-rat habits. Thus, underneath a bed is prime real estate for all sorts of out-of-the-way storage. Which, fortunately for the intruder, provides ample hiding places. "Hmmm, let's see... shall I choose from the twenty or so scattered magazines (including an issue of Cowboy & Indians with Johnny Cash on the cover - sure to be a collector's item in a few short years), or how about between the two fiddle cases, or even behind the flat plastic storage bin full of the younguns' keepsake crap?" Kman at this point is discovering my housekeeping weakness - I just can't bring myself to waste good opportunities for stashing. While he probably is thinking he will uncover the last known hiding place of Jimmy Hoffa, Kman still placates me with a search for the Bugman of Alcatraz and we clear the debris from under the bed. No game bagged on our bedroom safari. Everything goes back to its previous place, and just for extra good measure, Kman picks up a tossed pair of jeans from off the carpet, and zip! runs the damned thing behind the dresser, attemping a Second Down. Did you know that the few inches behind a dresser are good for storing extra posterboard for the late night, "I forgot I have a project", lament from a child, or a few old picture frames that you intended to fix up and hang someday? With his trusty flashlight, Kman shines a beacon of light into the dusty dark, like a Nazi guard on night duty at Stalag 13. No movement is sighted, just the dried up carcass of a long dead tiny brown lizard that lost his way and succumbed to the choking tyranny of the Dresser Dust Bunny Gang. Oh well. Trying to play it cool, I act like its no big deal that two grown people have been outwitted by a mere insect, go to the john, come back and turn out the lights once more.

We were just about settled into our usual spooning positions, when I casually commented that the man of the house really should protect his wife and children from marauding bands of bugs and that tomorrow I expected him to properly equip himself with a tank of pesticides to spray a barrier shield around the outside foundation of the house. Heavy sighs blow about my neck with warm air, and Kman pats my leg and begins to snore. Fast forward thirty minutes. An odd grunt from the slumbering man next to me, and I drowsily sense him getting up and going to the bathroom, the toilet flushes and he returns. Pulling the cover up over his shoulder, he says two seemingly innocent words, "Got him." "How the hell...?", I am puzzled. Seems the friendly little fellow must have come all the way from Paris, Texas to participate in a menage a'trois in our bed. Kman felt him crawl across his arm, and even in a sleep-grogged state, snatched him up and flushed him to a watery grave, three swirls around for a proper burial at sea.

Kman has saved the day and vindicated himself and his kind, my hero.

(Now, I would like to add that I am a more than respectable housekeeper, and that the late night visitations by lizards or water bugs are quite rare. However, this is still Texas, and a vacant field behind one's house can be habitat for many a furried, feathered, or scaled varmit and are just a fact of everyday life for us stalwart pioneer women. And, I might add, it was a good thing the little SOB picked Kman to crawl upon; othewise, my banshee cries would have truly awoke the dead and given the neighbors an early Halloween treat.)

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Things really do come bigger in Texas and I keenly remember, from my years in Houston in the mid-1960's, the size of those bugs. They could substitute in the movies for Godzilla. The itty-bitty (by comparison) ones we have here in New York City are more than big enough for me.

Thanks god for the Kman.

Ronni

Bill said...

I just want to know why are those ... things called "water bugs" in Texas? Why are they called "palmetto bugs" in Florida. They're fucking cockroaches!

Elisson said...

Jeezus, I hate them Texas tree roaches. I remember the day I discovered - to my absolute horror - that the damn things can fly. Tried to kill it with a shot of Raid. Hah.

In Texas, they don't actually kill roaches...they name them. 'N' put little saddles on 'em.

Want to really be horrified? Dust yourself with a good coat of talcum powder before going to bed. Then wake up the next morning and count the little bitty footprints...

Kimberly said...

They like shoes, too. While it's nowhere near as painful as putting your foot in a shoe with a scorpion (which I've never done), sharing toe space with a one of those monsters is gross. Eewww. Still makes me shudder just thinking about it. And the flying? Combine with teenage girl and long, thick hair; now there's a recipe for much violent shaking of head, beating of head with hands, and oh, yes, squealing.

Thank you SO much, Pattie, for posting this 3 days before I leave relatively roach-free Seattle for a long weekend with my family in Houston.

Hokule'a said...

we get those...big ones that fly... our cats do the chasing they love them... dont ask what they do with them it is too gross!!!

Anonymous said...

how can my cousins have lived in texas 35 yrs !! and never mentioned these bugs? and watch your language , postersabove!

anyway, i am totally thinking this is a deal breaker for the move to round rock.. where my job is scheduled to start next week! cousin found roach crawling on her in bed the other night and i heard a 'tss'tss' noise.. in the dark, was that one of em?? get back to me:noyb3@yahoo.com..

Cowtown Pattie said...

Anon - I don't mind the language, I know the folks and its jes fine with me. I own the place, anyway...

As to the roaches...yes, indeedy, we name and saddle these suckers. And Round Rock will have ample supply as it is nice and warm and moist...in fact, Texas has lots of bugs and critters, and plants that poke and sting and slice.

Anonymous said...

I just moved to Houston in August and am constantly dealing with one three or four inch long one that hides near my front door and sneaks in when I open it to walk my dog. The first time he was on my shoe and I threw the shoe out the door and it ran away. The second time the thing was enjoying a rest on my cable modem. I couldn't smash it cuz all the bug guts would have killed the modem, so I had to use my two swiffers to entice the thing to climb on one so I could escort it out. Stupid mega roaches. Everything here that can be called a pest is definitely bigger except for the mosquitos which are tiny and swarm at you. Welcome to the lone star state for sure.

Cowtown Pattie said...

Houston is part of Texas, named after one of our Lone Star Sons, but I have a hard time lovin' her.

Too big, too hot, too humid, and too buggy. As you seem to have discovered!