Monday, August 04, 2008

Monsters are not there to scare us, but to remind us that they can be slain.

I may be paraphrasing largely neglected English Modernist author G.K. Chesterton, but the sentiment applies.

One of the few negatives of the house where I live is the fact that there is a large house centipede population that likes to make itself known on occasion. When they do, they require termination.

Tonight, after finishing watching “Spaced” on DVD (available now and recommended for those that liked “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz” as well as for those people with at least half a brain), I retired to my room and found the largest centipede I’ve seen yet in the corner of my room, above my computer desk (a modest card table in lamentable disarray). I switched on the air conditioner and regarded the intruder with the same disgust that Dutch did when he finally saw the Predator.

Two Inch Centipede Small

Conferring with my roommate, we concluded the beastie was easily over two inches long, not counting the spindly alien-legs that gave it its unnatural mobility. In the unseen Darwinian wilderness of the house, this creature had risen to Alpha Predator-like status, and did not move away when the light came on. It had no reason to be afraid of anything.

It had to be dealt with. Its position could not go unchallenged.

But first I had to go to the loo. Grabbing a copy of W.B. Yeats’ poetry, I flew to the bathroom to, ahem, “publish my manuscript.” One flush later, I had a plan.

Downstairs to the kitchen to grab the large flyswatter. While there, I took a slug of Plymouth Gin (because any other gin is revolting). Armed with alcohol and an instrument of violence, I spied one of the Alpha’s smaller bretheren sitting on the moulding of the stairway. I took a practice swing with my left hand, but only succeeded in winging it before it found refuge in the shadows.

Back upstairs, the plan evolved. The Alpha was still in the corner, as if taunting me haughtily. It had the advantage of terrain. Being in the corner meant I had to climb onto my wheeled, swivel chair to get a decent shot at it, a largely unbalanced position. I would be fighting an uphill battle and I knew it.

A long sleeved shirt was added for fear that if I missed, it might end up on me. A full-face Halloween mask was added to that, like an executioner’s hood in case it got on my face. Thus armed, I took up my position and readied my strike. A deep breath. An unspoken prayer for swift victory. A swing.

Of course I missed and the monster dropped to the ground. I retreated off of the chair to get both feet on the ground. Thick shoes with 159 lbs of human above them could be brought into play now too.

The monster was in the lower corner behind the desk. Shoes wouldn’t reach. Another strike with the flyswatter, winging it. It began scuttling toward my bed. Two more missed strikes and it was under the bed. Iesu, it was fast, but I had injured the Alpha.

It won the first round.

Regrouping with the resolve that if this monster did not die immediately, it could wreak its bloody revenge while I slept, I pulled out the bed.

I found it, lying against the moulding. I lined up my strike, now sans mask to ensure accuracy, and struck.

I blinked in disbelief. The damn thing vanished. A closer look revealed some fluid against the wall and what appeared to be some legs mixed in with the dust bunnies. My aim had been true. The monster seemed to have exploded with a central hit. Expected more of a mess.

There should have been more of a mess. I moved the head of the bed to see if it ran behind it. Nothing. I looked under the head of the bed. Again nothing. I reexamined the floor. The fluid was still there.

Still, “no body, no death,” as they say. There’s a remote chance that the beast escaped death by my hands. A chance that it was still in the room somewhere, under the bed. A chance that it was watching me type this very sentence with its soulless, multifaceted eyes.


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