Roach Clipping

Illustration looking up at a man stomping his foot

There’s a cockroach in the hallway. And it’s big. Enough so that I’m checking for a license plate number.

The doorman is performing an impressive little interpretive dance number trying to shoo it away. Balanced on one foot, swinging the other wildly with arms flailing. It’s some variant of “The Twist” I’d call “Don’t Touch the Critter”.

The bug, for its part, is still ambling across the floor like a little drunken tourist.

There’s a pause, and now he’s back with a can of air freshener (no Raid to be found) in a bizarre attempt to somehow spray the thing away. Don’t ask me, I just live here. Maybe roaches have an aversion to Spring Freshness™ I never knew about.

After a few sprays only prove to make things wet, another pause. He screws up his face and walks off, a man on a mission.

When he returns he has the fire extinguisher in his hands.

“Hey, wait—!”


The air between us has gone opaque with a floor-to-ceiling cloud of nebulous white can’t-see-shitness. Powder everywhere, dense and choking. It looks like someone dropped a hand grenade in grandma’s makeup bag. From the other side of the mass I can hear his heavy accent lilting across a torrent of obscenity.

“Sheeeeeet! Sheeet, sheeet, sheeet!!!”

What he lacks in vocabulary he’s making up for with sheer enthusiasm.

The cloud is advancing and I’m starting to creep backwards on my heels. The hallway is narrow and I really don’t want to be sucking this junk down my lungs. Slight breezes from I-don’t-know-where are carving strange patterns in the powder as it drifts downward. It would all be quite beautiful if it wasn’t also so simultaneously screwed-in-the-head. A fire extinguisher? What were you thinking, MacGyver?

“Holy shit!!! What the fuck is that?! Is the building on fire?! Oh my God!!!”

Out in the lobby the natives have spotted the floor show. They are, oh, a tad inquisitive.

Now he’s out there talking to them, palms out, arms in front like he’s holding back an invisible wall that’s close and pressing. A bald-faced denial of the patently obvious is taking place, even as an ominously large cloud slides in from behind him. These are not the droids you are looking for. This ship is unsinkable. Of course I can drive, officer.

What could someone possibly say to get you to casually walk away from a huge cloud of billowing white smoke in your own home? Think about it. Yet somehow it’s working. Slowly, they’re walking away. They’re going back to their daily chores, running their errands. Man, you need to run for office.

We return to the hallway. The dust has settled (literally) into an odd, fire-retardant winter. Looking closely at this fresh fall of chemical snow I can make out the tiny but unmistakable trails left by six little legs scampering their way to freedom.

Forget this. Next time I’m just squashing your ass.