This morning I was sitting in the bathroom minding my own business, so to speak, and all was quiet and serene. (TMI? Hey, I need to create the proper effect here.) Anyway, the calming silence was broken by an unsettling “plopping” sound in front of me on the somewhat dark, earth toned, vinyl tiled floor. (Not the location where one would expect such a sound to emanate from in that context, so you can imagine my surprise.)
The intricate thought process I am about to convey was completed in less than a second, thanks to the marvelous capacity of the human brain. “What the heck was that? Water? Is there a leak? Couldn’t be a leak, there’s no pipe up there. It hasn’t rained, either, and besides, I’m on the lower level. What on earth…?” After that brief second, I noticed that part of the dark, earth toned, vinyl floor was moving. Water does not move that way on a flat surface. In a nanosecond my eyes finally focused on a rather large centipede making its way towards me from about two and a half feet away. When a bug hits the floor with a loud “plop,” you know it has substantial mass.
Now, being a boy who grew up in the woods, I’m generally not freaked out by bugs and such. There are those rare occasions when a particularly large spider or snake suddenly appears in very close proximity that my natural fight-or-flight survival instincts kick in and I reflexively react with some odd noises and/or body spasms. But usually, I’m cool.
This time I was cool, although I did feel a sense of urgency beginning to come upon me because those darn centipedes are fast. There was no way I was going to let this one live to ambush me another day. Who knew, maybe the next time it dropped from the ceiling it would be a direct hit to the top of my head. Then there would really be some odd noises and body spasms. I could not allow that to happen, especially in the bathroom where one is most…well…vulnerable.
So, as it made its way towards me, I stood up and my brain began another thought process at warp speed. I looked around for my weapon of choice. Toilet paper? No. This one was too big for toilet paper. Might chew through it and sink its little teeth into my finger. Step on it? No, too messy. I have three year old twins. Didn’t need more mess to clean up. Suddenly, my eyes fixed on the used washcloth that was draped over the edge of the sink. Eureka! It was thick enough to protect me from the beast and already in need of a washing. I grabbed that washcloth and began stalking. The hunted had become the hunter. I thought I could hear ominous music playing in the background.
I monitored its movement around the base of the toilet and waited for the right moment to strike. I congratulated myself on the calking job I had done around the baseboards, the toilet and the sink when I remodeled the bathroom. There were few crevices it could seek refuge in. Now, I’m usually a slow moving, easy going kind of person. That’s because I save up all my speed and energy for important moments like this one. In one, swift motion I lunged, scooped and threw that monster into the toilet…along with the washcloth. Oh well, like I said, it needed to be washed anyway.
When the monster and the washcloth parted ways I rescued the cloth and flushed the bug. Then I waited and flushed again. No way was that thing going to swim back up and get on my six o’clock. I flushed a third time. Third time’s a charm. By then it was probably sitting on a piece of debris, floating out to sea and kicking itself for trying to play Spiderman on the ceiling. I’ll bet that centipede kicked itself at least a hundred times.
As for me it was back to business as usual with the sounds of silence to accompany me. I looked up at the light fixture on the ceiling and remembered the old fighter pilot adage, “Beware of the Hun in the sun!” Then I heard someone calling, “Daddy! Where are you?”