Monday, October 13, 2014

La Cucaracha or Confessions of a Killer

At last it was Friday night! My husband had an evening meeting, so after dinner the kids and I cuddled up on the couch to watch a movie. As we became more engrossed in the flick, I glimpsed motion out of the corner of my eye. "Wow, that is a pretty big gecko." These lovable little reptilian mosquito munchers are more than welcome in our apartment. They are shy and helpful, so no worries. However it took me a moment to register that this was no oversized gecko, but rather a bulky unwelcomed guest, "OH no, that is a COCKROACH!" No sooner had this phrase passed my lips than both of my children squealed like newborn piglets, and leapt on to the tops of our two couches. Within seconds they had formed pillow and blanket barricades for extra pest protection.

Our uninvited guest scuttled directly to the television and stopped. Perhaps he only desired a better view of "Jinxed" it was a pretty entertaining movie after all. My mind raced. What could I use to contain this cockroach? Having no spray on hand, I fled to the kitchen grabbing a plastic bag and a circular take out container. My initial, albeit faulty, plan was to gently drop the bag, causing the cockroach to crawl inside and then the Tupperware like container would be my back up.

I stealthily let the bag gently careen down towards the floor. The cockroach was on to my plan. He scurried away. "Nice going mom!" Came the criticism from my boy perched atop the couch. "Says the boy on the pillow pinnacle!" I retorted. I breathed a sigh of relief when I observed the cockroach had retreated to the 90 degree corner. I knew I only had one more chance to capture or kill it or no one would sleep in the apartment that night. I opted for the circular container this time. Ever so slowly I crept and little by little slunk the container in my hand lower and lower, then THUMP I swiftly slammed the container down. 

I felt like a modern day McGuyver. Yes! I have slain the cockroach with this lidless plastic container and my sheer wits! I glimpsed the carnage. The body inside the container, head outside. I waited. My full weight remaining on the container. I vaguely recalled a documentary that touted cockroaches as one organism that could survive a nuclear fallout. I racked my mind to recall what the stats were sans head. I was thinking three days to a week. I wiggled the container and sure enough the body kept walking about. I kept my hand on the container for the remainder of the movie. Would it run out of oxygen in a sealed spot perhaps? My son suggested throwing the evidence off our 18 story balcony. I mentally did the mathematical estimation 1 cockroach minus a head lives one week max...hmm but the variable of speed. With a head a cockroach travels like 80-100 cm per second, but without a head could he make it back up 18 floors to exact revenge? What type of revenge could I expect from a decapitated roach? So much to ponder. I don't recall McGuyver ever facing these types of mathematical conundrums. Finally I scooped the carcass up. Ah clean kill as I had extracted part of central nervous system. My kids descended from their perches, much to their chagrin as I made them take a closer look because, "How many kids can say they have seen part of a cockroach brain?" (The woes of having a science teacher mom). "Mom you are DISgustING!" My daughter safely huffs off after her peek. "Uh, you ARE going to dump that off the balcony, right mom?" My son hesitantly inquires after his peek. I may be partially responsible for nightmares.

After some research, I learned we had glimpsed mushroom bodies,which according to Discover Science allow the cockroach "salience." Hopefully I was quick enough to fall into the merciful category. Just in case I wasn't, I acquiesced to my son 's wishes and we released the body to the winds off the 18th floor balcony. Apologies to my ground floor neighbors if the survival stats are true. 

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