Crickets attempting to mate should not interrupt sleep
February 22, 2010 —
I have never been so happy to kill a bug as I was last Saturday night. A few days before, a bottle of Crème de Menthe fell and broke on my kitchen floor. I tried to clean up the spill thoroughly, but it had an unanticipated consequence — crickets. I have encountered four in my kitchen since the spill.
Where a cricket comes from in the middle of February, I don’t know. It’s as if the minty, sugary goodness itself became the small hopping critters. The first one I met made me leap onto the counter with the agility of a panther when it jumped up and hit my inner-thigh. In the summer it may not have fazed me, but one doesn’t expect such assaults midwinter.
The second was killed in the morning by my unaware tread; I never saw it alive. Just crunch, and then some guts on the bottom of my sock.
The third cricket I terminated after it attempted to enter my refrigerator while I was getting some eggs. Too far.
But I dare say this fourth was more memorable. Saturday night, after a few hours of deep slumber, I was awakened by a soft chirping. At first I thought it was my infernal refrigerator. Not that I am not grateful that it preserves my food, but it doesn’t do so silently… and it pees in my kitchen.
My accusation was ruled false, however, after the beast stopped running, and the chirping continued. It was at that time that the invasion of the crickets came to my midnight mind and I dashed out of bed slightly annoyed.
With a really cool, halogen flashlight that I got for Christmas, I scoped out behind the fridge trying to pinpoint the source of the chirping. I couldn’t see it. I shook the fridge violently. The noise stopped. I jumped back in bed.
Five minutes later. Chirping returns, more enthusiastic. I launch myself out of bed, take up my flashlight and a big shoe, and crouched down aggressively, ready to attack.
I still couldn’t see it. I reached deep to extract the towel I had put in place to silence the splatter of the fridge peeing on my floor.
There it was, with its gross antennas perked up, taunting me. I lunged with my shoe, but missed. He scurried under the fridge. I waited, ready to strike, but he didn’t come out. Hoping to have scared the capacity to make noise out of him, I returned to bed.
2:15 a.m. More chirping. Delirious with fatigue and overcome with rage, I descended upon the cricket’s location. He was again well-covered, so I had to change my maul-withfootwear strategy. Smoke him out!
I grabbed this can of spray deodorant that I’ve had for a decade. It’s far too strong and smells like heavy-duty cleaner. That’s pretty much how I use it.
I sprayed it at the chirping sound. After a ten-second sustained spray, it was silent. Convinced that I had fried the organs of my miniature adversary, I returned to bed.
2:30 a.m. I awoke coughing. A fog of sarcastically powerful deodorant filled the room. That cricket haunts me from the grave. Willing to sacrifice security for a good night’s sleep, I propped my door open and positioned my fan to rid my room of the fumes.
4:00 a.m. Chirp, chirp. No … I cried out, “Oh! Twisted fate!” I must crush this evil. There would be no other way.
I took up a more agile weapon — a flip flop. Guided by my flashlight, I leapt to the kitchen and pulled the fridge violently from the wall. There he was.
I lashed out, but he hopped around like Jackie Chan and then descended and scurried under the steely box for safety. Like an animal, I shook the fridge, yelling “Die! Die! Die!”
I stopped for a moment to see if I had forced him out. He wasn’t behind it. I peered around the front into my kitchen. The flashlight revealed a small, six-legged shadow — still, unprepared.
My eyes narrowed behind a sinister, vicious grin. I leapt. It seemed to be in slow motion. My back arched so far that my feet touched my hands. I began to descend and swing forward with all my might. As the flipflop grazed the ceiling and the vector of the flashlight came around to the floor, the cricket froze, immobilized by either the Spartacus-like attack or the gaze of the flashlight. A loud smack rocked the earth.
The Iroquois once invaded a peaceful Chippewa tribe. The Chippewa emerged victorious, and to remind any future invaders that the peacefulness of the Chippewa should not be mistaken for weakness, they placed the heads of the attacking Iroquois on pikes around the point.
On my kitchen floor, the obliterated carcass of a cricket lay as a reminder to other inconsiderate insects.