An Interlude of Insects
The memi; every summer there’s one hiding near whichever window is open. Of course, it could be a cricket type thing. I always forget which one sings first in the year and which last. Koreans never seem to know either and if I ask I’m even more confused. I think I generally fathom it out by October, by the time they’re all dead, but when spring comes back, I’ve forgotten. ‘Listening to the Locust,’ well I like the alliteration but locusts are too much like cockroaches and ‘Listening to the Gweedorami,’ too off track. Last year I remember hearing a memi almost at the end of Autumn. I came over all nostalgic as it must have been the last memi of the year – (but maybe it was a cricket thing!) It’s solitary chirping was quite pathetic as there were no other memi chirping back. I know they’re ugly but what a bum way to go! Do they hibernate? A memi is a cicada but I never know how to pronounce the word and of course, we don’t have them in Britain, so they’re a little special.
I saw my first cockroach of the year last week. It was freaking big. It was late afternoon and with the kitchen window open, the warm afternoon temperature, which obviously coaxed it from its hidey-hole, had dropped and stranded it, almost frozen, on the wall. I didn’t look at it too long as I was expecting it to scuttle away but I saw it long enough to notice that despite its length, about 3 cm, it looked quite gaunt. I rapidly picked up a floor brush and bashed it on the wall but the bristles hit it and it fell to the floor where it lay on its back dazed. Between the fridge and wall, this horrid piece of God’s creative genius, was almost safe, it only need drag itself a few centimeters to be under the fridge, but the fall and cold were taking their effect and I had just enough time to grab my spray can – unused since last year. I pointed the nozzle between the space by the fridge. There it was, with those revolting antennae bibbling and bobbling, trying to hide behind the electric cable. I’ve noticed the spray works excellent on flies and mosquitoes. The mosquitoes drop almost instantly, dead after a few twitches, while those big fat flies which Koreans so aptly call ‘Shit Flies,’ fly around for a minute before nosediving into the floor where they suddenly go all spastic-spasm and then stop – dead! Sometimes they’ll lie still for several seconds and then buzz crazily back into life, usually whirling round on the floor like they’ve been hit by the most enormous dose of amphetamine. Then, dead, they stop for good. But the cockroaches, you can spray them and they simply run away. Even neat bleach doesn’t seem to affect them. I don’t think the spray really works unless you spray so much on them they drown. If it wasn’t for the fact the spray kills other insects I might think it simple water. So, cornered and behind the power cable, I spray the thing so hard it’s blown onto its back where it sticks to the wall, weirdly cruciform. I didn’t stop spraying until I knew it couldn’t escape. I left it down there for a day, until it had dried and fallen from its sticking place, then I swept it out, chucked it in the sick, and washed it away. Even though it didn’t touch any of the stainless steel, I tipped a whole kettle of boiling water down the sink hole to purge its passage.
In class, kids tell me never to splat them as if it’s a female it can deposit eggs and I know they carry an egg sack, even that sounds revolting, an ootheca. They also tell me they can crawl back up sinks and climb out of toilets and that microwaving them is the best method of disposal. Would you want to heat your toasty in the microwave after baking a roach in it? I’ve now strategically placed roach (Combat) stations all around my flat. I only saw about 8 roaches last year and know they were coming under my front door, from outside.What fucking planet was God on when he designed a bloody cockroach? That’s an animal absent from ‘All things Bright and Beautiful!’
© 林東哲 2011 Creative Commons Licence.