Need to Know
The mildest of sounds may stir an avalanche. The softest sigh.
J. Ramsey Hollencraft
By: T.G. Browning
2: Roach Motel
Kevin didn’t see Professor Gunderman the rest of the weekend, which was fine by him. He only managed to get about four hours sleep before his quad neighbors managed to wake him up with a cockroach hunt.
Thud. Then crash. Then two thuds and a muffled “gotcha” did the trick. Kevin was fully awake and even a groan and roll over to avoid the light from his window over his bed didn’t manage to get him back to sleep.
Three more thuds came in quick succession and then an exchange between, Kev thought, Mandy and Pete over who had been the one to leave the tuna fish can out over night. Since neither one would admit it, and they knew Kev had been gone almost all night, they figured it had to be Carl and both vowed in an intentionally loud voice, to visit havoc and pain upon their other neighbor.
Idle threats, actually. Carl was a big guy and while he wasn’t combative, he also wasn’t going to take any guff from a plump geek science student or a willowy and perpetually sloppy-looking health student. Kev figured it was Mandy, anyway. Carl didn’t eat anything that didn’t bleed, as far as he knew, and the last time he checked, canned tuna didn’t come with platelets. Pete wouldn’t have left anything in the can that was edible or drinkable.
Kev got up. He debated getting dressed and decided a long bath would be a better idea so he grabbed his bathrobe, his soap and other toiletries and gingerly opened the door to the common area he shared with three others. One look told him he should have gotten his slippers, but since he didn’t know where they were, it was a moot point. He spotted three small, black shapes scuttling toward his door, stepped through it quickly and slammed it. Then he jumped out of the way of the pursuing Mandy who had a newspaper rolled up and swinging as she closed the gap between herself and her prey.
Through slightly clenched teeth, Kevin managed, “’morning, Mandy.” He sidestepped again as the insects made for his shadow and possible safety. They didn’t make it. Thud, thud.
“Morning, Kevin. ’scuse me.” Thud.
Kevin danced out of the way of the now pursuing Pete who had his own retreating platoon of scuttlers. Kev managed to get into the bathroom before Pete got in thumping distance and locked the door. Oddly, none of the cockroaches made it into the bathroom.
He started a bath, soaked for a while, listening to Pete’s stereo as it played some Moody Blues album and reflected that the price of living in a quad wasn’t that much cheaper than a single apartment twenty blocks away in a bad neighborhood. He’d move if he could find the energy. At the moment, he doubted he could.
Once relaxed and clean, he shaved quickly and then emerged just in time to see Carl overseeing the body count and clean up. He too looked upset, probably because the thought of cockroach guts on countertops didn’t make for a settled stomach. He was saying, “ …this has got to come to an ass-grinding stop. It’s gotten to the point where we’ve got so many of them, we’re in danger of being eaten in our sleep. I say we get the manager to call in an exterminator.”
“Fat chance of that. He’d have to fumigate the entire complex. They didn’t just wander into our place alone. They’re all over.” Pete looked both angry and sick to his stomach.
Mandy, by this time, had gotten rid of her now soggy newspaper and was sitting at the table, drinking coffee and eating a newly opened (Kevin hoped) bag of corn curls. She suddenly said, “I got an idea.”
“What?” Pete flopped down in the chair opposite the girl. “Anything. I’m ready to either move or run up a white flag.”
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