Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Kansas…all these places I’ve lived. Typical exterminator service plans in these areas are offered on a quarterly basis. There were times perhaps when I wanted them out sooner, but for the most part, 4 treatments a year seemed to work.
Down here, the guy comes monthly. I thought it was excessive at first, but since my landlord included it in our rent, I wasn’t going to argue. When my girlfriend contacted a different company, they said the same thing. I had seen very few bugs in the house, so I figured I shouldn’t mess with a good thing.
Every time he would come, he would ask me: “Seen any bugs?” Perhaps I had seen one small silverfish in the last month. Or a spider. He would grimly nod his head and charge off to deal with the invertebrates that dared cross his spray lines.
A few weeks ago, Bill killed a roach. I don’t do roaches. I just don’t. They scare me. They make me scream. They make me cry. So, when the bug guy called to set up a date to come, I told him about the roach.
“Yeah, you’ll see those,” he replied.
“Oh, no, don’t tell me that,” I whimpered.
“Ah, come on,” he said, “This is Georgia.”
Between the bugs and the heat, I’m becoming convinced that joining a mission in a poor country and helping them build water treatment facilities (my retirement plan) is something I just don’t have the fortitude to do. Or maybe this time in the Deep South is part of my training. And I’m failing.
This morning, I took something into the laundry room and turned to find a roach on its back in the doorway. I do not know how I missed it coming in, but now I was trapped. I am not fooled by the “dead bug” ploy. I have experience enough with roaches to know they aren’t dead unless they are squashed.
“Fritz,” I called with alarm in my voice, “get your father!” Bill came quickly, worriedly.
Good man. He didn’t even tease me about hiding behind the washer from a dead bug.
I did warn him that it wasn’t dead, and sure enough, he witnessed some wiggling legs right before he crushed it. My hero. What would I do without him?
Laundry. Until the thing managed to get away.