I murdered a cricket. It wasn’t premeditated.
It began about a month ago. But perhaps, I should back up a couple of years and talk about the loud-barking, paw-stomping labradoodle upstairs that started out as a puppy. Now, it’s as big as a horse and when it’s not galloping back and forth across the hardwood floors, it’s howling from separation anxiety when its owner leaves. Oh Diane feels bad alright – she even brought down a box of See’s candies last Christmas as a peace offering, like that would sweeten things. I anxiously gobbled the chocolates in one sitting.
After too many sleepless nights, numerous phone calls, threats, letters to the board, (we even installed a ceiling fan for the white noise) lately, the dog had gotten a little better. Mostly, I try to avoid the owner, but when I ran into her at the mailbox, she told me that she’d been giving Poochy a sedative when she goes out to her polka dancing lessons at night.
Things aren’t perfect, but in the world we live in nowadays, we must try to get along.
So now, the cricket. I love crickets. They remind me of camping outside under the stars. They’re calming, like nature’s white noise — outside. As our guest made its home in the kitchen either behind the stove or the refrigerator, or both (sort of like one was its summer home), I forgot about the neighbors upstairs.
After a couple of nights of chirping, I shouted, “Okay, that’s enough serenading.”
“It’s a mating call,” my husband said. “Come back to bed.” I couldn’t see whether he was rubbing his legs together or not as I sealed off both doors to the kitchen.
“Sounds like they’re multiplying. How long do they live?” I asked.
Overnight, I’d turned into a zombie from lack of sleep and then in the morning, I walked in to find Kafka’s giant cockroach frying up hash browns at the stove. I rubbed my eyes; it was only hubby making breakfast. I was having trouble formulating sentences, making up words like translexic and freezer brain and mullfoon. I couldn’t find the dozen reading glasses all lined up on my head like airplanes on the LAX runway.
And then the next morning, I shouted, “There it is!”
Staring up at me with those cute teeny, tiny bug eyes was a little cricket in the middle of the floor. My husband lunged for it, but the critter quickly scooted back from whence it came. Damn!
The next week, my husband did some research on Google. There were a couple of home remedies to get rid of the pesky little creatures.
“Says here, you can leave out a beer bottle and then the cricket crawls in and drowns.”
“What? We don’t want to kill it. Maybe, pour out some of the beer and it will just get drunk and then we can toss it outside.”
A week went by, still the chirping persisted, and after I nearly killed myself tripping over the beer bottle, Trapper John came home from Home Depot with some traps.
“You know, they were here first,” I said.
“In this condo?”
No, but we built over their habitat and we can’t just kill them,” I said. “Besides, they’re good luck in Asia and Eastern Europe.”
“Well this is America,” responded Davy Crockett.
“Yes, where we kill and displace natives.”
“That’s a little extreme.”
The traps didn’t work and the next week I caught my husband, who’d just had minor back surgery, pulling out the refrigerator and the stove. He reached for the can of Raid. I turned away, pretending not to see; I would not be an accomplice to murder. We left the house to let the vapors settle (hubby is very sensitive to bug spray).
We were assaulted by the fumes when we got home later that night and the little virtuoso was chirping away.
This is the part where I plead insanity. I don’t know what came over me, except that I was overwhelmed by the noxious gases and I grabbed the can of Raid (if you want something done right, do it yourself!) and blasted the side of the stove with a steady stream of deadly poison.
The chirping stopped.
That night as we lay in bed, tears dripping into my ears, I lamented that I’d killed the cricket. “Is it seven years’ bad luck?” I asked. “Maybe, it’s just in a coma? Or maybe, it’s playing possum like the possum my dad accidentally killed when I was a kid.”
“So murder must run in the family,” hubby said. “You didn’t name it, did you?”
I fell asleep to the sound of the fan whirring overhead. And then at around 3:00 in the morning, I heard the familiar cacophony of the polka-dancing owner and her labradoodle clomping around upstairs, but this time I heard an accordion.