I did it. I murdered my first New York City cockroach. He was big and gross and he had hairy legs.
And no, I don’t know the actual gender of the loathsome creature, but I assume all cockroaches are male just like you assume that all ladybugs are female.
Cockroaches are disgusting little fuckers. They really are. Firstly, they have exoskeletons, which is a fancy way of saying that his skeleton is on the outside of his body. Another fun fact: Cockroaches have wings but can’t really fly, which essentially makes them the chickens of the insect kingdom. Oh! And, did you know that their anus is actually a small hind leg? Yup, their anus is a leg. A. LEG.
I first saw his nasty, foul body as he creepily made his way across the top of the fridge. “Hey!” I shouted. The roach froze, waving his antennae up in the air trying to sense where I was, which in turn made him look even grosser, therefore making me even angrier.
“Just what do you think you’re doing?” I barked while pausing The First Wives Club on my computer, which—SIDENOTE—is no longer available to stream on Netflix. What is up with that, guys? Netflix, if you could bring this 90s classic back, you’d make my days off a whole lot better.
“Just what do you think you’re doing?!” I barked, getting up from the couch and approaching the fridge. Its roach senses must have felt me coming because it scurried backward, nestling himself underneath my Honey Nut Cheerios. “Oh no, you didn’t.” No one touches my Cheerios. No one. I grabbed the dustpan and handheld broom and began to tap various sides of the fridge, trying to frighten him to the ground so I could demolish him with my flip-flopped foot.
“Come on, you little piece of shit! Get away from my food, you fat fuck!” (Although that alliteration felt good to say, it was completely inaccurate. Cockroaches are quite thin and can compress themselves to almost the girth of looseleaf paper.) “Oh, you think you’re so cool, don’t you? Don’t you?!” I yelled at the roach, still hidden under my fucking cereal. “You think you can come in here and be all sly and shit? You think you can come into my house and scurry up my walls and swim in my drain while I’m asleep?! You think I wouldn’t find you? Well, guess what? I FOUND YOU!”
What happened next can only be described as an “out-of-body experience.” You know that moment in 300 when Gerard Butler’s character proclaims “THIS. IS. SPARTA!”? Well, imagine that same energy, except instead of a muscular Spartan warrior inspiring soldiers for battle, it’s a young twenty-something wearing slippers and a nightie passionately exclaiming, “THIS.IS.MY.HOUSE!” alone in her New York apartment.
I wound up and swatted the Cheerio box with an angry force, sending the contents atop the fridge flying. “Where’d you gooooOOOO?” I crazily sang out to the bug, channeling my inner Joan Crawford à la Mommy Dearest. Suddenly, something small and nasty dashed out of the corner of my eye; I whipped around and saw him crawl underneath the futon. “GET OUT OF THERE!” I screeched, ripping the futon away from the wall just in time to see the roach make a dash for my bedroom. “NEVER!” I yelled, hurling the hand broom at his nasty brown body, missing him by an inch. He then scurried under the footstool, which I then flung toward the opposite side of the room, knocking over my roommate’s never-needs-water plant to the ground. The roach then sought refuge under the fridge, foolishly thinking he would be safe.
“Oh-ho-ho!” I cackled. “You think you’re safe under there, don’t you, little bug?! Well, little do you know, I’m A CRAZY PERSON AND NOWHERE IS SAFE!!!” With the help of adrenaline and god only knows what else, I pulled the fridge from the wall, revealing the roach with nowhere for him to go. “ I got you now!” I panted.
SWAT! SWAT! SWAT! I brought the broom down on him three times. I turned it over to reveal his paralyzed body folded among the bristles, his extremities still yawning upwards and outwards, indicating he was still, astonishingly, alive. “Why won’t you die?!” I grabbed Windex and sprayed it on his crinkled body, and then, when he still displayed signs of life, I held him under hot water, and then just to be sure that he was actually dead I put his mangled body in an empty Talenti container and buried him deep in the freezer, where he can be found today.
Am I proud of this moment in time? OK, not particularly. Even though his gross face, body, and shitty wings were enough to make my skin crawl, I’m not exactly proud of the fact I drowned a living creature in Windex. However, when I recount the happening to my fellow New Yorkers there is a resounding “That happened to me” or “I totally understand,” and some even applaud my efforts of bravery and dominance! The story has been a unifier of sorts and has made me feel like I am one step closer to being a true New Yorker.
I’m pretty sure the next New York milestone after “Cockroach In Home Experience” is “Get Hit By A Car.” Hopefully, I’ll find success in that, too.