By Sydney Gay
With increasing frequency a medium size cockroach enters my kitchen, I could stomp it with my shoe but the closer I come to my own death the more I realize not a year goes by without murder happening somewhere, this roaches not threatening me. Maybe I should let it live.
Thinking it is female and frequently pregnant, I name her Cuca, wondering if God wants me to be kind to roach babies, I make a Google search, google sends me a story about “a gang” of roaches living in the messy apartment of a Japanese man named Tokyo. Gokiburi is the Japanese word for cockroach, these Gokiburi think Tokyo’s place is an absolute paradise.
Unfortunately Tokyo gets a new girlfriend, who sees hundreds of roaches running in and out of the apartment happy as they please, she says “I hate those ugly things and attempts to exterminate them. Well, the Gokiburi get very angry, all hell breaks loose, Tokyo begins to have nightmares, he has to do something to restore peace, so he gets rid of the girl.
Thankfully my roach Cuca is a solo artist, preferring to live alone, she hardly gives me even a brief look; however, I notice, the calmer I become the longer she is willing to look and after a while we began having conversations.
Me: Where are you going, Cuca?
Cuca: In there.
Me: What are you up to?
Cuca: Bye Bye.
Twilight of The Cockroaches* is a Broadway play featuring a glamorous cockroach named Naomi. When the curtain opens, Naomi is dressed to the nines on her way to a New Year’s Eve party when suddenly a huge rainstorm hits the street, it looks like Naomi is going to drown, but she crawls beneath a pile of dog poop and saves herself. Finally, the rain stops, she scurries off to the party where all her roach friends are drinking, singing and dancing. *Twilight of the Cockroaches can be seen on you tube.
Day by day my Cuca is getting fatter; she will give birth soon; I plan to get a child size broom to sweep the babies outside, I will not kill them. No no no, I will try to train them. I imagine this conversation. Me: Out. Out. Out. Them: Okay. Okay.
I am wondering, do you know the story of Godzilla, The Giant Green Lizard vs. The Gigans? The Gigans are “masterful” roaches who invented the quantum physics of entanglement; they invade planet Earth and behave like humans. All they want is a safe place to live; their own planet had been destroyed by pollution. Godzilla decides the Gigans must be killed. The rest of the story is about murder with guns and bombs. Oh well, they say it’s a man’s world.
It’s great the way Cuca can read my mind, she hatched her babies outside, then cleaned the kitchen floor, after scooping up crumbs like a vacuum, she left the house. Late that night I found a dead beetle in the house, laying on its back with legs sticking straight up in the air, I left it for Cuca and went to bed, in the morning the beetle was gone. How lovely. Perhaps there are benefits to roaches, so I research google again and five seconds later a book review of Archy and Mahitabel arrived.
Archy is an educated cockroach who writes books, I quote: ‘Expression is the need of my soul, I was a poet, but I died and my soul went into the body of a cockroach, named Archy.” College students love this story. I don’t know why.
And I don’t know why cockroaches are not ever mentioned in the Bible, therefore I feel it necessary to say Cuca has become my spirit guide, although beady eyes and six hairy legs horrify my senses, she knows my limits and recognizes what I need. She told me to read The Secret Life of Plants and I am so glad I did, because during rainy season, leaf cutter ants destroyed my favorite rosebush, I did what the book said and asked the bush, “What do you think I should do to keep you safe and it replied give the Cutter ants a bowl of sugar and rice; rice is not expensive so they will eat that instead of me. Well, I followed those instructions and the roses started to grow again.
I now come to the end of my story. One morning I woke to the smell of sadness, Cuca was nowhere to be seen, I looked through the house, there in the kitchen sink was Cuca floating in a spoon of olive oil, I forgot to wash that spoon last night. She got drunk on oil and drowned. She was quite dead.
And that is the end of my story.