Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Shower Scene (Of the Crime)

I committed a murder this morning. I feel no remorse. In fact, I can almost guarantee I’ll do it again if I ever get the chance.

Here’s how it went down: I was taking a shower. I felt something on my lower calf. I looked down and saw an unidentifiable dark mass, roughly the size of a quarter. As I reached down to brush it off, it FLEW AWAY. I cried out – not in a ladylike scream, but in an awkward, poorly executed yell that kinda sounded like, “wha-AAAAAAH” because I didn’t realize until halfway through my exclamation that the thing touching me had been a moth. Buh-h-h. I loofahed the dickens out of the spot where it had made contact with my skin, but not before I trained the shower head on that little monster and ensured it had been washed securely down the drain and was well on its way to a watery grave.

As I scour my childhood memories for anything related to moths, all I can come up with is the smell of mothballs up in the old shed we used to store extra clothes in when I was really small. (This triggers another memory: the time when my ten year old cousin took me up there and forced me to smoke a cigarette on threat of being kicked out of the Big Girls Club. I’m pretty sure I started coughing uncontrollably as soon as it touched my lips, so I ended up getting out of it.) Even without the cigarette smoke, it smelled terrible up there, and I remember thinking it was highly unlikely that moths could do much damage, since they don’t have any scary teeth or claws or anything. Rats, possums, angry kittens, sure, but moths? Give me a break. Even as a six year old, I was surprisingly cynical.

Around the same time, another insect attempted to make the trek up my leg, resulting in its untimely death and a memory that I fear will haunt me for a lifetime. I was sitting in the tall chair usually reserved for Sarah (I assume because she was the cutest. Cute kid always gets the tall chair. Story of my life.) when I spotted it. The biggest cockroach I had ever seen, scuttling over my kneecap. If my six year old brain served me right, I believe it was about a foot long. We lived next to a corn field, and they had just cut down all the crops. Hours later, after the screaming had stopped, my parents explained that lots of little mice and bugs, like this one, had been living in the field and were now homeless. They saw how nice we all looked so they wanted to come live in our house with us. This story, although touching, was not enough to move me to grief for having squashed the contents of its fragile exoskeleton with one of my dad’s shoes.

Those were the days. When large bugs were a rarity only to be endured during harvest time. Nowadays, moths have become an unfortunate fixture in my summer life. We rarely turn our porch light on, because I’d rather risk stubbing a toe on my way to the door than have to “1..2..3..RUN!” into the house, slam the door shut behind us and prop a heavy dresser against it to keep out the horde that’s gathered around our porch light, just waiting for a chance to sneak in and munch on all my favorite outfits. For example, there is at least one small hole in each of the two tank tops and the skirt I’m wearing today. I keep telling myself I should throw them out, but then I remember that if I were to get rid of every piece of clothing I had with a tiny hole in it, I’d be coming to work naked 4 out of 5 days a week, which I’m pretty sure is in violation of our dress code. Sorry, HR, you’re gonna have to take it up with the moths.

Last summer was the worst, and the reason all my clothes are ruined. Apparently it happens every year. Hundreds of thousands of miller moths come in and run this town for a few weeks, after which half of them clear out. (A cleverly titled article from Colorado Springs Independent explaining the phenomenon can be found here.) The rest choose to live out their remaining days on my front porch, spending the bulk of their time sipping Mojitos and taunting my dog.

I’ve never considered myself a cruel person, but I can’t deny the sadistic pleasure I feel whenever I catch Brutus playing with one on the floor, tossing and catching it in his mouth a few times before dropping it on the carpet and slowly beating it to death with his paws.

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