I sort of knew my time in New York would not be complete without seeing him. That he would pop up somewhere from between the cracks, when I was least expecting it.
I guessed I might be pretty shaken up by this and it was made worse by the amount people were talking about him. Like some sort of crazy celebrity; front in centre of people's thoughts - especially the ladies. He wouldn’t, it appeared, fade into obscurity, like a small ugly piece of history that was easily left behind.
With all this thinking about him I realized I’d given him the power to grow to twice the size of what is regular and then last night there he was, standing in the middle of our Bed-Stuy kitchen; still in the light we’d thrown on but certainly not moving. He was massive! At least as wide as two thumbs put side by side. A grand daddy, a general in armor so black and shiny it seemed almost impenetrable.
We shrieked and ran out, offering up typically pathetic suggestions to “squash him with your shoe!” Though I couldn’t think of any sole thick enough for this, or any leg that would want to accompany it.
My husband grabbed the kill spray from the top of the fridge and sprayed him hard. He moved in that awful sideways scuttle under the sink, where we could no longer reach him.
At 1am I went back into the kitchen for a glass of water and found him in the middle of the floor giving it all up. A foamy white fluid of insides was seeping out from under his shell, making his little legs swim. “God forgive us”, I whispered and I have never been religious.
I thought of small children and regular adults and war. So the New York cockroach, now we've met and when I see his little grandchildren scurrying around the place I think of him.