So it’s been a long day.
I woke up exhausted.
I’m not feeling 100%.
And I had to do this reading for school that consisted only of really, really long words that I don’t understand and I didn’t really have the time to look them all up in the dictionary.
So I think I deserve this break.
I’m in my dorm room, which is roughly the size of a very nice broom closet, and I’m settling down to a nice dinner of veggie dogs. It’s going to be a nice night, I figure.
Then, out of the corner of my eye, I see it: red and ugly and roughly the size of a small child; a beetle, resting innocently upon my bedside table.
The very first thing I think is: Fuck.
After that, an endless stream of worst-case-scenarios come rushing through my head.
What if the beetle’s poisonous?
I know it probably isn’t, but what if it is?
What if it bites me in my sleep, and then it’s too late for me?
I’m all alone here: if I go into a seizure or have some sort of reaction to the bug’s bite, then there’s a locked, metal door between me and rescue.
I could die.
I probably won’t, but I could.
And so, the mission begins: Operation Get-This-Killer-Out-Of-My-Room.
My first reaction is the obvious one: kill it. Kill it before it kills me.
I don’t want to do it, because I don’t believe in causing harm to anything, not even a bug, but it’s forced my hand. It’s between me and it, and I’m much too selfish to make the kind choice here.
So I scan the room, searching for something heavy enough but also valueless enough to squash the thing with. I quickly settle on something, raise it above my head, and then bring it down quick, prepared to take the life of an innocent-
The motherfucker can fly!
I race to the other side of the room, waiting for my heart and the beetle to settle. The latter eventually does, resting now on the glass of my window.
Okay, I think to myself, maybe I can use this to my advantage.
After all, if it can fly, then maybe it can fly right back out of my room. Maybe it doesn’t need to die at all.
My room isn’t that big, after all. If I open the door and startle the beetle enough, where else will it go but out?
So that’s exactly what I try. With the door to my room open, I take up an old sock in my hand and began smacking at the window around the disgusting thing.
Come on, you, I urge, both silently and (insanely) aloud. I don’t want to hurt you. I just don’t want you here either.
But the beetle doesn’t seem to notice me. It just sits there, perhaps unaware of my presence, and perhaps paralyzed with fear, I’m not sure which. The point is, it becomes very clear very quickly that this isn’t going to work.
I need another plan. Some other way to get this thing out of my room before it takes me out of this life.
And that heavy smashing-object is starting to look real good again.
But, no. I can’t kill it. I’ve made the decision to keep it alive, and that’s what I’m going to do. All I need is to get it through my open doorway. One way or another…
That’s when the second most obvious option comes to me: put it on a piece of paper and carry it out.
I mean, yes, it can fly, but I only need it to stay still for a couple of seconds, just long enough for me to run from my window to the door and then throw the thing to freedom. I’m sure it can stay still for a couple of seconds (I mean, hell, it stayed still while I was smacking the world around it with a sock, didn’t it?).
So this is what I try. And only now does the massive killer decide that it suddenly has so many places to go. Every time I lay a piece of paper in its path, it crawls the other way. Over and over and over again, it races away from me, determined to remain in my room. But that isn’t an option for me: I will get it to leave if it kills me, and so I keep sliding my sheet of paper under its thin little legs, and it keeps scurrying away.
And then, at last: success.
I have the murderer on my sheet of paper.
I lift it away from the window.
And the motherfucker takes wing again!
Instinct takes hold of me: against my will, my arm swings out, batting the thing toward the open doorway.
And it falls out of sight.
I take a minute to scan the floors for the thing, hoping that I haven’t lost it. Hoping that I don’t have to give up Operation Get-This-Killer-Out-Of-My-Room, just to let it bite me in my sleep and slip me into a coma or something. No, it has to be somewhere. I will find it.
And, at last, I do. There it is, crawling slowly over my extension cord.
I stoop down with my sheet of paper, prepared to slide it under its little legs again, but then I stop.
No, this is the perfect opportunity right now. I just have to be quick about it, making my move before it can fly away again.
I unplug the extension cord from the wall and lift it up so that it and the little red murderer are dangling above the ground. Then, I run. I run toward the open doorway, and that little killer is remaining still as stone.
I’ve done it, I think. I’m not going to die tonight!
I give the extension cord one good smack against the floor in the hallway, and the little murderer goes tumbling down. Before it can follow me back, I slip into my room, slam the door shut, and lock it with finality.
It’s done, I think, panting like a hero who has won the war. I survived.