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April 15, 2024

A Roach's Dose

By John Haymaker

There was a lull in the conversation as my partner and I dined out at a Mexican restaurant one evening. I hurriedly searched my repertoire of vignettes to keep him entertained. Perhaps inspired by the ambiance, la cucaracha came to mind, a tale I’d felt constrained to withhold from him for fear of his response. But at the thought just then, I couldn’t contain my laughter.

“What are you laughing at?” he asked and poured us more wine.

“Oh, just a cockroach I knew.” Of course, he flashed a look as if to question my sanity. Full with the wine – and my credibility on the line – I let loose with the tale:

I’d intruded on a cockroach humping our morning dose of multivitamins. I’d laid out two on the kitchen counter the night before, as usual, lest we forget to take them and find ourselves lagging in the afternoon. To the roach’s credit, the elongated, reddish-brown speckled tablets were similar to his size, shape and colorations – and thus provided either the perfect aphrodisiac or the perfect match for him. Not even the sudden brilliance of kitchen lighting or my looming, towering presence dispelled the roach's ardor – when you’re on the verge, it can be hard to stop. And although the roach seemed focused on the nearest tablet, I couldn’t rule out the possibility he was enjoying a ménage à trois.

I immediately trapped Valentino and his ersatz love interest within the confines of an overturned juice glass atop the saucer. I fully intended to dispose of him along with the tablets down the loo. But damn me if the little guy didn’t manage to spirit away almost like he had sprouted wings and shot over the toilette rim and onto the wall as the vitamins swirled away in the flush. I gave him a quick quash with a backhanded slap, managing only to disjoin a hind leg before he fell to the floor and disappeared behind the woodwork – to crawl away and die I presumed.

Thereupon, I commenced a new routine. Each night I laid out our vitamins on a saucer and carefully covered them with an upside down bowl – as I continue to doing to this day. Although I wanted to confess about the cockroach’s tryst to my partner, I hesitated, wondering how long the cockroach been carrying on with our vitamins. Their kind do have a reputation for being prolific. But was this Valentino virile enough to carry on out there nightly while we slept? Had our dose of vitamins contained an extra dose of jizz? I certainly couldn’t rule out that after some sleepless night either of us had mistakenly grabbed a cockroach off the counter and swallowed it whole.

All the best evidence suggested with certainty that all his heartfelt efforts at procreation were for naught as I hadn’t seen his kind at the house before. I’m not sure when the roach snuck into the premises, unless perhaps a recent guest toted him along. He certainly seemed to be fairly lonely – if not altogether a loner.

Nevertheless, I brought home bait traps that evening to be safe and secreted them out of sight in upper reaches of cabinets; if my partner spotted any roaches or the traps, he might suspect the whole affair anyway – and never take another vitamin.

Six months later Valentino emerged from the woodwork, ambling along on his five good legs. Maybe he was still searching for his vitamin fix – or perhaps an actual partner. The bait traps sure hadn’t phased him. I admired his resiliency so much, I let him crawl on – confident he still hadn’t mastered procreation.

Watching my partner bust a gut over my rendition of this tale, I wondered why I held back for so long. Perhaps for fear he’d believe me too frugal to flush expensive, dollar-a-pop vitamins. Truth be known, I might misremember that part, but I think I flushed them. In any case, we’d long ago moved from that house and could look back and laugh.

Article © John Haymaker. All rights reserved.
Published on 2023-12-18
Image(s) are public domain.
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