Friday, April 08, 2005

Fear of the Unknown.


Last night, I killed a monster. Not some bugbear of the unconscious, this was a living thing, a modern Grendel.

As I sat reading, I caught motion on the floor, down and away from the table.

Let me note, before I go on, that save a single hornet that made his way into this apartment on a sunny, warm day last week, there has not been a single instance of a sighting of an insect of any kind in my living-space. Furthermore, I generally have a tolerant attitude towards insects; I grudgingly acknowledge that we must share the same space, and act accordingly.

This abomination scuttled across the floor, like greased lightning, straight under my bed!

It had millions of legs. I jumped up, dove onto the bed, and turned the nighttable light on, as well as grabbing a flashlight I had handy.

I located the beast, but it was too far to reach. I grabbed several paper towels, and found it lying in wait underneath the bed. After a few moments, it shot from under the bed to just outside the corner, where it was exposed.

It was an outrageous battle, knocking over furniture, breaking lamps, and causing no little noise.

The thing was huge. It was the size of a Buick, with multifaceted eyes like basketballs, and slavering jaws. I feared for my life, thinking that I would have to stab it multiple times with a kitchen knife.

The battle raged for a minute or so while I dispatched it with the paper towels.

Afterwards, elated at its death but disconcerted at its appearance, I did some research.

This, the Scutigera coleoptrata, was the monster that I so valiantly fought. And I must admit, at hearing this news, I felt somewhat less justified in prematurely ending its life. It's mostly a beneficial little creature, with no ill designs as I had supposed. And it only has 15 pairs of legs. Not a million.

Like chewing my eyeballs out as I slept, feasting on my flesh, or injecting eggs into my brains. Not so. Simply a little housecleaner.

I cannot swear that I will let the next one (if there is a next one) live, but I have at least tempered my demeanor towards this thing, and perhaps I will think twice before slaughtering the next one.

Unfortunately, the Fear contributed to its early demise, but armed now with new information, I am less likely to act quite so rashly in the future.

I think.

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