Sprickets

The curse of the six-legged roommates.

When my apartment lease expires in June, it’s highly likely that I’ll be moving out. And to be honest, I can’t wait to be rid of my roommates.

Don’t get me wrong; I’ve lived with my roommate Mikey for almost five years, and we’ve gotten along with few problems. I’m referring instead to the legions of smaller, uninvited co-habitants that have proved to be one of the few drawbacks to our centrally-located, spacious, affordable apartment.

I’m referring to the camel crickets.

If you don’t know what those are, consider yourself lucky. I didn’t know either, until about a week after we’d moved in and I saw a hulking, brownish monstrosity with several legs camped out on my bedspread. After what I’m sure were several minutes of masculine yelps and spasms, I retrieved a blunt object and sent the creature to Creepy Heaven. Before long, Mikey and I had each encountered several of its brothers and sisters. We called them “sprickets,” because they jumped quickly to and fro like crickets, but they looked more like overgrown spiders. We found them in our bedrooms, in our bathrooms, and in the living room. They were an absolute pain to kill because of their hair-trigger jumping. I hated them then, and I hate them now.

Thanks to the wonders of Wikipedia, I discovered that these nasty insects were camel crickets, and they thrive in cool, damp, dark conditions. I suppose that explains why we usually get a reprieve during the winter; this is the only time of year that it’s cooler and darker outside than in our first-floor apartment. There’s not much to be done to prevent them, it seems. So instead, we do our best to bludgeon them when they’re foolish enough to make their presence known. The more elusive ones are too fast to be brought down with unwieldy items such as textbooks or regular shoes, so we rely on my light, flat plastic Nike sandals as the weapon of choice. It helps that I have giant size-13 feet; these sandals cover a lot of area.

While there are a lot of things that I will miss about this apartment, I certainly won’t miss goose-stepping into my bathroom every morning, half-blind and naked, holding a sandal high overhead while casing the joint for the ugly six-legged beasts that sometimes lurk in the shower, the linen closet, and even (on one or two occasions) in the toilet.

On the other hand, I’ve suddenly got a great idea for a horror movie.

Article © 2008 by Kevin Brotzman