I showered with Fred tonight. At least I think that is his name. He didn’t tell me otherwise as I urged him to stay on his side of the stained tub. He complied and clung to the whitish tile, close to the window, and didn’t say much that I could hear. Normally I shower with Charlotte, but tonight she was nowhere to be seen and I wasn’t in the mood to look for her…all the more so because I was distracted by Fred.

Fred is the collective name I have given to the large flying roaches that pepper our lives here. Whereas under different circumstances I might wait him out – let him shower first and then follow in his wake – water persuaded me otherwise.

The water here runs on no particular schedule. We usually hear the toilet start to fill – a loud clanging and whining as if a petulant child, furious at being interrupted, is throwing an escalating tantrum. Sometimes the kitchen faucet leaks, and drops land loudly against the metal sink and reverberate misleadingly through the house so that I am unsure which room the sound is coming from.

So when I heard our petulant child begin to wail, I was ecstatic that tonight would not be a sticky night but a shower filled one. Imagine my surprise (and his) when I threw back the shower curtain to find Fred scampering up the wall and clinging desperately to the thread of blue plastic twine that dangles our anorexic curtain over the bathroom window.

No matter, I quickly looked down for charlotte – the spider that lives in the drain – and with her absent, washed up speedily while keeping one eye cocked towards Fred in case he decided we should become better acquainted.

Returning to my dark room (BushDiva retired early tonight after waking up at 4:30am to cook her lunch before the power went off), relieved to have avoided a more intimate encounter with the roach, I fumbled around looking for a place to put my stuff. Out of the corner of my eye I saw something fluttering about. Figuring it must be a moth or anotherFred I squinted toward the window – the almost full moon casting a bit of shadow through the window – and recognized the outline of the frantically beating wings.


Stanley, is the bat that is supposed to live in our pantry. He seems to be getting a little too comfortable in the house, darting out on multiple nights and now venturing beyond the living room for an unobstructed joyride. Unable to turn on the light for fear of waking my roommate, or to spot where, in all of my confusion, he landed, I am weary to return to my room. I don’t think my rabies shots are up to date and I’m really not in the mood to find out for sure.

Fred, Stanley, and tonight’s excitement aside, there is also Clyde (and his female companion Bonnie) my names for the myriad lizards and geckos of varying sizes.

That exhausts my list. I haven’t bothered to name the mosquitoes. I mostly try to catch them in midair as they dive-bomb my head and ankles. And I generally leave the ants alone (I’m watching a lone one try to carry off a dead moth as I type this), except this afternoon when one found its way up my skirt and clamped down on my thigh. That one had to die. But in general I lead a live and let live kind of existence…as long as their living doesn’t too much overlap with mine.

Like I said, thank goodness for bug huts.

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2 Comments on the men in my life

  1. Lizzie says:

    When I saw the line “I showered with Fred tonight,” I thought your imaginary tape worm from our trip up East Africa was back. I believe that was what you named him.

  2. Shakirah says:

    You’re definitely, definitely a better and stronger woman than me; I would have taken my unshowered butt to bed and prayed for Fred-free days.

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