i get along with most bugs. spiders, fine. ‘elelu…icky, especially the big ones… but overall, tolerated. flies, eh. grasshoppers, crickets, praying mantis…whatever. mosquitoes, i won’t even think twice–swat! get them as quick as possible, those darn bloodsuckers.
but centipedes? no way! ugh ugh ugh ugh ugh ugh. hate the things.
i’ve never been bitten, thank goodness! (watch me just jinx myself and get bitten!) but i’ve heard so many stories from people who got bit and how it hurt like no other pain in the world, including childbirth…which was not pleasant, let me tell you!!!! so i really don’t think i’d be able to handle a centipede bite.
i don’t think i’d seen any growing up…maybe at school, but not up close. and yes, we sang about it in ‘ukulele class…i had only just a second to decide what to do, while looking at his poisonous fangs…when i said i thought it was a beautiful day, he said look out, mr haole, i think you’re pushing my leg!…in lahaina, where sugar cane grow, in lahaina, where living is slow, in lahaina, the mangos are sweet but the centipede he crawls all over your feet… (which i was surprised to find out later that this was by kenny loggins, the same one who sang footloose!). but i had never seen one up close and personal.
then i moved to the dry leeward side…home of scorpions and centipedes galore. i had several visit me in my classroom. one of the e.a.s who was raised by his kahuna uncle said that centipedes were usually sent by a kahuna, as requested by someone who doesn’t like you. so whenever a centipede was caught, he said we had to burn it, and as it’s burning, you can hear the squeaking of the bad spirit being released and sent back to the person who sent it to you in the first place. i saw my first one up close as it crawled along my desk. talk about heebeejeebees!!!! ACK. i got me and the kids out of there sooo fast and called for the janitor, but he couldn’t find it. i kept thinking, who hates me? this is only my first year here! as i found 3 more later that year. never caught, though, so they may have been the same one. but ugh. though i did get stung by a scorpion, i luckily never got bitten by a centipede, and they became rare as the years went on.
several years later, months after having my child, i was in my room one day and i heard a familiar chk-chk-chk sound, like the sound of a cockroach scuttling across a newspaper. however, the sound went on much longer than a cockroach sound would be…so i thought, wow, that’s either one fast cockroach…or it has many legs?!?!?! i looked around at the source of the sound, and saw my plastic bags of crafts i had stacked up in the corner that i had wanted to get to during my maternity leave, but never did. i watched that area again, as i heard it…chkchkchkchkchkchkchkchk. and there, i saw it. it was actually *standing* on its rear legs, as it was trying to climb the bags, i’m guessing. it was sort of trying to propel its upper body up onto the bags, and all you’d hear is those legs going chkchkchkchk against the plastic. i yelped. i never saw a centipede stand! i grabbed my can of bug spray and sprayed and sprayed but it quickly went down and scuttled away … needless to say, i did not get to sleep that night. i stayed awake all night, light on, with that can of bug spray in my hand.
the next night, i heard that sound again. i armed myself with the bug spray. this time i saw it going from the plastic bags along the wall to the other corner. blasted it with spray until it turned white from the spray. it finally stopped moving after turning completely white. however i refused to touch it until i was sure, so i dropped a plastic overturned bowl over it so it couldn’t get away, if it wasn’t dead. phew, i thought.
the next night, i had just finished feeding the baby on my bed when i felt a tickle against my foot. instinctively, i kicked…i had blankets on, so i kicked it off me, and sat up quick. i lifted up the blanket and what did i see crawling straight for me and my baby?!?!??! ACKKKK!!!! a black long thing zig-zagging towards my baby’s leg!!! no way would anything hurt my baby so with what I like to think was superhuman strength (i mean seriously, if it was a different situation not involving my baby, i would not have done this! i would’ve ran away…) I grabbed my blanket with my hand and swatted the beast off my bed. not hearing the “plack” of something hitting the floor, i thought, where did it go? and i shook the blanket, and then i saw it fly from my hand and heard the pak as it hit the floor. it scuttled under the nighttable. another sleepless night as i left the light on and stood guard over my 3 month old baby. i again held the bug spray can in my hand, but not to spray, with the baby so nearby, but to bash bash bash with the end of the can!!! i actually sat there, i kid you not, with my hand out, holding the can about an inch away from the bed, moving it back and forth as my eyes darted at every available space on the bed, ready to bash down on anything that dared move near my baby!
early the next morning, i heard the sound again. ACK!!! i quickly found it crawling among my vhs tapes. i sprayed it good as it tried to hide among the wires of my sega genesis. again, it had to turn almost white before it stopped moving. i prayed this was the same one that had the gall to climb into bed with me and my sleeping baby!
i went online to figure out what the heck i had to do to stop this centipede infestation. that’s when i found out they travel in pairs. ahh. okay, i caught both of them, i thought. sadly, i could find no other information on how to stop them, nor any remedies for the pain, if one is bitten, other than using an ice cube. i couldn’t stop thinking, if it bit my baby, how in the world would i console him? i didn’t sleep for weeks after, just leaving the light on, and listening oh so carefully for the slightest noise. i even went so far as putting plastic bags on the carpets, so i could hear anything that was crawling near my bed!!!
about 2 weeks later, i came home from school and went to feed my son again, and then left him asleep on my bed while i went to get a bottle of water. i came back to my room to see a huge centipede right at the foot of my bed. not moving. but there. UGH. i froze. how did i not see it earlier? was it there all along and i just missed stepping on it as i went on my bed to feed my child? i was so grossed out.
i got a big paper bag and with a magazine, swished it into the paper bag–when it started to curl up and twitch. ACK!!!! closed up that paper bag quickly! over the next few minutes, i could hear it twitching every once in a while, until it just went quiet. now, i was afraid. why was it just lying there? had it gotten into a fight with another bigger, stronger centipede, and it lost, and it was lying there in defeat? and if so, where was that bigger, stronger one?!?!??!?!?!?! they did travel in pairs, after all! ack. i was so scared. i stayed up many nights with the bug spray can!!! but it never showed up. it taunted me, though. oh, how it taunted me! one day, i walked in the house to find this huge, dead black beetle in the middle of my carpet. where in the world did that come from??!?! but there it was. right there. was it a “gift” the centipede left me to show his might and power? ugh.
a few days later, i went into my son’s room, and right in the middle of his bed, lay a big waspy creature! dead. but i had never, ever seen a wasp that big! ever! it was like double the size of the wasps i had seen! i mean, you could actually see the yellow and black striping on the body, which i always took for granted on a bee, having only seen cartoon pictures of bees that showed it as yellow and black. otherwise, i thought it was just a fuzzy, dirty yellow. but this one, you could actually see the stripes. and the wings. and … ewww. it was right in the middle of my son’s bed! just laying there. another gift from the king centipede? i mean, how else would it have gotten into the house? all the windows are sealed shut? i keep the door closed at all times? i surely would’ve heard the buzzing if it came in as i was walking in, because that was a big bugger! and what would make it konk out just right in the middle of my son’s bed?!??!?! i was so sure it was a warning left by the king, i knew it!
meanwhile, there were still the other 2 i hadn’t cleared away yet–still afraid to touch them. they were obviously dead though, having shrunken from their original size. as i finally scooped them using a magazine into a bag, i got the serious case of heebeejeebees. i mean, i never ever ever had that feeling before! just a real horrible feeling at the back of my knees, at my elbows, and my neck. eeeeewwewewewewwwwwwwww. i actually shruddered! my goodness. i still can’t walk past that corner of the room without shaking! just seeing it in my mind….ewwwwwwwww.
so after many many sleepless nights, trying desperately to hear any noise remotely related to a centipede (i’d hear a few and actually be relieved to find out it was just a roach…who’d ever thought i’d ever feel like that about cockroaches?!?!?), i still hadn’t seen this king and thought maybe he’d now leave me alone, seeing that i had killed 2 of his people and he left me 2 warning gifts, and so i was to leave him alone, and he would leave me alone.
i hadn’t seen another since then in my house.
i would’ve missed it too. i had just finished doing the bills (ack, i’m late this month!) and went to put them by the door so i’d remember to drop them in the mail in the morning. i walked back to my room, only to remember i forgot my water bottle outside. i walked back to the living room to get my water bottle, when i remembered something else i forgot (which i have now forgotten what it was, since being traumatized by the sight of one again). and i turned towards the door…and then thought, nah, i’ll do it later, and turned back to get my water bottle, when i saw a squiggle move across the floor. that squiggle was a very familiar pattern!!!!!! but it was skinny…though long. at first i thought maybe it was a worm? but the way it moved…and how quickly it moved…i’d only seen something act that way before, and it just has to be… ack! was it a baby?!?!??!?!?! it ran under the stack of magazines, and i started to move the magazines away, but then got scared that a whole family might be there, so instead, i put on my shoes and went stomping on the magazine stack, hoping to squash anything under there. i stayed there for 10 minutes, waiting to see anything crawl out…but nothing. it probably managed to get under the carpet. ick.
so great! a baby! i wonder if they hurt? and if there’s a baby…you know there’s parents nearby!!!!!!! ACK!!!! do they only have one baby at a time? or is there a whole nest of hundreds of them somewhere in my house?!?!? wah! my son is now 5 and sleeps in his own room, but i think i’m going to wait up in his room to make sure he doesn’t get bitten. i’d hate to think he’d get bitten while he’s asleep and have to hurt with the way everyone’s been describing it as the worse pain in the world! caralynn in a blog comment said it felt like a “moderate gunshot blast“! huh?!??!! oh my gosh. no way is anything going to hurt my boy! not even mr. king himself!
i guess it’s another sleepless night here. thank goodness school’s almost out!!!!