Many Legged Horror

So I was in bed last night reading on my iPad, with the lights off, and Kevin was asleep next to me with Sergei the cat curled up in the crook of his arm, as is Sergei’s wont.

Something tickled my elbow. I assumed, because of my position, that it was Sergei’s tail, and ignored it.

It tickled me again. I absently brushed at Sergei to get his tail out of the way, and realized that Sergei was curled up in Full Meatloaf and his tail was nowhere near me.

My brain executed a remarkable series of calculations in a very short period of time, involving what it must be, to be so…large…and then that I should under no circumstances swat at it because that would cause it to bite, and then that leaping out of bed would result in the monster being somewhere in the bed with sleeping Kevin and Sergei and Sergei might try to attack it and get bitten.

I have been bitten by this sort of beast before. It is agonizing and it lasts for days, like a hot wire being dragged through your skin.

The centipede–for such it was–wandered off my arm and into the blankets.

“KEVIN!” I hissed. “KEVIN WAKE UP AND GRAB SERGEI!”
“Aunnggh?” he said from the depths of sleep.
“Kevin! Wake up, now!”
“What? What?”
“There’s a centipede in the bed! A big one! You have to roll out of bed and grab the cat!”

Only a few phrases will bring one from a dead sleep to instant consciousness, but there’s a centipede in the bed is among them.

Like a precision drill team, we rolled out of the bed. The centipede, a sizable Florida Blue in the two-inches-and-some-change range, flailed around the blankets in multi-legged wrath. (Centipedes don’t get frightened, they just get angry.)

Kevin dropped a rudely awakened Sergei onto the floor, grabbed for his glasses, and went into the bathroom while I kept watch on the centipede. He returned with toilet paper. It is nearly impossible to stop a centipede with toilet paper–it’s hard enough just to beat one to death with a shoe or a shampoo bottle–but you can at least grab it and keep it occupied for five seconds to get it to the toilet and send it to a watery grave.

And then it was somewhere in the septic tank, and we both slowly climbed back into bed. I considered shaving my head so that every touch of hair on my shoulder did not send me into shrieking horror. I considered shaving the cats. I considered burning the house and moving to a new house that had never had centipedes, or at least the bed, which was now a centipede bed and not a human bed.

And that is why I did not sleep well last night.

  • reply H. Rasmussen ,

    I am reminded of an…incident, from my brief sojourn in the South.

    I was sitting on my bed (a futon mattress on the floor), enjoying the rare occasion of Cat deciding to be a lap cat. Feet/sq. ft.* = 6.

    “Palmetto bug” scurries past. Feet/sq. ft. = 12(?). Discouraging, but at this point I’d lived in the area enough that it was more a matter of catching it before Other Cat made it a toy, than the terror which was to follow…

    Then a centipede moseys out from under my bed. Feet/sq. ft. = OH GOD, KILL IT WITH FIRE!

    If I could have levitated that night, I think I would have.

    *To be fair, it was probably more an issue of “feet/sq. m” but that doesn’t really reflect the sheer horror of the situation.

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