Last night was just like any other night in our house. We’d spent much of the day getting odds and ends packed up in the kitchen. I got all of the garbage out of the basement once and for all. All that’s left is stuff we’re taking with us. After some video games and my sunday night fix of Food Network Star, we got both dogs to pee and poop. Jason was brushing his chompers in the bathroom and I was putting away clothes in the bedroom and then Jason uttered a phrase that no one ever wants to hear – “Oh my god you have got to check out this beetle.”
I don’t want beetles in my house ever. I don’t care if they’re tiny and cute like ladybugs or big and nasty they have no place in my home. Period. So I decided to face my mostly irrational fear and at least look at it. That was probably a mistake. I should have just poured gasoline under the bathroom door and lit a match (after letting Jason out of course). This was easily the biggest beetle I’ve ever seen not in a zoo or stuck on a pin in a box. In fact, probably the biggest insect I’ve ever seen. It was about two inches long with generously oversized mandible flesh-ripping devices. I felt my blood pressure elevate to dangerously high levels and for a brief moment I became someone else entirely. Not the calm cool and collected guy who can handle hearing “are we going to have to know this for the exam?” 10-15 times a day. Not the guy who valiantly grabs a magazine and kills moths when we find them in the house because Jason doesn’t want to kill them. No, I was filled with irrational fear and psychotic rage. I knew I couldn’t live in the same house as that horned beast, so I wanted it dead, and the battle between me and him would be brutal and require me to tap into a primordial killer’s spirit. I think Jason found this alternately terrifying and hysterical.
The first concern was making sure the cats didn’t try to attack it because it was totally awake and crawling around all over the bathroom floor. Cats are drawn to anything that moves. God knows what could have happened if our permanently runtified cat Tiny had tried to do battle with the wicked living gargoyle. The second issue was finding something to destroy it that would be totally impenetrable by its giant pinchers. No paper towels or toilet paper here. Unfortunately much of our stuff was packed away, so this took more than a couple seconds. In this brief interim, the beast scurried under the peeling linoleum behind the bathtub and we could hear it crawling around under it. WE COULD HEAR IT MOVING. It was that big. Once he came out again to wreak his unholy vengeance on humanity, I was ready with a shoe. He died quickly.
This whole time, Jason and I were both going back and forth on whether we should try to capture this creature on film. On one hand, it would have been awesome to have some live video of the giant waving its flesh ripping appendages, on the other hand, there was just too much going on and I knew it had to die first before I felt comfortable staging a photo. Jason got some pics of it in its dead form, and I’ll post them later once we get them uploaded, but for now, here’s a picture of the closest facsimile that I could find in a “beetles of eastern iowa” website.
I had to click through so many beetle pictures to find the one with mouth parts that even came close to the ones on our dead beetle. Every time a page loaded with a new beetle picture I got scared again, although a little less each time. It doesn’t make my blood boil to look at it now, but the thought of picking it up or touching it when it’s alive gives me a chill in my bones. Keep in mind the one on the floor was at least two inches long and it’s crazy jaw things were constantly opening and closing in a menacing fashion.
When it was all over, it was clear to me that this messenger of satan who found his way into my bathroom was clearly sent as an omen that it’s time for us to leave this house. And what excellent timing the dark lord has because we close tomorrow on our new house and will be moving as soon as the keys are in our hands. After we leave (and get a clean house approval from the landlords) I don’t care if a thousand giant beetles eat the house apart. We will be free of their tyranny because we had good enough credit for a home loan. Take that satan.
Of course all of that is tempered by the knowledge that our new home is adjacent to a cornfield which no doubt has its own array of dazzling insect life. As long as they stay out of my house, I’m cool with them.