Night of the living cockroaches

2008-03-29 00:00

It was a hot, humid Durban night, a few minutes before midnight. I was seated at my computer barefoot, dressed in rugger shorts and a badly faded Mad Dog T-shirt trying to cope with the competing tensions of the heat, a deadline approaching at the speed of an asteroid and an ancient window-rattling air-con that trickled cool air intermittently into the sauna I call home. Something tickled the sole of my foot. I gave it a little shake, just sufficient to calm the itch without consuming too much physical energy. In a climate where one-finger typing bathes the writer in his own personal Turkish bath of sweet-smelling sweat, all actions are carried out with the greatest economy of movement. So when the little tickle repeated itself, I felt just a bit irritated since I knew that the bending down and looking at whatever it was that was doing the little tickle thing, would lead to more sweat, more heat rash and less writing production. And just in case you’ve forgotten, the asteroid of the deadline was picking up speed, threatening to engulf the entire world as we know it in a tsunami of Spielbergian proportions.

Shaking with that truly unattractive emotion of rage tainted with fear, I sat down on the floor and weighed up my options. The roach, while it might have 300 million years of roach experience to call upon, was still just a roach. I, on the other hand, am a man, the pinnacle of creation, just a little lower than the angels. With this self-assuring assessment out of the way, my confidence returned and I set about planning the total destruction of the roach.

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