Friday, November 1, 2013

Crikey, Cri-kee!

We have a little black cricket who desperately wants into our home.

He is hunkered down in a tight corner next to the door from our garage into our family room. Every time someone goes in or out I have to remind them (and me) – don't let the cricket in or the cat out. I'm not sure which would be worse, but I am sure I would be the one sent on the wild goose/cricket/cat chase to restore order.

You would think the mighty hunter-cat would quickly dispatch any insect intruders, but crickets tend to outsmart him. He'll be hot on the trail, all pre-pounce wiggly, when the cricket suddenly jumps and startles him... which startles me... which startles him. Crickets drive the cat nuts, but the cat drives me nuts. It's a vicious cycle.

Of course “small” is a relative term for an insect. I'd say he's about the size of a quarter – the same as the smallest of those hairy, black spiders that all try to check in to Chateau Salemink this time of year. That's why I nearly wet my pants every time he jumps out of his corner to ring the front desk bell.

I try to scoot him back from the door with my toe. This is a pretty tricky maneuver, requiring a light touch. I don't really want to squash him. Not because I'm some great humanitarian, but because that crunchy/squish sound they make when you step on them gives me the all-day heebie-jeebies. And because I'd have to clean up the mess (all-day, all-night heebie-jeebies).

Every time I move him or step around him I'm reminded of that scene in Men in Black II when K starts to step on a cockroach but doesn't and the bug says “Damn decent of you.” Once he's safely out of the way I shut the door and reply “Don't mention it” in my best Tommy Lee Jones voice.

But that's just the latest, and perhaps funniest, propaganda from the Bugs Are Our Friends crowd. When I was a kid, The Cricket in Times Square was one of my favorite books, and I read every issue of Cricket literary magazine cover to cover (my nerdliness started early). More recently, Disney's Mulan, taught me that some cultures consider crickets to be good luck.

Of course this is all anthropomorphism. For all I know I don't see the same little black cricket every day, but an entire squad of identical little black crickets. They may very well be planning to move in and stage a midnight concerto, after feasting on my blankets.

Or our house may have received rave reviews on the cricket equivalent of They may be gathering here to meet and mate, turning our house into some sort of cricket brothel and maternity ward.

Maybe if they get lucky, we'll get lucky!

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