An Unwanted House Guest
Updated: Jun 18, 2022
Last night, 11pm. I was cozy in bed when all the sudden I felt something crawling on me. “BUG!” my instinct screamed, and I slapped myself on the top of my head while also making a sweeping movement: a reflexive motion to simultaneously kill and remove the intruder.
I slid out of bed to avoid waking Wendy, then grabbed my flashlight and examined the crime scene. I checked the ceiling, my pillow, the comforter. Wait… what’s this? I found a thin, almost translucent thing twitching on the comforter. It looked a bit like a worm, tan in color with a dark brown stripe. I pulled a tissue from my pocket, tore off a piece, and removed the “worm” from the comforter.
Then I saw another one closer to Wendy. This is when I realized two disturbing things: I was finding legs and I had swiped their former owner toward Wendy’s face.
I began wondering what has legs a centimeter long. I didn’t like the images coming to mind. I continued my frantic but quiet-as-possible search. If Wendy woke up now she’d never go back to sleep. I had to find the source of the legs.
I pulled back the comforter, picked up my pillow, looked inside my pillow case. I found another leg and removed it, all the while imagining with silent horror the size of the spider it must have come from.
Then I found the culprit, clinging to the side of my pillow: a semi-translucent house centipede about two centimeters long. I was relieved, and disturbed. They can be very quick. I needed to catch it on the first try, and it still had 27 legs to run with. If I missed, it might scramble onto Wendy’s face, under her pillow, or into the sheets, causing us both to stay awake all night.
Fortunately I was able to scoop it up in the first try. I carried it, along with three balled up, leg-laden toilet paper sachets, to the toilet and flushed all traces of the intruder away. Then I got back into bed, wondering where it had come from and whether it was alone.
There were no further incidents. Our room is freshly painted and I had just cleaned the day before, so I think the centipede must have hitched a ride on laundry hanging from the line outside. Turns out the stone patio I recently made, specifically for doing laundry, is the ideal habitat for these creatures.
Wendy sets the basket on the stones then removes each item from the line, folds it, and places it in the basket. Then she delivers each person’s laundry to their bed (or side of their bed) so we can all organize our clothes the way we want. Perhaps I should’ve put mine away faster. Although I think yesterday’s batch comprised socks and underwear so perhaps a centipede on my head was the best case scenario.