Have any of you seen the movie “Starship Troopers?” It’s a science fiction movie about mankind’s battle against these giant alien bugs; ironically enough, the goal of The Bugs is to exterminate us (“us” being human beings, in case you thought I was something else – you wouldn’t be the first).
Before I go any further, I must make a statement: I hate bugs.
Since moving into my new home, I’ve twice come across the dead carcass of a strange insect on my kitchen floor. Legs curled up into itself, much like a dead spider, it was difficult to tell what this bug was or what it looked like when it was alive. I figured that each bug had fallen victim to one of my five Pest-Eating Tailed-Sentinels. Even my 50 lb. Border Collie mix, Bear, loves a good cat-and-mouse with a fly. Still, I shudder to think what I might do should I look to my left and see one of these mystery creatures standing on my shoulder trying to decide which part of my face to attack first.
Last week, I had satellite TV installed at my house. Shortly afterwards, I purchased an antenna to install on my roof so that I could also view my local channels in High-Definition, something not available through satellite TV companies (yes, I’m a technology dork). I installed the antenna no problem, and I neatly ran the cable along different parts of the house in order to get to the bottom without it being very noticeable. After drilling a hole into the cement block at the base of the house near the living room, it was time to run the cable into the crawlspace (a.k.a The Dungeon) and then up through the living room floor and into the back of my cable box. One thing remained between me and endless nights of viewing entertainment: physically crawling into The Dungeon to complete the job.
Already wearing some old jeans and a t-shirt, I added the headlamp (a little flashlight attached to a headband) to my attire and was ready to go. I grabbed my drill and my camera, turning the video “on” on the camera. With Girlfriend out of town, I wanted there to be evidence of what befell me should I be found laying underneath my house, dead, in a puddle of my own blood and piss (yes, I watch too many horror movies).
I crawled through the first hole, a rectangle no more than three feet wide, I’m guessing. Underneath the master bathroom, and I began my crawl to the furthest opposite corner of the house: the living room area. Parts of The Dungeon were simple to traverse, with enough room to comfortably crawl as a baby would. However, because of the uneven grade of the ground, various wiring, piping, and A/C duct work, there were times that I found myself belly-to-the-ground crawling military style. The ground was damp and cool. I passed the master bedroom, another bathroom, and made it to the front bedroom without incident. I took a left and headed towards the underbelly of the living room. After moving a few feet, I was stopped dead in my tracks by this:
This picture does not do it justice, nor does the flash fairly depict the gloomy atmosphere my eyes were seeing this bug in. It looked like a cross between a grasshopper and a spider (spidehopper?). Whatever it was, I soon discovered that this particular species of bug does not like when you try to drill it into the ground with your 12″ masonry drill bit because you’re too scared to swat at it. It hopped away like a grasshopper might, but it had stared at me menacingly like an alien spider-type bug would probably do right before attacking. Having survived this possible near-death experience, I continued on to the front corner of The Dungeon (a.k.a. The Corner Of Chaos).
I reached The Corner Of Chaos, the corner that I would have to spend the next thirty to forty minutes in, working. Apparently, this is their corner, not mine:
There must have been fifteen of them lining the styrofoam boards in this corner. This picture was taken above my head with the camera turned sideways; the wood boards you see on the left are my living room floor. If you can picture the setting, there is the dirt ground, two or three feet of cement block covered with styrofoam boards as the walls, and then the “ceiling” is the wood floor of the house. It’s pitch black, save for the light of the headlamp and the flash of the camera. I took several shots of The Bugs, but most of them did not come out (because I was in a hurry, and because I was probably shaking). I gagged a few times and almost puked because I have a weak stomach, and bugs really do gross me out. I threw a dirt ball against one of the boards and they scattered (and so did I). I drilled at a few more of them that were on the ground in the general area. Now I could begin working. It was only after working for fifteen minutes or so that I noticed/discovered they could walk sideways and upside down on stuff, as there were three of them just four inches above my head. I jumped out of the corner again and maniacally swatted all areas of my body. I threw some more dirt balls against the floor boards so that The Corner Of Chaos would be free of alien invaders, and so I could finish the job and get the hell out of there.
The good news is that my mission was eventually accomplished, and I can now watch Jerry Springer in Hi-Def (wait, that’s not a good thing). The bad news is that “Starship Troopers” was a science factual movie, and the bugs are living in my crawlspace, preparing for their attack.