Muerte del Roacho
Phuket Travel Blog› entry 90 of 115 › view all entries
I notice El Roacho as soon as I come through the door of my Phuket Town hostel room. It's sitting on the outside of some netting, which covers an air hole leading to the corridor outside, affording me a delightful view of its ribbed chestnut underside. It is a good three inches in length with thin, twitching antennae that are almost as long again.
I give it fair warning to keep itself to itself:
“Listen El Roacho, you stay up there, I'll stay down here and we'll get on juuuuust fine.”
I actually do say this out loud; 10 months of travel is clearly doing strange things to my mind. Then I promptly forget all about my little freeloading guest until about 3am the following morning.
Interlude: The Thought Processes of Mr D. Salad at 3AMish on Night in Question
Somethingsh mooooving...really?...yeeeesh... on pillow...next to head....imagining it???...Dreeeeeaming...No!...on shooooulder...something moving on shoulder!....Nooooooo...Little legs down arm...it's...nooooo...scuttling...yeeeeees it is...EL ROACHO ON MY BODY!!!! JEEEZUUUUS CHRIIIIIIST...EL SODDING ROACHO ON MY BODY.... IT'S CRAWLING ON MY ARM NO ON MY BLOODY HAND GET IT OFF GET IT OFF GET IT OOOOOOOOOOFFFF!!!
End of Interlude
I jerk fully awake with a reflex flick of my right hand and a strangled cry of "Whuuuuu!" sending El Roacho spinning off into the darkness. I bolt up out of bed, in full fight or flight mode, hammer the light switch and grab my glasses. I see that El Roacho had landed smack on top of my backpack which is propped against the bed in the centre of the room. The insect looks a little stunned, antennae waving slowly as it re-orientates itself.
“I warned you. Can't say I didn't warn you,” I tell it and search for a weapon. My eyes come to rest on the suitably chunky Lonely Planet: South East Asia on a Shoestring - perfect. I begin to stalk the beast, padding around the bed, readying the book. It takes two swipes to send El Roacho flying onto the white tiled floor. It lands on its feet and scuttles towards the shadows beneath the bed. I pounce, whumping the LP down. Missed - shit! It reaches cover.
But El Roacho is too jumpy to bide its time in the secure zone beneath the bed. Instead it bolts straight for the door; but I'm waiting for this move. As it bursts out from under the bed, passing beneath a piece of transparent plastic wrapping I'd discarded earlier, I slam down the guide book a second time.
This time I'm right on target. The LP crushes El Roacho beneath the plastic, without leaving so much as a mark on my weapon of choice. I apply a swift coup de grace, ensuring that the beast is dead, before performing a little soft shoe shuffle in pants and T-shirt on the tiled floor: Ha! A clean kill - clean as the Mother Superior's smalls on washing day. Don't mess with the Salad - El Bitcho!
Once the euphoria has subsided, I decide to leave the body where it lies (you ain't going nowhere baby!) and retire to bed once more with a sense of a wrong righted. Splendid - now I know the visceral thrill experienced by all successful big game hunters.
In the morning, I wake to discover a column of ants has appeared from under the door to the corridor outside. They are efficiently dismantling El Roacho's smashed corpse and carrying it off, piece by piece, to their nest. I watch for a while, fascinated and pleased that I've managed to add to the local insect food chain - I like ants. I leave them to it and go and get my own breakfast (no roaches involved) before jumping a bus North for a visa run to Myanmar.
By the way, I hear Phuket is lovely this time of year...