Bugging out

Where did it go?! Emma is on her feet, clutching her bottle of Nastro and looking up at the air conditioning unit. Carly looks about. I think it went – AARRRRGGGGHHH! It seems that she has just discovered where the cockroach disappeared to: under the table.  And then out again over her sandalled foot.

Ohmygodthere’sanotherone! Everyone scrambles out of their chairs and into the road where they can easily see any large, scuttling bugs approaching. Giuseppe comes over. What’s going on? Carly replies with one word: scarafaggi. That’s it: the bar staff are all up on their feet, brandishing brooms and hustling us out of the way.

There’s one! Get it! Giuseppe is straight in for the kill, stamping on the bug before it can escape down the heating grille. A grin splits his face in two. Man kill bug! Rrraaaahh! I’m surprised by how easily he squashed it. I thought cockroaches were supposed to be able to survive the apocalypse, and yet one stamp from an Italian cafe owner’s loafer and the bug’s toast. Interesting. Emma pipes up. But – if you kill one, don’t more appear to get their revenge, or something …? Giuseppe doesn’t understand the English words, but he gets her meaning. The grin fades a little. It’s OK, girls, we’ve got it all under control. You just – er – sit over there for a little while …

Later that night. Another bar. Sitting outside, enjoying the last of our drinks. As so often happens, we’re the last ones standing. Or lounging on bar chairs, as the case may be. A man approaches and starts talking to us. He seems to want us to move. He tells us they want to clean the square. We tell him we’re going in five minutes. He looks anxious. But we’re about to clean this area. Do you understand? We nod and smile. I’m not sure why he’s getting so agitated. Usually we just clear away the tables as we leave. He repeats again with more urgency. This time, however, he adds the magic word: scarafaggi. As if of one accord, everyone’s brows clear and we leap to our feet. They’re not just cleaning: they’re SPRAYING POISON. We race inside the bar as the truck starts up and watch through the plate glass window as the square is coated in a fine, white mist. The apocalypse has arrived so far as the cockroaches are concerned. We, however, thanks to the man in the square, live to drink another day.

Image by Xtream_i on Flickr

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About Kate Bailward

Kate Bailward is a cat-loving, trifle-hating, maniac driver. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+
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10 Responses to Bugging out

  1. Mikeachim says:

    Not only is “scarafaggi” a *much* better name for cockroach than “cockroach” (which is a pretty good name to start with), it’s also the perfect name for a Bond villain. Am I right? I know I’m right.

  2. Katja says:

    You ARE right, Mikeachoo. In fact, SO right that I was convinced there *was* one called Scaravaggio, but the only evidence of that I can find is this, which is hilarious.

  3. LindyLouMac says:

    I agree ‘scarafaggi’ just sounds right.

  4. Katja says:

    Doesn’t it, though? Far better than cockroach and, as Mike says, the PERFECT name for a Bond villain.

  5. Elora Daphne says:

    Ewww gross :( I do not envy your adventure – I remember when I went to Moscow many years ago, I accidentally left a glass of water on the nightstand (there were notes in all languages saying leave no food or water out of the fridge – I didn’t understand why…) when I woke up in the morning, there was one drowned one in the cup and the other sitting on the edge of the glass waving “good morning” with his little antennas – it was so NOT a good morning!!

  6. Katja says:

    AAARGH! Oh my god, that would FREAK ME OUT! When I was finding pictures for this post I found an amazing macro of a cockroach, but it grossed me out so much that I just couldn’t put it up. I wouldn’t have had any readers left!

  7. Megan says:

    Cockroaches are my mortal enemy, though they may soon be replaced by these stupid tiny biting red ants in Thailand. Either way: NO BUGS, please!

    Lovely writing, btw. :)

  8. Katja says:

    Thank you. :-D Things that scuttle and things that bite are, by definition, evil. I’m adding the tiny ants to the death list in sympathy. We don’t have them here, although we have got monster mosquitoes. Usually I’m a bit of a hippy when it comes to using chemicals around the house, but when it comes to those I’m afraid I get the big guns out and just NUKE the buggers.

  9. saretta says:

    They’re called kokiburi in Japanese and I always sort of liked that name, too. I was in a bar down here in Bari once, leaning against the bar when a scarafaggio scuttled right up the side of the bar and across the counter in front of me. The barista didn’t blink an eye! Bleh!

  10. Katja says:

    That’s more than a little worrying! It’s one thing to be cool in the face of adversity and quite another to be so used to the adversity that it’s no longer anything out of the ordinary – it was at that point that you found yourself another bar, I’m guessing …

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