The Centipede Centipede

Yes, even scarier than ATM.

If you’ve ever seen a house centipede, you know why the only solution is to kill it with fire.  From space.

As an esteemed entomologist, I can confidently say that house centipedes have a firm place in the Top 10 Screw Everything About That species.  Cane spiders, redbacks, bark scorpions, leeches and those little things that swim up unsuspecting urethras occupy some of the other prestigious spots on this list.

Now, theoretically, house centipedes should be our friends.  They are terrified of humans and avoid human contact at all costs.  They slaughter insects and destroy the evidence.  Some species of centipede even help you with your taxes if you ask nicely.

That’s theoretically-speaking, though.  In reality, house centipedes are murderous mutated creepy-crawlies with hundreds of poisonous, neurotoxin-injecting legs that will run your sorry ass down should you ever attempt to run.

If I was in a room with a bear, a lion and a house centipede and a single open door, I would be fighting with the bear and lion to be the first out of that room.

Of course, I wasn’t so lucky to get the bear and the lion.  One night, it was just me and a centipede, alone in my dorm room.

This happened during my freshman year of college.  It was odd that I was alone in the room, in retrospect, because my roommate that year was in the room a lot.  I forget what the occasion for me being alone was, but it was just a typical weekday night and I was playing Gears of War as it had just been released.  When out of the corner of my eye…

A wild centipede appears!

The abomination darted in front of me, crossing the width of the room in under three seconds.  Three seconds of pure terror.  You don’t understand how fast those things move until you have the unfortunate opportunity to see one in action.

Now, why was a centipede in my dorm room?  Probably because I had a first floor room with a faulty window seal and a hole in the screen.  We got spiders all the time.  Centipedes prey on spiders.  It only makes sense.

Back to the centipede, though, I saw it dart in front of me as I was seated in front of the TV, 360 controller in hand, and disappear under my closet door.

Great.  A centipede in my closet.

I must have watched that closet door for 15 minutes straight before deciding it was time to man up and go to war.

Unfortunately, I never brought my Lancer to college with me.

I had been wearing basketball shorts and flip-flops, so I quickly exchanged them for track pants and tennis shoes.  Couldn’t take any risk.  Couldn’t leave any surface skin exposed to the centipede.  I was 18.  Too young to die.  Didn’t know the ending to L O S T yet!

(If I had, I might have just let the centipede kill me.)

Armed with the sandals I had been wearing, which I figured represented the finest in anti-centipede technology, I set out to whomp that sucker.  Like a boss, I tore through that closet, shucking shirts out of my way as I dug my way toward the devil himself.  I couldn’t take the risk of that thing starting a discotheque in my wardrobe.  I’d never sleep.  You know the crowd those bring.

Unfortunately, after 10 minutes of searching, I found nothing.  The reality set in: the centipede was gone.  Nesting in my clothes.  I was doomed.  I wouldn’t encounter that jerk again until I stepped through my jeans and felt something funny in my boxers.

Defeated, I closed the door and resumed my seated position.  I watched the closet door for another 10 minutes before deciding it was silly to continue waiting for the centipede to re-emerge, and then decided to unpause the game and continue playing.  I absorbed myself in the game again.  Until a half hour later…

CENTIPEDE CHARGE!

Right toward me.  From under the closet door.  I had seconds to react, maybe not even plural.  I would like to say I acted like a man and met that bastard in open field combat, defended my territory.  I’d like to say I did something sensible.

But really, I jumped on top of my chair and screamed like a little girl.

Now, to understand this next part, you have to understand the chairs we had in our dorms.  They were some weird hybrid of a rocking chair and a desk chair, a combination inconvenient for both purposes.

They looked a lot like this, except the rails were higher off the ground.

What my estrogen-laced instincts told me to do was jump on the chair to avoid the charging centipede.

What physics proved, though, was that jumping on a rocking chair with unequal weight distribution makes the chair rock.  Back.  A lot.  Enough to, say, send me tumbling over backward.

So instead of safely seeking sanctuary on the desk rocking-chair, I dropped to the floor, smacking my head.  The same floor as the centipede.  I was a goner.  I knew it.  Like a kid who had fallen into the lion pit at the zoo.  It was only a matter of time until I was centipede chow.

But then I saw it.  The centipede.  Crushed by the rail, by my mighty rocking.  Just like I planned, you know.  Just like I had planned…

So, thankfully, all I had was a dull headache.  The beast was slain, if completely by accident and curious furniture choice.  I threw the carcass out of the window and went back to playing 360 like nothing had happened.  I lived happily ever.

Until the leeches.

Man, there are some inexplicably horrible creatures out there.

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