Choose Your Weapon. Carefully. / by Courtney Mehlhaff

Last night I entered my bedroom to find an enormous, hairy centipede hanging on the wall next to my bed.  

It's amazing how you notice these things, even though it's 1 a.m. and you're absolutely fuzzy with the desire to fall between your cool sheets and bid adieu to the world for at least six hours .... but you do. You walk in and stop so short in your tracks that, in an appropriately sound-mixed world, there would be a record scratch to accompany it.

So I did what any normal person would.  I thought, "Guess I'm not sleeping in here tonight!"

Then I re-grouped, because I'm 31 and have lived alone long enough to know that nobody's coming to my rescue for anything, least of all bugs. And I'm not about to give up my pillow-top queen to anything that's not making me breakfast in the morning.

The plan of attack was this: spray it, but have a shoe in hand just in case. What I always forget is to also have a wad of toilet paper handy (or a whole roll, depending on the size and general ickyness of the bug). Because you shouldn't take your eyes off the thing, even for an instant, even if it appears to be dying or dead. They're like killers in slasher movies, coming to life as soon as your back is turned and crawling off to nurse their wounds before the next sneak attack.

Let me say this, though. I hate picking up dead centipedes. Why? Because they've usually kicked off a leg or two or fifty, and I just can't handle it. Tonight I killed a smaller one, and on the way to flush it, I just kept shouting, "WHY!? Oh, really, WHY?!"

As soon as I sprayed the one in my bedroom, it promptly jumped off the wall, landed with a soft thunk on my nightstand, and disappeared. It was like a gross David Blaine. Strike that -- it was like David Blaine.

I dropped a couple effen-heimers and began spraying the nightstand liberally, trying to flush it out or finish it off, whatever meant I could sleep soundly. That's when I realized that the whole endeavor would probably be going better if I'd actually grabbed the insecticide and not the foaming bathroom cleanser.

Back to the drawing board, jackass. I did kill a cockroach once with shoe spray in Japan, but in my defense, I had no way of reading what was on the can in that situation. No such excuses here. It's these kind of tactical errors that can make or break a wartime campaign, and I wasn't sure I'd get a second shot.

After a quick switcheroo I returned, this time brandishing something that would destroy the bug rather than leave it squeaky clean. The damn thing was clinging to the wall again, which I was surprisingly happy about. If there's one thing I don't need, it's a lurker.

Long story short, I finished the dirty deed, put on my pajamas, and slept like a baby. I actually dropped off amazingly fast. But I'm thinking the fumes might have had something to do with that.