Essay

THE CRICKETS

Whenever I’m going down into my basement, I hover on the bottom step. Perched like a bird, I scan the rough, cementy-gray floor and patches of maroon rugs.

I’ve got crickets in my basement. And I know that sounds like “Bats in the attic,” which is usually a thinly veiled metaphor (metaphor? Analogy?) for “being crazy” but I swear, “crickets in my basement” isn’t a way of saying that I’ve got gonorrhea. Or herpes. Long story short, I don’t have any venereal diseases. Wow, that got vene-real, vene-really quickly.

But I do have crickets in my basement. Long-legged, muddled-brown, freakishly arrogant crickets that hop around in our basement.

I can’t remember when they first appeared, just that all of a sudden, when I would put my feet onto the basement floor at the bottom of the stairs, something would hop away from the vicinity of my toes.

The worst thing about the crickets is the sound they make when they land. I don’t know how it’s possible, but these crickets make a dull, audible thwack when they hit the ground. Maybe they’re from planet Krypton and their exoskeletons are made from titanium (I accidentally thought it was spelt “tytanium,” and my Microsoft Word was like, “Um, nah brah.”).

But their solidness makes them particularly horrific, because they have this presence, menacing and malignant, that invaded our basement.

And their smallness was particularly perverted, because to them, I’m like Godzilla and they’re still like fucking crickets. But these things have no fear. Even when you impose over them, they squat there like insect-y toads.

So I declared war on the crickets.

I made it my mission to annihilate them.

One day, I came downstairs with my hamper to do laundry. One was standing on the rug in front of the washer. Emptying all the clothes out of my hamper, I squared my legs and began to swing the hamper like a pendulum. Judging distance, testing for any wind hindrance, I was the Olympic gold-medalist of heaving my hamper.

Three, two, one.

The hamper went airborne and, owing to the bottom-heaviness, landed on the cricket.

YES.

But somehow, no matter how many crickets I killed, they kept coming back. And I don’t know what it is, but I refused to be beaten by these crickets. As the saga continued, I became more crazy about fucking destroying those crickets.

Okay, is this a judgment free zone? No? Heavily-judged? Awesome.

I’m about to really be open.

I would take a pair of scissors and creep up behind the crickets and try to cut off their legs. They would almost always hop away after that fateful snip but they were weaker and more vulnerable. For the next time we would meet.

Apparently animal cruelty is one of the tenements of all sociopaths, so I’m not going to delve too deeply and analyze this past behavior.

Except to say that they had it coming, and you can’t prove anything, police.

The crickets learned to evolve in the presence of an apex predator—I am the apex predator. Probably for the first and last time, unless I decide to go on a dating website—and are smarter now.

They hop under the table when the lights turn on. They go in between the washer and dryer. They also know that the floor is super fucking dirty and that I will refuse to touch it with anything other than slippers and a hazmat suit. I don’t know how, but forcefully simulating a high-intensity environment has forced the crickets to adapt to an almost human level of dickish-ness.

The crickets still live in my basement, and they force me to hover on the bottom step before I enter the basement.

God help us all the day those demons learn to climb stairs.

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