Bedbugs

This is a short story, but really kind of freaky. If it doesn’t make your skin crawl, there’s probably something really wrong with you. 😉  Which, now that I think of it, wouldn’t be that surprising if you’re a friend of mine.

I was reminded of this over the weekend after finding a couple of unwanted bugs in my place.

One winter in Florida, I and my significant other – we’ll call him LaTightwad, decided to rent some local yokel’s backyard camper for the night while we were in the area scuba diving in some springs.  Let me rephrase, he decided to rent said backyard camper as LaTightwad was well known for poo-pooing hotels and the like and welcoming anything that was ‘free’.  And while I have never been a stranger to camping, I did have issues with staying in rundown, abandoned for months, dirty, backyard campers belonging to people I didn’t know.  I don’t even know how he came across this place to begin with, but anywho…there we were.

My trepidation with staying in said camper was validated repeatedly as I walked in and looked around the place.  Swallowing the bile back down, I decided we could go ahead and tough it out. How bad could it be, right?  I mean, I was a fierce river guide! I’d slept on top of rafts floating in the river, on blankets in the sand, in my car, in the back of my truck. Surely I could spend one lousy night in this camper.

After settling in and squishing ourselves into the tiny bed, we turn off the lights to get some rest.  It was then that I started hearing strange noises.  Noises that I couldn’t quite determine the origin of, but in retrospect should have known what they were.   I tried to shut the sounds out and force myself to sleep, much like I’m sure any one of us has done at some point in our lives: sleeping alone in a strange house, camping in an unfamiliar area, etc.  You tell yourself you’re imagining it, tell yourself it’s nothing, tell yourself to just go to sleep and everything will be fine.

Everything was not fine.

The biting began slowly at first, one here and there. I shifted under the blanket, slapped at the bit areas.  Being bit by bugs in Florida was nothing unusual, I didn’t think too much of it other than being generally annoyed. I was no stranger to mosquitoes, but these bites didn’t feel like mosquitoes.  And more than that, I could feel whatever was biting me, crawling on me as well.  As that realization hit me, I threw back the blanket and turned on a light. What I saw was something that has forever been burned into my memory.

Roaches. Not just one or two.  But dozens of roaches. Crawling all over me, biting me, scurrying out of the light and under the blanket that covered the rest of my body.

I don’t even remember if I screamed or not. I’m not really much of a screamer, but I’m sure something close to one must have escaped my mouth as I jumped out of the bed and did the ‘icky icky poo poo’ dance.  This dance, if you’re not aware, consists of quickly ‘jogging’ in place (i.e., moving your feet up and down fast), while shaking your hands erratically and rapidly out in front of you as if to throw off your body any cooties that might be lingering. Oh, and squealing. You have to squeal or it’s not the real icky icky poo poo dance.

I then proceeded to tell the groggy LaTightwad what was going on. I explained (read: yelled) that there were roaches all over the place, they were biting me, and that we could not stay in this camper. To my shock, he determined that I must be exaggerating, waved me off, rolled over and went back to sleep.

I slept in the car.  After changing clothes.