It’s that time again kiddos! This week, the lovely Thain in Vain challenges us with a prompt that took me a while to play with. However, I’m very happy with the following, a tale of big trouble, coming in at a neat 500 words on the nose.
My slap caught Little Bob square on his face, and for a second, his gibbering ceased.
“Calm yourself,” I growled, wiping my hand across my shirt. Little Bob about as greasy as a guy could get without qualifying for an EPA cleanup. His eyes darted back towards the basement door, which moments before, he’d crashed through and slammed in a panic.
So unprofessional. His pappy, Big Bob, was gonna be pissed. That was him, on the back of our jumpsuits, smiling with two cartoonish thumbs thrust in the air, surrounded by the words “Big Bob’s Big Bug Busters.” I’d been with the five B’s for around five years, which was about four years (and 9/10’s) longer than I had intended. But the pay was alright, and Big B was a pretty laid back guy to work for. Plus, I like killing bugs. Creepy little bastards. I turned my attention back on the Little B, Big B’s near-worthless man-child of a son. I had the pleasure of training him in the old man’s footsteps. It was going to take work. A lot of it.
“Now, why’d you come running up those stairs like that and slamming the door?” I asked.
“I saw one, Chuck.”
“A roach. A roach!”
My eyes could not have rolled faster.
“Well no shit, Sherlock. We’re fucking exterminators. That’s what we’re here for.”
“This one was different,” he whimpered, “Huge.”
I sighed. Every fucking bug was huge to Little B. Last week, it was the Case of the Monster Roly-Poly. That thing had to have been, what, 3/4 of an inch? The week before, the Case of the Enormous Mosquito. Maybe a quarter of an inch. I was getting the impression that Little B just wasn’t cut out for the family business.
“Look, you stay up here, ok? Spray the cabinets or something. I’ll hit the basement.”
His skin turned an ashy white, but he just nodded. Whatever. I opened the door, and descended the steps.
The lights were out. Great. I reached up, flipped on my head lamp, and looked around for the telltale scurry of the common german cockroach.
Then I saw it.
It was a good thing I was wearing a headlamp, or I’d have dropped the light. As it was, I stood, paralyzed.
Little B was right. I’d seen some big ones in my time, but this one…..this one was huge. It had to be the size of a good sized dog, though all flat and low to the ground. I swear I heard its antennae creak as they waved about in the air. My breath, which had fled the moment I’d caught it in the light, finally came back, and I began to slowly back towards the stairs.
That’s when I heard the scream. Little B.
Big B’s first rule of cockroaches popped into my head.
For every roach you see, there’s a hundred more in the walls, waiting for dinner.
The walls began to creak.