My parents were kicked back casually in their matching his-and-her recliners watching the exceedingly loud TV. There were no lights on– Dad is a little vampirish that way. I sauntered into the dark room and aimed for the couch in the corner. As I slid the ottoman away from the couch so I could sit, something small and buggy raced ominously from underneath.
So let's pause this tale for a jiff to debrief on my little phobia. I've never written about it before because I'm so frightened of a certain type of creepy crawly that it's hard for me to type out the word. I tried therapy back in college (don’t laugh, it was free!) to try to get over this ish because I do realize how ludicrous it is. Land sakes, I grew up in Florida – headquarters for this most insidious of insect perpetrators. In therapy, I spent a lot of time talking about and visualizing this creature. My therapist told me it might help to buy some rubber "creatures" at the store and I told her, "When hell freezes over." So, yeah, I guess you could say therapy wasn't so productive.
Now, years later, something buggy has just raced by my feet. I rocketed six feet into the air and found myself precariously mounted on the ottoman. I flailed my arms in a frantic attempt to point out the infidel that had disappeared into the darkness somewhere in the room, but the flailing and jumping had nothing on the sound-barrier-shattering bloody murder I was screaming.
And what were my doting parents doing to save me? Watching Extreme Home Makeover! If I weren't so freaked by the creature, I’d have suspected zombies took their real bodies and left boiled vegetables in their recliners. As my screams woke THE DEAD from many local cemeteries, I continued to spaz for at least 60 seconds. Mom and Dad, now finally aware of my hysteria, vacantly looked up and began to laugh.
"What is it?" said Mom, acting all innocent and like she didn’t know why I was horrified.
"What do you think, Mother?! It's a (bug-whose-name-shall-not-be-spoken!)"
"I've been pointing at it for a solid minute accompanied by petrified screams!"
"Well, why didn't you kill it?"
"Are you kidding me?!"
Finally, after I refused to step foot on the floor, Dad flicked on the lights and looked all over for the creature - while snickering. As it turns out, it may have been an errant penny that rolled across the floor instead of the aforementioned heinous beast.
That doesn’t negate the fact that my parents might be zombies.