Saturday, April 22, 2006

When Stick-Insects Attack - pt 2

The bastards ! They lurk in the trees ... supposedly eating, ummm , LEAVES I guess. But I know the truth - they're just biding their time, waiting for the moment where they can get you all alone ... and then they feast on your warm blood in an orgy of exoskeletor flesh rending terror ! Even when they're DEAD they still cause me grief !

Those who know me may remember my previous stories of stick-insects. One with a ceratin bucket. Yes - you'll remember the inhuman cunning of these beasts.

So - Viva and I are eating our lunch, well deserved after hauling a heap of the previous house owners junk to the dump ( finding out on the way that the nearest land-fill is now closed. Was there some kind of announcement made about that anywhere ? A colour supplement maybe ? Because I missed that message ! ). I have put on a DVD of "Black Books", and we are giggling away at the merry antics of Bernard and Manny.

In a chance glance accross at Viva's feet - I notice a very ODD looking twig resting on her feet. "Hey - those sub-twiggy growths look a bit like legs ..." I think to myself, turning my attention back to the comedy.

A bad thought is rising up from my centtral cortex. I look back at her feet. Yup - they certainly DO look a LOT like legs.

In fact - they ARE legs.

It's a particularly LARGE stick-insect.

I must admit - my first thoughts were, pretty much in this order :

1) Man - I'm glad that thing isn't on me !
2) I have to get out of here !
3) - 9) - See '3'
10) ... Must save Viva !

I spent one or two moments weighing up how best to break this too her. Viva is better with insects than I am ( I tend to be in charge of mice and bird extraction around here ) - but in the case of wetas and stick-insects, it's a close run thing.

I figure that the "OH MY FREAKING LORD ! WHAT IS THAT HORRIBLE THING ON YOUR SHOE??!!?!" approach, while honest, might be on the ... blunt side of things. I really don't want to instill panic. I decide on a slightly subtler approach.

"Now - I don't want to panic you or anything hon," I say - using the gentle tones of TV vets I've seen on the Animal Channel talking to barely contained wild dogs - "But there appears to be a rather large stick insect on your shoe..." - and with this I get up and try to hide in the dining room.

She doesn't move. This thing is perched and ready to savage the first one who gets close enough to it's whirling fangs of terror. Viva, in equally gentle tones ( though somehow managing to get accross an equally clear promise of a swift casual shoe to the groin if reactions arn't quick enough in coming ) says "Don't ... just ... STAND ... there. Get ... it ... OFF ... me !"

Hmmm. I marvel at her self control. Had it been me - I would have been probably chewing my way through the floor at about mach 3 to get away from the little bastard ! "Okay - okay ! I hurridely answer "Let me just ... get ... SOMETHING to get it off with!" - I run to the laundry, and return with a broom. I try and poke it off - but the thing WON'T move ! It seems to have hooked Viva's laces with it's little barbed feet of horrible DOOM ! I think Viva might have been urgently whispering "GETITOFFMEGETITOFFMEGETITOFFME..." - but I could have been imagining that.

Finally I manage to shove it off - and Viva is OFF that couch in a nanosecond ! Her agility and adrenalin soaked speed were really something to see. I doubt, in all my girly terror, that I could have mustered anything near that velocity. She's now in the dining room - urgently asking me "WHERE is IT ? WHERE ISSSSSS IT !?? Where did it go !!??".

This is an extraordinarily good question. I thought I had flicked it onto the floor under the coffee table. I look underneath it - my broom out in front of me like a spear. It's not there.

I start to warily step back towards Viv - I remember the demonic celerity these things can move at if fresh blood is there for the having. We are soon standing almost back to back - ready to take on this thing the moment it rears it's hideous little insectoid head.

Now - it bears mentioning at this point that part of Viv's lunch had included a bunch of grapes. She had JUST finished them off before I gave her the heads-up on the insect-show situation. When she had gotten up it seems she had flung the twiggy stem of the grape behind her - right into the dining room. Interestingly enough - in ended up RIGHT between us on the floor.

So - when we can't see a sign of it - calling out to each other things that many a horror movie victim have said in their final moments of screen life ( 'Where is it ? It can't have just disappeared !" - "There's no sign of it !" - "Quiet ! It'll hear us !" - "We're not going to make it out of this alive!!" - "I've got a BAD feeling about this ... ") - Viva, naturally checks the ground at her feet.

She sees twiggy-sticky thing.

She then screams pretty much right at my head.

Then its BEDLAM in the dining room / lounge for a good minute. Fun times !

The REAL stick insect was actually still on the couch. Seems I might have ... imagined ... it dropping off onto the floor. Turns out the thing was dead all along ( not that that made me feel better about it being there ... I certainly don't discount the idea of vampire stick-insects... not NOW anyway ). Where and HOW it got on to Viva's shoe is more of a mystery.

I figure that Viva taking into our house WITHOUT our invitation to enter knocked the hellish life-force from it. I was all for it being beheaded and then cramming it's head with holy wafers ... but Viv wasn't willing to do that. In the end I was just happy for her to get it in a plastic bag and stuff it in the bin in the garage.


I'm sure that garlic we have in the pantry is getting old. Might have to bin it ... y'know, just to be safe.

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