First Aid



At first I don’t know what I’m hearing, an echo from three floors up.

It’s the tone that concerns me, spurs me to my feet

It usually signals one of two things, one of the boys is in distress,

or there’s a critter.

J is not a fan of the gokiburi

She’s never liked them, from back in the day when the roaches in the South Pacific had wings. They would alight on the tile, and then strike.

And by ‘strike’, we mean they would fly haphazardly, sometimes in the direction of the unwanted visitor.

Tonight, we are the ones with the unwanted visitor.

I’m not necessarily creeped out by critters, kind of a live and let live situation

But when you step back and think about it, really think about it, there’s most likely a family, swarm, cadre, murder, whatever the counter is for cockroaches, living out of sight, behind the walls, in the ceilings and beyond.

Tonight, critter is seen and not heard, on the floor of our bathroom.

I grab one of Rhino’s size 12 flip-flops and launch myself at the stairs.

I’ve always been a bit of a fixer, cool under pressure (or so I’d like to believe)

It was just sitting here, hanging out, unfazed! But then it sprinted underneath the tub

There’s just enough room underneath for skinny minnies to squeeze

And so it has.

I pull out the bidet hose, and, sturdy, flop in hand, attempt to flush our friend out with a steady spray under the tub.

This water pressure ain’t it, boss

I steel myself for a mad dash straight between my feet, flip flop fully-armed

But to no avail. I turn on a flashlight, shine it underneath, looking for the telltale antennae, half expecting it to leap at my face and infect me, a clicker without the beats


Where are you?

I whisper into the darkness, expecting a Batman jump scare


Gokiburi are reviled for a reason.

They are, quite literally, creepy.

And on this night, this creeper has creeped into the darkness, secluded and safe (if a bit wet), most certainly mocking us with a cockroach version of a raspberry in our direction.

I live to fight another day, turn off the light, and let the critter creep

Until the next night, sitting on the couch, when I hear a call from upstairs


Published by Radutti

Teaching in Ha Noi, screwing things up daily but surviving to write about it. ...everything's perfectly all right now. We're fine. We're all fine here now, thank you. How are you?

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