In retrospect it seems fairly obvious that this was a bad idea. My brother decided that for April Fool’s Day he would play a small prank on his daughters, Sonia (7) and Georgia (4). He snuck small plastic cockroaches into their lunchboxes and sent them off to school, thinking of all the hilarity that would ensue when they opened them up and discovered the bugs that will survive the apocalypse nestled in between the wax-papered souffle and hand-crafted châteaubriand (my brother is a chef). Great idea!
Reports from their respective teachers weren’t long in coming: Georgia, the younger and more readily adventurous of the two, found it funny. Sonia, however, who is more careful, was, reasonably enough, scared shitless, and spent the good part of her lunch break in tears.
Once the girls were home my brother had some explaining to do, which he did, and by the time he was done, Sonia, no fool, had sharped him into promising her a new pet (context: the dog died recently and he’s refused to get another one), in this case an insect.
Off to the pet shop with the girls where he had a conversation that went like this:
“What sorts of insects do you sell at this fine establishment, good sir pet purveyor?”
“Insects? You mean bugs?”
“Yes, bugs, roaches, creepy-crawlies, what have you… No, seriously, what have you?”
“We don’t have none of those … except for this here giant Madagascar hissing cockroach!”
“Oh, dear. What, pray tell, do you feed a giant Madagascar hissing cockroach the size of my fist?”
“Dude, it’s a roach. It eats everything.”
These are the dilemmas one faces as a parent who has decided to prank his young children and now must decide if he actually wants to spend money on purchasing a cockroach. He must, he does, he leaves the store with the bug.
Once home little Georgia wants to play with the family’s newest addition, and my brother allows her to open the small box said Blattaria was sold to him in. The roach, being a roach, makes a run for it, evades Sonia, Georgia, my brother, his wife, and the cat, and takes refuge in the walls of the house, never to be seen again, assuming no one counts an eerie scuttling noise you can just barely make out at night.
Now, you might say that it’s only one giant Madagascar hissing cockroach, and with no one to breed with,where’s the harm? The harm? Do I even have to say it, in an appropriately stuttering and self-conscious actor-y kinda way like Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park? The harm is that life finds a way. And life now lives in your walls and is a giant Madagascar hissing cockroach.
Sorry, bro, we’re not coming to visit this summer.