I reformatted my hard drive today, and therefore I have to copy all my backups back to my newly cleansed computer. It's taking quite a while, so I just decided to get it done tonight and stay up late.
That's when I saw him. "He" was some sort of insect. He was about as long as the diameter of a quarter and had six legs, extremely long feelers, and some sort of strange, rotating tail. He was on the wall behind my computer.
Now, that's not the weirdest bug I've seen. When I was in India last summer with my family, I glimpsed a large colorful insect on a flight of stairs. It was doing the strangest thing, too. It would fling itself against one wall of the stairwell with all its might, then flop to the ground, where after a couple seconds of recovery, it would once again fly madly at the other wall. This went on for quite some time. Eventually we just hopped over the step.
But back to this one. I tolerated he while talking on the phone to a friend; he just crawled around and occasionally flew a few feet along the wall. It seemed like he was exercising. Eventually he expanded his workout to include another wall, and an periodic foray across the room.
I couldn't stand it anymore. I considered sleeping out in the hall and even dragged my bedsheets and pillows outside, but then I decided, this is MY room so HE'D better get out.
I crept back inside my room, fearing that he might not be in the same place as when I'd left. He wasn't, but after a few seconds of frantic searching during which chills ran up my spine with increasing frequency, I located the bug doing a cool-down routine on the windowshade.
Keeping my eye on him, I sat down on my couch. I needed a plan, but the only one I could think of was to scare him off the window and swat him out of the air. It'd make a big mess to splat him all over the window. That plan would have to do.
I snuck across the room and grabbed the largest book on the bookshelf. Then I edged over to the window. A sudden move should do it. I swung the book near him, and he fled the window, only to run straight into my second swing.
For a second I thought he had splattered himself across the book, then I saw him in the corner. He was flipping over himself repeatedly. I knew I must have injured him, but I wasn't sure, so I sat down to watch him. After a while he became motionless. Dead. Finally. I went back outside to get my sheets and pillows.
When I got back in he had crawled halfway up the wall.
"No," I whispered. "You're dead." In disbelief I watched as he crawled in a circle a few times, as if to show off.
Maybe I had just hit his wing or something. At least he couldn't fly anymore. But what to do now?
My eyes lighted on the laminated periodic table of the elements lying in another corner of my room. I knew it was good for something.
I used it to flick the bug off the wall. He caught himself in midair and took off flying around the room. Apparently I hadn't damaged him at all.
He finally flew near the door, which I had thankfully left open. I waited until he had strayed out the door, then kicked it shut.
Of course, there's always that crack underneath the door...