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The Cricket
9.29.2003 by Dan, every Monday.

I lie awake in bed, listening to the sounds of the night. The soft whirring of the ceiling fan. The hum of the air conditioning. The earsplitting shriek of the cricket in the wall directly behind my head.

“Tune it out.” I tell myself. “Tune it out and you'll drift to sweet, blessed sleep.”


“AAAAARGH!” I shriek, ripping the leg from my night table and bludgeoning the wall with it. “DIE DIE DIE BUG, DIEEE!!” I stand above the gaping hole in my wall, table leg in hand and chest heaving from the sudden exertion, looking every bit the magnificent conqueror except that I am clad only in my underwear.

I briefly look into the hole, expecting to see a five hundred watt amplifier wedged in there somewhere, because no mere insect could make that kind of cacophony unaided. However, I see nothing.

Exhausted, I flop back down on my bed, knowing I still have a good five hours before my alarm goes off. I close my eyes and count sheep. “One, two, three, four, chirp, six, seven, chirp chirp, nine, CHIRP. . .

The cricket and I have been engaged in this battle of wills for several long, long nights now. I seek sleep, whereas it seeks to establish Pimp Daddy Cricket's All-Night Love Shack. This is why my alarm clock is face down on the floor beneath my now three-legged night table.

I first encountered the little bastard weeks ago. I caught him in my bathroom, huddled up under my Mango Exfoliating Rinse (doctor prescribed- long story), doing God only knows WHAT depraved little cricket things. He scuttled down the side of the vanity as I swatted at him with my loofah, and scuttled into the safety of the floor air duct. Since then, it's been an escalating battle of wills. He'd sarcastically chirp “When You Wish Upon A Star” when he knew I was working up the nerve to ask out Cute CD Store Girl, I'd retaliate buy playing a kazoo near his hidey-hole when he was trying to score in a very effeminate way, implying that he was one of THOSE crickets, thus thwarting his efforts to mate. I realize that this all sounds insane to you, but let's see how reasonable YOU are when the three hours of sleep that you've been reduced to getting is incessantly disturbed by what sounds like Trent Reznor's take on a leaky balloon constantly looping through your subconscious. You'll crack like a bent-over plumber, my friend.

Somehow, this cricket KNOWS when I need the sleep the most. I have a job interview in the morning, and he's not going to rest until I've been sleep-deprived to the point where I answer every question with “chirp.” It'll be like I've been infected with some horrible insect noise meme.

I realize that I have been left with but one option. It breaks my heart that it's come to this, but I've been backed into a corner. My hands tremble as I ease open the drawer and close on the smooth, cool metal of the box concealed in the back. The cricket's chirps and rattling windows cover the soft clicks of the combination lock as I line up the numbers, as well as the soft squeak of the lid as I open it to look upon my last line of defense sitting dark and menacing in the recess of the box. I have to force myself to reach in, and line up my target in my sights. I push the button and listen to the whirring sounds as it loads. Then it starts.

“STEEL BARS, WRAPPED ALL AROUND ME . . . “ Michael Bolton's voice rips through the room. I can hear the cricket scream.

I cackle with vindictive glee. At least I'm no longer suffering alone.

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