Eunice Haversham loved to hate. She loved to hate people; she loved to hate politicians. She loved to hate big business, internet media, rock and roll music and screaming little children. She hated animals, hospitals, healthy food and infomercials. Eunice hated so many things that it is easier to explain what she actually liked. She liked daytime talk shows, greasy takeout food, (the more grease the better), powdered donuts, the kind that got all over everything when you ate them, and historical romances by Harlequin. She liked to spit and swear at the boy that delivered her groceries and listen to Neil Diamond records. Oh yeah, the Jazz Singer did it for her every time, she had all his albums and wouldn’t even consider buying those new-age cassette tapes or Compact Discs, which she also hated, Neil only sounded right on vinyl.
Back to the things that Eunice love to hate, the one thing she loved to hate most of all was Cockroaches. Those hard backed, multi-legged insects that were attracted to the food and dirt people left around their homes and gardens. Pesky little beasts that have been around for thousands of years and thrived on humanity’s lack of conscience to clean up after themselves. Oh yes, Eunice loved to hate cockroaches, or rather she loved killing the little beasts, which was why she kept dozens of cans of RAID on hand for just such an occasion. She never bothered with an exterminator, they were expensive and troublesome, and she preferred her own way of terminating the creepy little bastards.
There were black and red cans or RAID all over the house. Two in the kitchen, one by the sink and one in the pantry, three in the living room by her chair, one on the window sill by the front door. Three cans remained in her bedroom, one on either of her little night table and one more in the closet. She only had one can of RAID in the bathroom; it was small and didn’t require much. Whenever she’d see one of the annoying home invaders she’d grab one of the cans, scream ‘RAID, just like in the commercials, and release a steady stream of liquid onto the poor unsuspecting roach. Then she’d drop to her knees or lean in close as it squirmed and writhed and eventually ended up on its back with its useless, miserable legs pointed towards the ceiling.
Eunice had asked someone a long time ago, when she’d first heard about RAID, how exactly did it kill the bugs? She learned that cockroaches, and most other insects, don’t have gastric tract. When this poison sprays them, it builds up the gas in their little bodies and without a way to expel the gas, their insides pop and they die. That is what Eunice listens for, that little pop that tells her they have exploded inside, almost like a cork from a wine bottle, only such softer. Eunice looks forward to that subtle popping sound whenever she sprays one of the bastard roaches.
Eunice lived in a lower west side area of the city, a place that used to be quiet and peaceful, where people knew their neighbors and kids played in the streets together without concern. These days, her neighborhood has turned into a cesspool of welfare recipients and gang violence. Sirens squeal at any time of the day or night, rotten little youngsters let loose by irresponsible parents at all hours, playing their foul music and breaking windows on the uninhabited apartments, and drug dealers seemed to linger in every doorway.
Eunice used to like her neighborhood, but then the Blacks and the Mexicans moved in, the Muslims and the Chinese, all of them moving into her nice clean neighborhood, bringing their filth and violence with them and living off her government. Hell, most of them didn’t speak or understand a word of English, but that certainly didn’t prevent them from collecting that check every week.
Well, Eunice was just one woman, she didn’t have a say in the way the President was running the country, or the fact that he was running it into the ground. She was content to remain in her own little space and to hell with the rest of the world. She survived on her late husband’s military pension, awarded to her when he died in the war and her measly retirement pension from where she worked as a doctor’s secretary for almost forty years. She could have moved to a nicer neighborhood, but this was the house she and Bobby bought, right after he enlisted, and she refused to leave it.
She’d never had the inkling to remarry, she liked having her space and she could do without the sex, even with Bobby it was more chore than pleasure; her duty as his wife, but she loved Bobby, loved him with all her heart. Her father hadn’t approved of Bobby’s radical views, but Eunice loved him all that much more, because he clashed with her uptight minister father.
“RAID!” she screamed, as she spotted a cockroach crawling next to her chair. She giggled gleefully as it tried to outrun the death spray, but seconds later stopped, twitched a few times, and then went feet up. *pop. “Gotcha ya little bastard.”
She set the can of Raid back on the dinner tray and grabbed a doughnut from the package next to it. She’d make dinner soon, but she wanted to watch Jerry Springer first. He always had such trash on, and she enjoyed watching people make idiots of themselves.
After Jerry Springer Eunice washing the a few dishes and set them in the strainer. She also hated dishes, but eventually she had to do them or there was nothing clean to eat off of. A cockroach skittered across the counter next to the sink. Eunice grabbed her can and drowned it in a pool of pesticide.
“RAID!” she cackled and watched it squirm before going legs up. pop.
She smirked, grabbed a piece of paper towel, and covered the beast with it, pulling it off the counter and tossing it in the trash. She wiped at the leftover spray with another paper towel, then grabbed a fork from the strainer and retrieved her microwave dinner. Wandering into the living room, she settled before the television and switched on Maury Povich to see what little sluts were on today trying to discover who the father of their baby was. Stupid whores, if they weren’t opening their legs for everyone on the block they would know who the father was, instead they spent their day on their backs and collecting childcare from the government. Eunice felt blessed that she and Bobby had wanted no children; she would have drowned the whining, blubbering things at birth. Who wants something that constantly gushes from either end?
She set her dinner on the TV tray and pried off the plastic top, cursing when the escaping steam burned her fingers and knocked her fork to the floor. Bending to retrieve it was an effort, Eunice was not a small woman, she stood 5’9 and weighted in at 240, so of course trying to reach her pudgy hand beneath the flimsy metal dinner tray, while her ample bosom was pressed against it, was probably pushing her luck. Sure enough, the table flipped and her dinner went all over the floor.
She heaved herself out of the chair, knelt to scrape up the mess, and within seconds cockroaches approached from all angles, eager to be fed. Eunice grabbed her RAID and sprayed them, startled that so many approached at once, must be four…no six of the buggers. Pop. Pop. Pop. One crawling up her dress! Pop. Two more were trying to hide beneath the recliner. Pop. Pop. Eunice gripped the recliner and struggled to her feet, huffing and puffing, both from the effort and the fright that the roaches had given her. She obviously had an infestation. Maybe she should call an exterminator…No, she’d take care of the little bastards herself, she was sure there couldn’t be that many more, not after she killed an entire squad of them.
Moving back to the kitchen and dropping what was left of her dinner in the trash, she washed her hands in the sink. Her heart was ramming against her ribs, but she soon began to calm down, just as her doorbell rang. She glanced at the calendar and noticed that today was Friday, the day she had her regular order of groceries delivered. Good, she needed a pick me up. She opened the door to the young man who stood outside, frowning when she saw that he was black.
“Who the hell are you?”
“I’m Adam, Mrs. Haversham. I’m delivering you’re groceries.”
Eunice’s eyes narrowed, her face creasing in an ugly scowl. “You’re not my regular boy-I don’t want no Blackie bringing me my groceries, How do I know you didn’t spit or piss in them? How do I know you didn’t drop ’em on the ground and put your dirty shit-colored hands on them? I know all about you people, how you sacrifice live chickens for your black magic, you cast a spell on my things, boy?”
Adam stared at her, shocked. “I…I brought them straight from the store, Ma’am, I ain’t touched nothin’ inside.”
Eunice grabbed the box. “Get the hell out of here then.”
“Ma’am…you haven’t paid…”
Eunice cackled and slammed the door. “Figure it out yourself. I ain’t given’ you any money to go spending on drugs, Blackie.”
“Mean old bitch!” the boy called, slamming his fist against the closed door, before storming off.
“Tell it to someone who cares, sonny,” Eunice smiled as she put her groceries away. She could imagine the story he would have to come up with of why he didn’t have her payment, stuttering and stammering about what happened. The manager will fire his as for lying, shouldn’t have hired him anyway; can’t trust their kind.
She pulled out an old box of cereal to make room for the new, and the box tipped over on the counter. Immediately the counter top swarmed with roaches. Screaming she grabbed her cans of Raid and sprayed at the roaches with vengeance, not stopping until a large puddle of insecticide and dead bugs lay on her counter.
“Je-zus!” She grabbed the trashcan, some paper towels and started wiping them into the trash. “Where are you bastards coming from?”
Once finished ridding herself of the bodies of dead roaches, she grabbed up her phone to call an exterminator. They wouldn’t be out until Monday, but she made an appointment with them anyway. Needing to settle her nerves, she grabbed a glass from the counter and poured a glass of juice. She made a face at the first taste, thinking that the juice had gone off, but it was from the new groceries so it couldn’t be. She checked the expiration date, still a week to go.
She poured the rest of the juice out. Dirty bastard probably did piss in it. Sweating now, she returned to the living room and flopped back in her chair. She’d find a sitcom or something to watch to calm her nerves, then she’d be fine. Picking up the remote she started to flip through the channels when she felt the first gastric urge to belch, which she did long and loud. Then a startling wet sounding fart expelled itself from her body and she almost laughed at the length of it.
“Good God!” she cackled. “That was a good one!” she slapped her knee, then realized there was more to come. A second and a third, each sounding worse than the original, and when the cramping in her stomach grew steadily worse, she hurried for the bathroom.
Running inside she hiked up her lounge dress and dropped her drawers just as the first wave of diarrhea hit. Oh God! Her stomach was on fire! That bastard kid had put something in the juice! She’d been poisoned, she was sure of it! She groaned and moaned as her bowels emptied and yet she felt no relief.
She was sweating more now, and the belching had started again. Her heart felt like it was going to punch right through her chest and her whole body started to itch like crazy. Finally, the diarrhea eased and she reached for the sink to heave herself off the toilet. She had to get to the phone and call for an ambulance, she needed a hospital and once they found out she was poisoned she’d sue that kid and his family enough that they’d still be paying her for generations to come!
Groaning from exhaustion and pain she eased herself up, took two steps and was hit by cramps so severe that she doubled over. She hit the tile floor of her bathroom hard and felt the excruciating snap of her hip as she fell.
“No,” she moaned. “Oh God it hurts!”
She tried to crawl towards the bathroom door, if she could just get to the phone…if she could just call for help. Another cramp hit and a wave of shame flowed over her, almost as painful as the break in her hip, as she felt her bowels release again, this time onto her pristine clean bathroom floor.
“Help me!” Tears of fear and frustration fell down her cheeks. She had no family, no friends, had alienated all of her neighbors. She could die here because no one would think to check on her. “Someone help me!”
Out of the corner of her eye she saw something skitter towards her. “Go away!” she cried slapping at the floor as a single roach stopped just out of reach and seemed to stare at her. “Get out of here!” another roach appeared, then a third, all lined up by the first, as if waiting for a command. “Get out of my house!”
Eunice grappled for the sink, lifted herself half way off the floor and managed to grab the can of Raid that sat on the corner. “Go away!” She sprayed the mist at them, watched the skitter off, then another horrific cramp hit her so badly that she felt bile rise in her throat.
She tried to belch, tried to fart, she didn’t even care if she shit on the floor now she just had to relieve this intense pressure but nothing worked. She cried and moaned and screamed as the pain increased until she felt like her stomach was going to explode. Her head lolled sideways, her hand still gripping the can of Raid and her blurry vision managed to make out the small warning label on the back.
WARNING: Harmful if swallowed or absorbed through skin. Avoid breathing spray mist Provide adequate ventilation of area to be treated. Cover or remove exposed food, dishes, or utensils and food handling equipment. Keep out of reach of children.
Flashes of all the times she had sprayed the insect killer, aroudn her living room, her kitchen, within range of her dishes, food. She’d never opened a window because she felt the air outside was too polluted. She never washed her hands after each spray, she’d been too busy enjoying their miserable little deaths.
“Oh God! Oh God!” Realization dawned, it had not been the grocery boy that had poisoned her, she had done this to herself by her own damned stupidity.
She threw the can across the floor, horrified, watched it hit the wall, spin and then come to a slow halt. Another pain hit her, this one ten times worse than the others and again no matter what she did she couldn’t seem to expel the pressure. She watched as the roaches started to appear again in the corner of her eye, across the room, and she swore she could hear their legs clicking behind her as well.
Roaches have no gastric track so they can’t expel the gas that builds up, eventually their bodies just explode.
But she wasn’t a roach! That couldn’t happen to her! She was a Human, damn it! She was Human! Terror caused her attempt a panicked crawl towards the door. She’d be okay if she got to a hospital. She’d be okay! She wasn’t a cockroach! She wasn’t a pest that fed off others, that was hated by everyone. She was Human, she mattered! She was Human!
She screamed as the roaches started to crawl up her legs and across her arms. Screamed louder as they seemed to swarm at the doorway that was still out of her reach, as if preventing escape.
“I matter! I matter!” she cried as they swarmed her, and the pressure inside of her grew. Frantic she rolled onto her back flinging a good many of the bastard roaches off of her, but the movement caused the pressure inside her gut to increase again. She cried out and curled her knees and arms inward as if to protect herself, as the roaches descended upon her.
“No! Nononononon…” POP!
That was how they found Eunice Haversham three weeks later, laying on her back in a dirty bathroom, her legs and feet in the air and a look of horror on her face.