It’s been a long day and about 11PM I’m finally falling asleep, snuggled up in my white sheets with the embroidered brown spots on the trim. My down comforter is pulled up under my chin and I am quietly snoozing off, carried away on the slow dreamland boat.
My short-haired, gray cat Sparkle, begins batting the bed covers and jumping in a circle. I figure she’s playing with her tail but she doesn’t stop.
I turn on the light and have a look. I don’t see anything but Sparkle is clearly upset about something that I’m not seeing. I give the blanket a big shake and something falls to the floor, along with Sparkle.
I crawl to the end of the bed and peer over the edge. Eeeh gads! I see a creature about two inches long, a finger length wide and covered with legs. It whips across the floor like a snake! I think maybe I scream.
Sparkle bounds after it as it skitters under a rattan table, the kind that is thick all the way up, like a column. Sparkle is frantic, trying to get under the column but there is no room. I see what I have to do; take the glass table top off the rattan and then lift the base so Sparkle can save me.
Oh my god. The round, glass table top weighs more then I do! I’m struggling, and pulling and sliding the glass, trying to get it off the column. Sparkle is poised to act. Finally, I almost pull a kidney loose, but I have the glass on the floor. I tip the column up. Oh my god! There it is, a hairy, fleshy creature wound up upon itself. Sparkle crouches close to it.
“Keep an eye on it, Sparkle!” I shout. I run to the kitchen to get two plastic tumblers. Maybe I can capture the beast.
When I come racing back, my bare feet slapping the floor, the creature is gone and Sparkle is crouched with her nose next to the underside of the small enamel free standing gas fireplace. She puts her arm and paw underneath it, then yanks it out. Her ears twitch and she’s all business. I think I am meowing. Somebody is.
I’m not going to put my arm under the fireplace. Flushing the creature into the open is Sparkle’s job. I love this cat. She’s my Protector. She finds, catches and eats the house spiders and patrols the house. If it hadn’t been for her I would be sleeping with this creature, nustled up under the covers with this ‘snake’. The thought of that makes all the hairs on my body shout and wave.
I wait. Sparkle waits. She bats her arm again under the fireplace and the creature slithers out and whipsaws itself across the floor toward me and I believe I scream. It disappears under a pot of flowers that is sitting on the floor. In a flash, Sparkle is after what I now think must be a millipede. All my cat friend needs, I think, is a cape; My Savior, Bat Cat.
Sparkle needs my help. I carefully lift the blue pot and the hairy monster races for the lamp base but I’m fast and bring one of the plastic water glasses down on it to capture it. But, Oh my god, it’s too big to fit under the glass!
It’s under the floor lamp base, now and with the next slide it will be under the couch and then Sparkle and I will never get it, it will go up under the material that is the bottom of the couch. And, I will never be able to sit on the couch, again, and I will not sleep all night, waiting for it to come sneaking out and slither and slide into bed with me, again.
Sparkle and I need help.
I race to the other end of the house to Bill’s studio. I knock but there is no answer and this is an emergency so I open the door and pretty much fall into the place.
No answer, but there he is, in bed, on top of his blankets, on his back in a white tee shirt and under-shorts. He’s snoring loudly.
“Bill. Bill. I need help.”
“Bill! Bill! Please wake up!”
I earnestly pat his leg.
Nothing. I keep trying. I pat some more. I call some more. Bill snores on. Finally, I grab a knee cap and squeeze and turn it.
Bill shoots up in bed like a vampire rising from the grave.
He’s not happy and it takes awhile but finally he rolls out of bed and staggers in a circle. He’s obviously been in a very deep sleep and I’m sorry to wake him but I need his help on this one.
I pretty much drag and lead him to my bedroom where I explain the situation. Sparkle is at the lamp base so we still have a chance to capture the creature.
I hand Bill the 2 green glasses.
“You do it,” I say.
Bill is not pleased.
I lift up the lamp and the four of us are off; the cat, the creature, Bill and I are racing around the room. Bill is slapping a glass over bare flooring here, and bare flooring there. Finally, he gets the tumbler over the beast with the legs and the glass is too small! Funny, that I forgot about that.
Bill staggers off, stumbles face first into the wall by the bedroom door, recovers, disappears and comes back with a small plastic bucket and a magazine.
Sparkle tells us the beast is now under the rattan table column again.
“Are you ready!?” I shout to Bill. He is.
I lift the table base and the creature tears under the stand that holds all the boxes and wires to my flat screen TV. Bill yanks the table away from the wall and all my TV plugs are ripped from the box! Oh my!
Bill jerks, swoops low, and captures the fleeing beast with the plastic tub. We all shout. Bill slips the magazine under the tub, lifts the contraption and the deed is done.
I insist he put the creature outside in the garden.
“Take it as far away as you can!”
Bill is barefooted and does not take it as far as I would wish which guarantees, I think, that I will be seeing the creature in my bedroom again.
I thank Bill profusely, and I thank Sparkle profusely. My Saviors. My Heros.
I crawl back into bed while Sparkle continues room patrol. It is a long time before I sleep.
In the morning, I go into Bill’s studio to thank him, again. It is 8 O’Clock and he is still in bed. He struggles up, looks at me and says, “What happened?”
I look at him.
He says, “I’m usually up at 5AM and I’ve slept in. I can hardly move.”
Then, he tells me that a buddy had sent him some pills to try, that would make him relax for his up coming plane flight back east. Bill does not like to fly and appreciates getting drugged up to do it.
“I took two of my friend’s pills last night,” he says. “My friend said they are muscle relaxers. I’m not going to do that, again.”
Now, it comes clear. No wonder the man wouldn’t wake up when I came calling, no wonder he fell into my wall. I am amazed that he was able to capture the critter with the many legs. I’m even more amazed that he remembers the Heroic Deed.
He does remember, but not so well. He complains that I woke him up all night. He admits that he wasn’t able to take Bob The Dog out to pee the night before bed because he, Bill, couldn’t get out of bed and he complains that Bob made him take him outside at 2AM to do his urgent dog business. I am amazed that I haven’t found both Bill and Bob in the bushes this morning.
But, all is well that ends well.
I can sleep well tonight, and Bill is busy flushing the rest of the pills down the toilet. He may have to fly back east, Cold Turkey, but that would be better then having to be carried off the plane. He agrees.
How embarrassing that would be, I tell him. He agrees. We both conclude that it is certainly a good thing that he did a dry run.
But, why on the night I needed to Be Saved From A Millipede?
Because, I think, Life has a sense of humor.
WINNER OF A FREE 15 MINUTE PHONE SESSION WITH VENUS: *Norine Conroy* Offer good through June 4th, Weds, 20008. Null and void after that.