It was huge… it was gross… it was a centipede by Pamela Francis


The little pair of boxer briefs sat in a damp corner of the tub.

“Yuck,” I thought. What would I find? A nighttime accident…? A Virgil’s vanilla cream soda spill…? Or maybe not. Maybe they had simply been hanging over the wall of the bathtub one day, had gotten too close to the shower spray, had fallen in, and were just left there. Fermenting. In the tub. For too long now.

I reached in and fished them out. I knew I would have to sniff them. How else could I be sure about the back story surrounding their appearance in the guest bathroom tub? How else would I know whether they needed to be thoroughly rinsed and wrung…(nighttime accident) or just tossed into the next load…(Virgil’s vanilla cream soda spill)?

I wasn’t wearing my glasses. So maybe that was why the… thing… the… shape… outlined against the black cotton draws… didn’t readily register. I put those draws way too close to my face, hesitantly about to take a whiff… when all of a sudden…

IT MOVED!!!

Not the undies. That… THING… ON the undies…!!

It was huge…! It was gross…! It was a centipede.

I knee-jerk flung the underwear into the sink and just stood there — for almost as long as those boxer briefs may have sat in that bathtub housing centipedes — and just stared at them.

I waited interminably to see if Wiggly 100 was gonna come out and try to make a run for it. But he never did. So I called in the big guns. My 10 yr old.  Junie.

Together we braved the situation, bringing in his trusty bug-catching receptacle (a clear, plastic, cylindrical container) and the requisite sheet of cardboard (torn from cereal box) that he always used to slide between bug and surface to get it into the receptacle and trap it. We’re very professional around here.

Long story short… Wiggly didn’t quite make it into the jar. Rather, he got away, escaping down the drain of the sink. Junie and I looked at each other; mission unaccomplished. We began to ruminate on what might happen as a result of the foul-up. Visions of centipedes crawling up out of the drain at unexpected and inopportune moments made me shiver with a mild dread.

“Well, the good news is, Terminix is coming on Tuesday,” I told him.

“I’m not taking a shower again until AFTER the Terminix man comes and

“…And we start seeing them dead in the gazebo…?” I finished for him.

“Yeah,” said Junie. “I don’t wanna be taking a shower and I have the scolocopadrea (yeah, we Googled it) crawling up out of the drain and I say, ‘Whoa! Look at that centipede!’ and I fall out of the shower and hit my head and get knocked out and you guys run in and see that thing on top of me and start freaking out and –“

“You’re a great writer,” I interjected.

“Yeah, I know. I watch a lot of Bold & the Beautiful.”

Said Junie.

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