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Group Writing: Living in the Shadows

 

He’d had a long, productive life. On reflection, he said he had no complaints. He took care of himself, ate right, and took regular exercise. He’d raised an independent brood, all who eventually went on to make their own way in the world. He tried to talk them into staying close by, but they were determined to forge their own paths. And now he’d outlived them all.

Unfortunately, life changed in these parts. He had always felt free and independent, keeping his own schedule and company. He explored whenever he felt like it, relaxed when he could and pretty much lived a life of leisure. He’d always been a night owl; the silence and safety of darkness never stopped having its appeal.

But he no longer felt appreciated here. There were ominous signs that the welcome mat was being withdrawn, that he had overstayed his welcome and that he needed to reconsider his options.

Making that kind of change just seemed so difficult. Where would he go? At his age, making such a radical change might be too much for him to contemplate. Maybe he’d simply lived too long and it was time to enter the next world. . . but suddenly he screamed, wait, no not that, no, let me be, I’m not ready to go yet, can’t someone help me…?

In his last moments . . .

Published in Group Writing
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There are 33 comments.

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  1. Member

    That was funny – and would be a good commercial – remember the R A I D !! commercials?

    • #1
    • June 12, 2018 at 6:50 am
    • 5 likes
  2. Member

    Entirely too sympathetic to cockroaches.

    • #2
    • June 12, 2018 at 6:51 am
    • 7 likes
  3. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    That was funny – and would be a good commercial – remember the R A I D !! commercials?

    I do! And we keep plenty of it around. We finally cleaned out the entire kitchen and sprayed. We took our kitchen back! I’m sure you can identify, FSC!

    • #3
    • June 12, 2018 at 6:52 am
    • 3 likes
  4. Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    That was funny – and would be a good commercial – remember the R A I D !! commercials?

    I do! And we keep plenty of it around. We finally cleaned out the entire kitchen and sprayed. We took our kitchen back! I’m sure you can identify, FSC!

    I hate bugs……and live in FL….

    • #4
    • June 12, 2018 at 6:52 am
    • 2 likes
  5. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    That was funny – and would be a good commercial – remember the R A I D !! commercials?

    I do! And we keep plenty of it around. We finally cleaned out the entire kitchen and sprayed. We took our kitchen back! I’m sure you can identify, FSC!

    I hate bugs……and live in FL….

    Those are the only ones that drive me nuts. I think we keep the gecko population well-fed otherwise!

    • #5
    • June 12, 2018 at 6:53 am
    • 1 like
  6. Member

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):
    I hate bugs……and live in FL….

    One of the best things about living in AZ. We only have to take care of the occasional scorpion and not things running around underfoot all the time.

     

    • #6
    • June 12, 2018 at 6:58 am
    • 3 likes
  7. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):
    I hate bugs……and live in FL….

    One of the best things about living in AZ. We only have to take care of the occasional scorpion and not things running around underfoot all the time.

    Oh yes! That sounds lots better, @justmeinaz. At least palmetto bugs don’t sting!

     

    • #7
    • June 12, 2018 at 7:01 am
    • 1 like
  8. Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    That was funny – and would be a good commercial – remember the R A I D !! commercials?

    I do! And we keep plenty of it around. We finally cleaned out the entire kitchen and sprayed. We took our kitchen back! I’m sure you can identify, FSC!

    I hate bugs……and live in FL….

    Those are the only ones that drive me nuts. I think we keep the gecko population well-fed otherwise!

    …and unfortunately, sometimes the gator population as well.

     

    • #8
    • June 12, 2018 at 7:09 am
    • 4 likes
  9. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    That was funny – and would be a good commercial – remember the R A I D !! commercials?

    I do! And we keep plenty of it around. We finally cleaned out the entire kitchen and sprayed. We took our kitchen back! I’m sure you can identify, FSC!

    I hate bugs……and live in FL….

    Those are the only ones that drive me nuts. I think we keep the gecko population well-fed otherwise!

    …and unfortunately, sometimes the gator population as well.

    Well, yeah, there’s that, too . . . like a chicken in every pot, we have a gator in every pond . . .

     

    • #9
    • June 12, 2018 at 7:18 am
    • 3 likes
  10. Member

    In our local park there is a large pond. In the pond is about a 12 ft gator. It is visible a lot. The other day it was at the far end of the pond sunning on the bank. At the other end was an instructor teaching a group of five millennial women how to paddle board. I warned them about the gator and they more or less told me to mind my own business. Oh well Darwin had a theory.

    • #10
    • June 12, 2018 at 7:37 am
    • 8 likes
  11. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    In our local park there is a large pond. In the pond is about a 12 ft gator. It is visible a lot. The other day it was at the far end of the pond sunning on the bank. At the other end was an instructor teaching a group of five millennial women how to paddle board. I warned them about the gator and they more or less told me to mind my own business. Oh well Darwin had a theory.

    Stupid. Them, not you. It’s amazing to me how foolish people can be around alligators. There are reasons for signs that say Do Not Feed the Alligators! Generally they avoid people, but if you serve yourself up for dessert, all bets are off.

    • #11
    • June 12, 2018 at 7:43 am
    • 2 likes
  12. Reagan

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    That was funny – and would be a good commercial – remember the R A I D !! commercials?

    I do! And we keep plenty of it around. We finally cleaned out the entire kitchen and sprayed. We took our kitchen back! I’m sure you can identify, FSC!

    I hate bugs……and live in FL….

    You Floridians go out of you way to disguise the extent of your cockroaches infestation by euphemistically and quaintly calling them “Palmetto Bugs” ….. which sounds more innocuous than frikking Super Sized Flying Cockroaches.

    • #12
    • June 12, 2018 at 7:46 am
    • 7 likes
  13. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    GLDIII (View Comment):
    You Floridians go out of you way to disguise the extent of your cockroaches infestation by euphemistically and quaintly calling them “Palmetto Bugs” ….. which sounds more innocuous than frikking Super Sized Flying Cockroaches.

    No, you’ve got it all wrong, @gldiii! These don’t fly!! ;-)

    • #13
    • June 12, 2018 at 8:28 am
    • Like
  14. Reagan

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    GLDIII (View Comment):
    You Floridians go out of you way to disguise the extent of your cockroaches infestation by euphemistically and quaintly calling them “Palmetto Bugs” ….. which sounds more innocuous than frikking Super Sized Flying Cockroaches.

    No, you’ve got it all wrong, @gldiii! These don’t fly!! ;-)

    I refer you to the experts….Orkin that bringer of civilization into the tropical climates. 

    Palmetto Bug vs. Cockroach

    A cockroach species commonly called a “palmetto bug” is the American cockroach (Periplanetaamericana). Adult American cockroaches are large and winged. Their coloration is dark brown with a cream-colored prothorax that has dark markings that resemble sunglasses. American cockroaches prefer damp conditions and often are found in sewers, woodpiles and mulch. They will fly to lights. This particular behavior is disconcerting for homeowners who encounter a large roach that flies near their face when entering doors with lights nearby in the evening.

    • #14
    • June 12, 2018 at 8:35 am
    • 2 likes
  15. Member

    Love it. Great use of imagination. I thought at first you were going the Toronto route. I think I just read something about a place in Florida producing cricket flour.


    Aaaand…this conversation is an entry in our ongoing Group Writing Series under this month’s theme of Now That’s Imagination! This month’s entries are turning out to be a lot of fun. Wouldn’t you like to join us? The 14th and 15th are still available, along with ten other dates later in the month. Best to go sign up right now.

    • #15
    • June 12, 2018 at 8:43 am
    • 3 likes
  16. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    GLDIII (View Comment):
    A cockroach species commonly called a “palmetto bug” is the American cockroach (Periplanetaamericana). Adult American cockroaches are large and winged. Their coloration is dark brown with a cream-colored prothorax that has dark markings that resemble sunglasses. American cockroaches prefer damp conditions and often are found in sewers, woodpiles and mulch. They will fly to lights. This particular behavior is disconcerting for homeowners who encounter a large roach that flies near their face when entering doors with lights nearby in the evening.

    Well, they’d better be all dead now!!!!!! Ick.

     

    • #16
    • June 12, 2018 at 8:59 am
    • Like
  17. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Arahant (View Comment):
    Love it. Great use of imagination. I thought at first you were going the Toronto route. I think I just read something about a place in Florida producing cricket flour.

    Thanks so much for that photo. Double Ick.

    • #17
    • June 12, 2018 at 9:00 am
    • 1 like
  18. Member

    You had me goin’ there. Me: Oh, I didn’t know Susan had kids. Aww, they moved to another stat… wait what?

    • #18
    • June 12, 2018 at 9:20 am
    • 3 likes
  19. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    You had me goin’ there. Me: Oh, I didn’t know Susan had kids. Aww, they moved to another stat… wait what?

    Thank you! Thank you! @rightangles, I hoped some people would be fooled. Your reaction is just perfect. Thanks for telling me!

    • #19
    • June 12, 2018 at 9:42 am
    • 1 like
  20. Thatcher

    Neatly done, SQ!

    • #20
    • June 12, 2018 at 9:56 am
    • 2 likes
  21. Member

    That was fun!

    As an apartment dweller in NYC I encountered plenty of roaches, but they were all small and keeping meticulously clean and borax liberally sprinkled about seemed to keep them down pretty well.

    Once in Japan, near Osaka, I encountered a cockroach about the size of my head, on a wall right next to my head. I first noticed it because all my friends were staring, not at me, but at a point just past me. They all laughed when I shrieked, but anyone would have jumped to see that monster.

    One other time I had a memorable encounter with roaches in Japan: I was traveling around the country with a backpack and tent, sleeping on ferries and camping in campgrounds. I was on an island called Yakushima, and I walked out onto a rocky point overlooking the incredibly blue ocean. The rocks were covered in cockroaches. Every step I took on the rocks caused thousands of cockroaches to scatter. If I stood still, they came close, but as long as I kept moving, they kept away in a large circle around me. There was a Shinto shrine on the point, and the cockroaches were no longer a problem as I got near it. I wrote in my diary and spent about an hour on the point, then walked back through the gauntlet of roaches. 

    • #21
    • June 13, 2018 at 6:38 am
    • 3 likes
  22. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):
    One other time I had a memorable encounter with roaches in Japan: I was traveling around the country with a backpack and tent, sleeping on ferries and camping in campgrounds. I was on an island called Yakushima, and I walked out onto a rocky point overlooking the incredibly blue ocean.

    Oh my gosh, Mama Toad!! I’m glad I stuck to traveling in Kyoto. Otherwise I’d have had nightmares afterward, for sure! ;-)

    • #22
    • June 13, 2018 at 6:42 am
    • 1 like
  23. Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Oh my gosh, Mama Toad!! I’m glad I stuck to traveling in Kyoto. Otherwise I’d have had nightmares afterward, for sure! ;-)

    It was actually incredibly cool. Not one of them crawled on me — they were almost like this circle of protection as long as I didn’t stand still.

    And the sight of so many animals together was really amazing. Like the migrating herds of caribou in Planet Earth or something.

    And the way the area near the shrine was clear of roaches was just so striking. It was a little private shrine, not a big one with a shinto priest or anything, just a common little shrine like I saw all over Japan anywhere there was something or someplace beautiful. 

    • #23
    • June 13, 2018 at 6:47 am
    • 2 likes
  24. Reagan

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):

    That was fun!

    Once in Japan, near Osaka, I encountered a cockroach about the size of my head, on a wall right next to my head.

    This is the result of the US nuking Japan in the 40’s. The radiation fall out causing the mutating of little cockroaches into giant cockroaches, amongst the other thing that grow big over there. 😳

    • #24
    • June 13, 2018 at 7:57 am
    • 6 likes
  25. Member

    Has anybody read Harrington’s novel Cockroaches of Staymore?  I think it’s a remarkable book in the way it deals with the transience of insect life. But it’s narrated by cockroaches, like your story. 

    • #25
    • June 13, 2018 at 10:42 am
    • 2 likes
  26. Thatcher

    Susan Quinn: In his last moments . . .

    He thought of his family . . . the 257,000 children, the 12,465,859 grandchildren . . . then he ran out of neurons to comprehend the numbers of his offspring.

    As he sank into the twilight of death, his final thought was, “At least I made the gal with the wavy hair scream before she stomped on me.”

    Such is life. And death . . .

    • #26
    • June 13, 2018 at 2:02 pm
    • 6 likes
  27. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Stad (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: In his last moments . . .

    He thought of his family . . . the 257,000 children, the 12,465,859 grandchildren . . . then he ran out of neurons to comprehend the numbers of his offspring.

    As he sank into the twilight of death, his final thought was, “At least I made the gal with the wavy hair scream before she stomped on me.”

    Such is life. And death . . .

    Too funny, @stad!! Much better than my ending !

    • #27
    • June 13, 2018 at 2:14 pm
    • 2 likes
  28. Member

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):
    And the way the area near the shrine was clear of roaches was just so striking. It was a little private shrine, not a big one with a shinto priest or anything, just a common little shrine like I saw all over Japan anywhere there was something or someplace beautiful. 

    I keep hoping you’d tell us why the cockroaches stayed away from the shrine. Could it be that the people there know something about roach control that would benefit the rest of the world?

    • #28
    • June 13, 2018 at 5:40 pm
    • 2 likes
  29. Member

    barbara lydick (View Comment):

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):
    And the way the area near the shrine was clear of roaches was just so striking. It was a little private shrine, not a big one with a shinto priest or anything, just a common little shrine like I saw all over Japan anywhere there was something or someplace beautiful.

    I keep hoping you’d tell us why the cockroaches stayed away from the shrine. Could it be that the people there know something about roach control that would benefit the rest of the world?

    Haha me too. I was waiting for some kind of sacred spiritual reason.

    • #29
    • June 13, 2018 at 5:44 pm
    • 4 likes
  30. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    barbara lydick (View Comment):

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):
    And the way the area near the shrine was clear of roaches was just so striking. It was a little private shrine, not a big one with a shinto priest or anything, just a common little shrine like I saw all over Japan anywhere there was something or someplace beautiful.

    I keep hoping you’d tell us why the cockroaches stayed away from the shrine. Could it be that the people there know something about roach control that would benefit the rest of the world?

    Haha me too. I was waiting for some kind of sacred spiritual reason.

    @rightangles and @barbaralydick, that’s the impression I had–that there was something spiritual about it, certainly mysterious. I don’t know anything about Shintoism, although I believe it’s an offshoot of Buddhism. The very traditional Buddhists are very respectful to all living critters, including bugs (even mosquitoes). Some even walk very carefully so they don’t step on an unsuspecting bug. Maybe the bugs are expressing their gratitude in return?

    • #30
    • June 13, 2018 at 5:56 pm
    • 2 likes
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