My Most Recent Traumas: Exhibits A-E

"Close your eyes and pretend it's a bad dream. That's how I get by."
~ Jack Sparrow

This post comes to you courtesy of a very cute little blue and orange two-man tent, whose long years of service and devotion are now being rewarded with the threat of (duh-duh-duuum) a garage sale. I personally think this is the work of the Zombiemobile. It's sneakily plotting behind the scenes to rid us of any alternative accommodation, so when we're inevitably homeless and starving on the street due to its insidious machinations, it can gloat and force us to come crawling back to its filthy confines. Poor short-orange/blue-and-handsome is just an innocent victim of its mind-controlling madness. Fear not, however, for you – yes, you – may be able to save this poor little guy from the horror beyond all horrors: just make an offer. He's really a very reasonable tent.

How can you say no to that face?

Right, I'm done hawking my wares. On to the anecdotes and accounts of daily happenings that we all cherish so.

He, like most of us, cannot contain his joy.

In honour of my swiftly waning mental health, the experiences herein are documented according to how traumatic I found them. What's really strange is that none of these are exceptional occurrences. No wonder I'm such a twisted child.

Exhibit E: NCEA

Please don't scoff when I say that this year, I was planning on scraping through school by the skin of my toenails. You may know that in the past few years, I've been an excellent, diligent scholar and taken home top marks. I've little idea how I managed it then, either, but last year especially was a hodge-podge of major and minor upsets all swirled up with a general lackadaisical attitude that refused me even the smallest skerric of motivation. Terrible class notes multiplied by terrible studying equals terrible exam results, so you can understand why I was unexcited about finding out how well things went. According to the undisputed equation for general competency – Results=Work*Intellect squared (R=WI^2) – I already knew what my marks would be; and I dreaded confirmation.

Real mathematics bastardised by unscrupulous B.A. students make Einstein cry.

This only clocks in as Exhibit E because I'm forced to assume that my markers were blind, and read my work utilising that brand of pseudo-Braille you create when you press way too hard on the paper. The indents of my chicken-scratching must have somehow convinced them that I wasn't pulling answers from the academic equivalent of a bovine's rectum. Believe me, if I knew the secret of how this screwy system worked, I'd be selling it as an ebook and making tens of dollars off desperate (and suddenly successful) NCEA candidates. All's well that ends well, I guess. My parents certainly thought so.

In a cruel twist worthy of a college B-movie, somewhere out there is a genuinely deserving student, sobbing over my rightful marks as I celebrate with hers.

Exhibit D: Rats

I have nothing against rats. We used to keep them as pets in Mum's classroom (which ceased when they all died due to eerily similar tumours under their right front legs. Maybe something was wrong with the communal deoderant? I always suspected that the cage was haunted after the first fatality). They were like smaller, cuter dogs with bald scaly tails and opposable thumbs.


However, rats tend to be hated and feared throughout history, with good reason. They're slippery and sly, eat anything and consent to be eaten by anything (so long as it signs a contract declaring that it will then bite and pass on any diseases to all nearby humans). This is why we were less than thrilled to discover a veritable Ratlantis sunken under all the junk in our attic. Huzzah for spring/summer cleaning.

Among their favourite delicacies were clothes, books, photos, and school assignments. One family had taken up residence in a folder full of art, which is now abstractly smeared with brown to signify the oppression of creativity, and nibbled around the edges to portray the modern world's digestion of originality into the same tired products that we all recognise. Who knew the rats were anarchic artists into politics and philosophy?

“I went to Harvard.”

An addendum to this is the fact that they have a man on the inside. My toy poodle is often referred to as 'Rat-dog' amongst my friends, and while he was very interested in the rodents' take on my artistic sensibilities, he was altogether too unsurprised to keep his cover. He's also covertly bugging the house with typical rat technology: fleas. I'm pretending I haven't noticed, but that's only so he doesn't realise I'm onto him. Counter-espionage is my speciality.

Foolproof !

Exhibit C: Alexander Beetle (brought his friends)

Our house is just a non-stop party for these little guys. I don't know who invited them, but I know that they're not leaving without a battle so epic that it wouldn't seem out of place in one of Tolkien's works. Nowhere is sacred.

I found Alexander's pervy uncle in my underwear drawer.

This obviously means war. Sorry, Alex, old buddy, but I just can't stand your side of the family.

Exhibit B: Mexican food

Who decided that this gunk is edible? They are a terrible, terrible person and they probably run kittens over with steamrollers. Now I'm not generally one to dislike any food, but I cannot stand Mexican. Why? I don't know. It just rubs my tender tastebuds in all the wrong ways, so they rear up like indignant wildcats and spit at me. Not cool, Mexican. Not cool at all.

Vying with fruitcake for title of most evil 'food'.

To be fair, I love guacamole and tortillas. Enchiladas are tolerable. Everything else is liquid nitrogen on the flavour thermometer.

Exhibit A: Cockiest roach ever

Alright, we're approaching the land of the deeply disturbing now. This is an A-grade High Octane Nightmare Fuel alert. Read on if you dare.

I sleep with a bottle of water by my bed, and drink most of my eight glasses a day at night, while half-asleep. This is important background information, not the traumatic event. Oooh, no. Just picture this scene: it's the witching hour. All is black and quiet and I'm snoozing peacefully. Okay? I stir and groggily grab my waterbottle, as usual. Less usual is the way the cap comes off, scrambling out of my mouth and over my face before disappearing into the darkness. It takes me a second to register the bizarre animation of my inanimate bottle-cap, so I feel for it. Nope, still there.

So what fell into my mouth?

I jump up, still only half-conscious, and flick on the lights. Nothing. I'm just about to chalk it up to paranoia, vivid dreams, or creepy imagination, when I decide to check under the pillows, just in case.


Exhibit A: the biggest, blackest, fastest (it was frickin' hard to catch) cockroach you've ever seen.

To my credit, I did not scream. I did not yell. I didn't make a sound, except for the noise of desperately spitting into my rubbish bin, but that was unavoidable. The thing just sat there, eyeing me with its hairy, multi-faceted insect eyes. Mocking me. I dashed to the bathroom and rolled up some toilet paper, intent on squishing the insolent beast into roach-pulp. He wasn't having it, skittering all over my hand and bed. I ran and retrieved a glass from the kitchen and finally managed to trap him, which only made him bounce around like a kid cracked out on sugar.

Hungry for vengeance. Sweet, sweet vengeance.

Now I could safely ignore him and go scour my hands, face, mouth and tongue with various soaps, toothpastes and mouthwashes. When I finally felt slightly less dirty, I returned to fully corral the manic creature. It was then that I noticed he was missing a back leg, to which I can only say I'm so, so grateful that I wasn't fully alert when he took his little saliva bath and provided me with some extra protein. Another round of mouthwash commenced, and then I was back in the game. The first hard, flat object I found was a very old educational computer game called “Dangerous Creatures”. Don't you just love irony?

“The common cockroach labours under the delusion that he was a dragon in his past life.”

The story ends happily for my beastly friend. Mum found him in his glass on the bench in the morning and set him free outside. Me? Not so much. I lived in fear for two days, during which time I slept on the couch. Seriously. That hellion was not the type to take prisoners, and I'd rather not be saddled with such an ignomious coroner's verdict as 'Death by vengeful cockroach'.


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