It was one of those days that assigns itself a theme, assaults you with the rudest awakening to its subject matter and spends its life relentlessly battering you on its chosen theme.
Cruelly, the day had invaded my nightmares and raided my fears to find its theme – creatures of the fanged, scaly, slimy, hairy, creepy, crawly and terrifyingly uncontrollable varieties. The day jolted me into Hell at the earliest opportunity and loomed from nowhere to yank me back there every time I thought the onslaught was over.
Forgetting to don spectacles and in happy anticipation of our morning walk after The Playmate emerged, I loped down the stairs to flick a few switches and keep our personal enrichment of PLN’s undeserving coffers in perspective. The garage floor was wet and slippery from rain. As I turned to start the upwards lope, the large rock on the tiles leapt off the floor and at me.
And there I was, on my backside, legs making useless running actions in the air, skidding towards the leaping rock. I tried to scream mightily as I closed in on the rock and it came into focus, but all I could manage were pathetic whimpers of “oo-ooh, oo-ooh.” Somehow in this terrorised state I found my hands, relieved them of a layer of skin by using them as brakes and came to a shaky halt with the big, ugly toad between my flaying legs. “Oo-ooh, oo-ooh,” I snivelled, using injured hands to reverse away from the beast, legs still running upwards to nowhere.
What’s wrong? asked The Playmate, when I’d staggered upstairs. “Oo-ooh.” What? Why are you shaking and wet? Why are you crying? “Oo-ooh.” Why are you making that noise? “Oo-ooh sob.” Later, I realised I was crying with the utter frustration of being so incapacitated by fear that my body couldn’t manage more than a whimper when my mind said scream, long and loud.
The Playmate unfolded me from the foetal position, fed me sweet tea, laced up my walking shoes, shepherded me past the site of my earlier shock and into the restorative routine of our morning walk on which I bravely bore the menace of a fang-baring, cranky and mangy old canine and suffered multiple mosquito bites despite the liberal appliance of repellent.
Earthquake, I muttered as the dining table rolled to and fro. I grabbed it for stability and then reeled in revulsion as thousands of minuscule ants crawled from its surface and up my hands, between my fingers and along my arms, onwards and upwards at a frightening speed. Their seething multitude had covered the table surface and given the illusion the entire structure was moving.
“Oo-ooh, splutter.” Come on, you can get out now, coaxed The Playmate. Reportedly whimpering “oo-ooh,” but mentally screeching “drown the critters,” I’d tried to seize control of the day by using my ant-infested arms to make like a windmill and propel myself into the pool. Dead ants floated all about, along with obviously non water-resistant bits of my disintegrating shoes.
Bitten, blotchy and bruised, I found by mid afternoon the day had taken its toll and I crept, defeated but confident of recovery, upstairs for a lie-down. What now? bellowed The playmate as I stood at the stair top stamping my feet and bashing the wall because my constricted “oo-oohs” hadn’t reached him. My eyes had fluttered half open, in that last conscious moment before blissful sleep, to reveal the most unsightly bug only inches from my nose and moving determinedly forward. I knew its ilk. I have the scars from its pincers and I recall the pain.
The Playmate’s insensitive response galvanised me. I used a precious crossword page to hurl it onto its hideously ugly back. It’s uselessly thrashing legs reminded me of the toad and made me angry. I drove at it repeatedly with the crossword, like a psychotic with a five iron, until it sailed beautifully straight down the stairway as I bawled: “Kill it. Kill it. Kill it.” The Playmate, a normally gentle soul who likes to live and let live, obliged.
Sleep was out of the question. And I felt stronger now. A nice shower would precede a civilised evening. It’s an open-air shower and in there, starring at me tauntingly, were two large reptiles, not nice little white geckos, but ominously dark and large feral specimens that are komodos-in-the-making. I ventured out to spray them with water. They don’t like that.
Suddenly the air was thick with flying ants in their thousands, on me and in my hair. I slammed the door on my finger and ran for the big can of spray. The bathroom was already full of them and as I fought my way in with the spray, my eyes settled on the biggest and hairiest spider possible, on the mirror.
Resolve deserted me and I screamed for The Playmate. As I peeked into the bathroom to show him the spider, there was movement all about the large shower recess. A toad! Another disgusting toad, or was it the same one this wretched day from Hell had opened with. Did that mean this was closure? Please. Oh Please. “Oo-ooh.”