The Monster In The Basement

Even though it was July 4, I still had laundry to do. Sunday’s the day I usually change the sheets and wash the towels, plus throw in a few other items, if need be. The picnic I planned to attend got shoved to Monday, which was just fine by me. The day was cool and cloudy anyway, and Monday’s forecast promised to offer much better weather.

I wear glasses, but not around the house. I see well enough without them to do what I need to do. Things only start to get blurry at a distance of about five-six feet or so. Besides, my house isn’t that big – only 1010 square feet. There isn’t a lot to navigate around here.

A marshmallow pile of sheets lay on the floor, waiting for me to snatch them up and carry them into the basement for their weekly bath. I gather them up and trudge down the steps. After I turn on the light, I see the big black splotch on the floor. I’m wondering if I dropped something.

Then the splotch moved.

Startled, this thing stood between me and the washer. At first, I pretended it was imaginary. The whoosh from my rushing down the steps caused a piece of something to move. Of course. That has to be the answer. And maybe if I had my glasses on, I’d be able to make out what this object was.

It moved again, this time, sideways.

Okay. Don’t panic. You’re six feet tall. Thing on the floor was only the size of Texas. And it moved again, closer to the washing machine.

I bent down, tucking the sheets close to my chest. The monster had six jagged legs, was dark black and appeared to be some kind of Jurassic-era miniature monster. It started gamboling on the floor, as if it were defying me to put the sheets in the washer. I’m certain it relished the standoff between human and beast.

This is ridiculous, I thought to myself. As a veteran of New York City apartments and the 2″-3″ waterbugs that frequented some of mine, I should laugh at this pathetic example of horror. Of course, when I went to squish said waterbed, whitish goo would ooze and smear from its insides, creating a whole new version of horror. And major, major grossness. Then I’d have to clean it up. Ugh, I can still hear that snapping sound after smacking the waterbug with a broom, newspaper, shoe, magazine…whatever lie in hand’s reach.

And in case you didn’t know, a waterbug is a giant cockroach. Pray you never see one.

Now I’m angry. The monster held its position. So did I. It seemed neither of us were going to budge. There wasn’t room in that basement for the both of us.

“Get out!” I shouted. “Go back to where you came from!” I edged two steps closer to the washing machine.

The monster held his ground.

“I’m warning you,” I say, hoping its defiance would fade as I attempt to instill fear into the monster.

A quick scan around reveals nothing useful I can use to dispatch this thing. There are some boxes, a fire extinguisher, the bottle of Purex on top of the washer. Realistically, I’m helpless. With my arms bound up in sheets, they’re not free to lunge or swipe. Any thought of stepping on it was quickly dismissed. There’s absolutely no chance in hell I’m getting bug goo on my relatively new sneakers.

Finally, I take the plunge. It’s a simple move, one I should’ve thought about earlier.

I step over the monster and proceed towards the washer, outwitting it. Take that!

In go the sheets, the soap…et voila! Laundry in progress. I feel sort of smug, having achieved this small victory.

The monster ambles off a few steps, headed toward a room I use to store some random boxes I really should’ve gone through ages ago. It better not find a cozy spot to rest and breed inside one of them.

Water rushes into the tub and it begins to spin. Monster is still within sight, but leaves a clear path for me to exit. Whether this is out of respect or fear, I cannot say. It’s a good sign, though. I head upstairs, resuming my housecleaning duties as I choose to block the monster’s existence from my memory.

And hopefully, it’ll be long gone before the spin cycle ends….

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