I tossed restlessly. There was something not quite right in my dream. The kitchen I stood in had a clean black and white checkered floor, a clean table and counters, but a strange, grunting sound was coming from a closet near the entrance.
As I watched with horror, the closet door slowly opened, out lurched a broom monster. It turned toward me and swept quickly across the floor, grunting hungrily. I backed away, turned and ran. The kitchen suddenly became as large as a house. Broom Monster chased me up stairs and down, past the kitchen table and the closet again and again, all the while wheezing, “Ughnth…ughnth…ughnth!”
Feeling totally panicked, I opened my mouth to scream, but the second the smallest sound came out, I woke up and found myself in bed. Moonlight streamed into the room through a window. Next to me in bed was my big sister, sound asleep, breathing deeply. With each exhalation she made the sound, “Ughnth…ughnth!”
The sheer panic I had felt in that dream was a bench mark for traditional Halloween horror. As I grew older, I found non-traditional goblins can terrorize a person. But not all of these fearful things make us want to scream our lungs out. Some of them just make us feel inadequate; others make us shudder with revulsion.
As a mother with young children, I felt intimated by Super Moms. These mothers crossed the t’s and dotted all the i’s of motherhood despite having a social life and working outside of their home. One day at work while watching a Super Mom sew a costume for one of her children during her break, I wondered if she also made costumes for the guppies in their aquarium.
Back home that evening, I schlumped around the house preparing supper. Between peeling potatoes and opening a can of mushrooms, I gathered up the Halloween artwork my children had made and taped them to the kitchen cabinets. They were all pictures of magic potion jars Niki and Tammie imagined a witch would have. One was labeled, “bat butts” others were labeled, “bee stingers”, “humming bird puke” and “rotten toad.”
When my children grew up and left home, Asian lady beetles saw the vacancy in my house and moved in. Each fall, immediately after they hatched, the stinky beetles squeezed into my house, uninvited. My doors were closed, but posed no problem. They flattened themselves like shape-shifters to travel through the convoluted door and window seals.
Some of the lady beetles were smushed when I used the doors, leaving behind orange stains. The warning odor didn’t deter any of the other migrating lady beetles. They just stepped over the mess and continued on in.
One day, as I stood by the door with my vacuum, sucking up each beetle that emerged from the door-jam maze, my vacuum cleaner began to smell vile. I worried that not all of the beetles died from their trip to the vacuum bag. I pondered to my husband, “What if the survivors crawl out during the night with revenge on their minds?”
All winter long, the beetles crawl over every living space in my house. Sometimes they bite, other times they fall into the food I’m cooking. I hate them, but there wasn’t much I could do to get rid of them. I tried different potions like bay leaves and camphor, but it wasn’t until I discovered sprays made from chrysanthemums that the lady bug situation came under some control.
Asian lady beetles are not the same as the nice little lady bugs I had heard about and occasionally saw during my childhood. Whenever I see jewelry with lady bugs on them, I exclaim, “That is horrible! Why would a person want to wear a necklace, earring or a bracelet with a horrid bug on it?”
My grandchildren laugh and think my lady beetle revulsion is funny. They sometimes draw pictures of them and show me, purely for my reaction. I make a face and say, “Yuck!” For gift giving occasions, I have been given things like a vegetable brush or a timer that look like lady bugs…shudder!
Little did I know when a broom monster, a.k.a. sister, was terrorizing me in my sleep as a child, that there were other dreadful, horrible things in this world.
Love your story & especially your words– schlumped & smushed–my words, too. ASIAN beetles are icky & stinky & do get in everywhere. They do seem to be on the decline, but still around. Thanks for the neat reflection!