First, a little background on me:
I was born and raised in the lovely desert state of Arizona, and have spent most of my life here – about 40 of the 41 years I’ve been alive. I’ve spent most of that time in the Phoenix metro area, living in the east valley a good portion of that, and traveling all over the state. Yes, that includes down to Tucson a few times.
I moved to Tucson about two months ago. In the first two weeks, I found a scorpion in my bathroom. I screamed and ran into the kitchen. Kitty went into the bathroom and killed the scorpion, which we discovered had been maimed by Sam the cat. Go Sam! You are my kitty hero.
Just for the record, I’ve never seen a scorpion in anyone’s house…EVER.
No, I don’t have a picture of the scorpion. Why? Because that’s how frightened I am of them! I’m not thinking about taking a picture. I’m running away from the damn thing. The picture thought comes afterward, when it’s been smashed to smithereens and flushed down the toilet. I think, “Shit, I should’ve taken a picture of it.” Then I remember how close I have to be for that to happen. Yeah, so not happening. I won’t even tell you how many hours were spent in attempt to figure out how the blasted creature got in the house in some logical explanation so I could feel safe in my own bed…ENTIRELY TOO MANY!
I did just recently torture myself to find this online so you have an idea of what said scorpion looked like. This:
But more like this:
It was skinny like the second picture, but a bit more orange like the first picture. I’ve seen them before… Out. In. The. Desert! That second one is the Arizona Bark Scorpion.
Now, while all of this is going on, I’ve been killing wolf spiders for Kitty from the moment I arrived because that’s her irrational fear. It is so much so that I’m not even going to put up a photo of the wolf spider because I know she’s going to read my blog and that will freak her out (don’t click on the link, Kitty). See, I’m a good friend like that.
Moving on to current events…
Last week, I was on the phone with our friend and almost neighbor (because she lives so close) Pauline (@aspiringmama). While I was on the phone with her, I stepped outside for a smoke or two or three. Due to the recent beetle-apocalypse, I decided to turn off the porch light so beetles wouldn’t try to cover the door and walls around the door. It’s mating season for the beetles, or whatever they are, and Kitty and I have both killed several of them during their *ahem* time. No, we don’t feel remorse.
That picture doesn’t even begin to show you how many there were, but it was a difficult shot because of this…
That’s the sidewalk below the wall of the other photo. I had to step on a few to get that wall shot, which meant they could climb up my feet and legs. *shudders*
And then there was this guy around the corner…
THAT, my friends, is a four-inch long Palo Verde beetle. That’s right, I said FOUR INCHES! You know what else? Their shell is like armor. I’m not kidding. You can’t just step on this bastard and have him squish beneath your shoe. Oh no, no, no. A tennis shoe or sneakers won’t do the trick with this guy. Neither will my shoe of choice, the flip-flop. You need boots for this SOB. Thick, heavy boots. And then you have to stomp really hard and repeatedly while listening to his armor-like shell crack…LOUDLY. The nice thing about this bad boy is the fact that he doesn’t fly very well. That’s right, he has wings, but watching him flutter about makes him much less scary…until he wanders in your direction, in which you scream like I did and jump out of the way. His flying skills are severely lacking and I have to wonder what the point of the wings were if he can only lift himself a couple of feet in the air before falling (yes, falling) back to the ground and landing on his back. Every time he lands, it sounds like you slapped a bamboo stick against the concrete, his shell is that hard.
Now, back to my conversation with Pauline…
We were on the phone talking, I had the porch light off to dissuade the beetles, and I was smoking. Once in a while, I’d stomp on a beetle or two, or sweep them off the sidewalk with my flip-flop. At one point, I looked down and saw what looked to be a stick. It’s been windy as hell lately, so I didn’t think anything of it and tried to sweep it off the sidewalk with my shoe. That’s when it moved! IT MOVED! I yelped and said, “What the fuck was that?” into the phone. Of course, Pauline couldn’t see what I was talking about, so I told her what just happened. She’s not from Arizona so she had no clue, especially without seeing it. I turned on the porch light in case the little stick-like bastard decided to show itself again so I can identify my damn attacker because let me tell you, people, it was sitting within a freakin’ INCH of my foot before I’d decided to sweep it off the sidewalk! When I finally went inside, I told the kitty about it. Her eyes went wide and she asked, “You’re wearing your shoes when you go out there, right?” My brow arched as I answered, “Of course I’m wearing shoes, especially after seeing a damn scorpion out there!” (that was the second scorpion, btw, about two or three weeks after seeing the first one). Then she proceeds to tell me it could have been a centipede, and I’m all, “WHAT?!” I have to tell you all that in my 40 years of living in this state, I have NEVER seen a centipede in person and certainly not an inch from my foot. Where the fuck have I moved to, people? It’s like wild desert animal fucking kingdom out here!
So…a week goes by and I don’t see the stick-like creature again…until last night. That fucker crawled right up over the edge of the concrete and headed for me. Luckily, I am much more aware of my surroundings lately and my eyes picked him up quickly. I jumped back, he curved around and headed back to the rocks. That’s when I took this…
Yep, you betcha, that’s a goddamn centipede! Excuse me while I string enough swear words together to tie up a freakin’ calf because these guys are WORSE than scorpions! I sent that picture to Twitter with “WTF is this?!” Responses were all the same – centipede. My favorite response was from @zombot: Looks like a bunch of rocks with a centipede on it. Smartass! The centipede came up onto the concrete once more, then quickly went back to the rocks. Kitty came out with her Raid can, sprayed the entire rock area I saw him in, nearly choking me in the process as I accidentally inhaled the mist due to the wind (great, I’m gonna die now), and we both went inside. Let me know if I start twitching. It should look something like thisssssssssss sss ssssss sssss.
Before Kitty went to bed, she went back out with her new can of Raid (we drained the old one) and sprayed once more for me. Before I went to bed, I decided one last smoke was in order so I could work a few things out in my head regarding my werewolf book, so out I went. I think I was outside maybe five minutes when that little multi-legged fucker who should’ve been D-E-A-D due to the amount of poison sprayed around him came up over the lip of the concrete. Luckily, I didn’t have a smoke lit at the time, so I reached inside, grabbed the Raid, and commenced firing on him. This can shot a nice long stream of oh-yes-I-will-kill-you-from-a-distance and he tried to run away…oh, he tried…but I just kept hitting him with the poisonous stream of neurotoxin. Finally, he crawled down in the crack between cement slabs and stopped moving altogether. I was victorious! YAY! I killed my oppressor, slayed the dragon…er, drowned the centipede in Raid.
I really don’t want to know what the next adventure in desert dwelling insects is going to be, but I’m praying it’s not an encounter with one of the larger wolf spiders Kitty’s told me about. I’m not sure I could save her from one that big. While I’m not really afraid of spiders, BIG ones scare the bejeezus out of me. I might pull out my 30/30 for that and end up with a hole in the wall.
When I looked outside this morning, the centipede was gone. I texted Kitty and she told me it was probably just some scavenger bugs who carried him off. Well, I certainly don’t think he walked off all by his lonesome, but I’m hoping a bird didn’t pick him up and would sense/smell the poison. If it was scavenger bugs, good riddance because he was covered in enough poison to take out a small colony.
Oh, and did I mention I had a dream and at the very end of said dream, there was a goddamn scorpion in it? Yeah. I hate this state.
UPDATE: And tonight, after posting this blog, we found a wolf spider the size of a silver dollar, luckily outside, but still! Someone call the moving company and help me find a job in Tennessee. I’m so done with this state!