I love talking to the old veterans of pest control and hearing their stories of horrific infestations that would make even Stephen King shudder. Roaches so bad that snow shovels were used to scoop them up after the service was done, rats and mice so thick that mattresses housed dozens and went flat once they were eradicated. Chemicals so powerful flies would drop in the neighbors yard the minute they sprits around. Now for some of these old pros it’s hard to know if after 30 years some of their stories weren’t just a little embellished but even if they were every tall tale has always got a little truth in it.
I’ve been around the bug world for about 25 years (where’s the time go? can you believe I’ll be 29 next year? 😉 and I’ve seen some really wild stuff. I’m not sure if this story qualifies as a real horror flick that’ll make you run for the door screaming but it is definitely one of the worst I’ve seen;
Sweat beaded on my forehead on this sweltering day as I patiently stood waiting at the door for the lady who my office said was frantic and needed service right away. It seemed like it took forever and I wondered if this was just gonna be another waste of time with phantom bugs or just exactly what I was in for. When the door finally opened I was greeted by a very large woman who I could tell immediately was blind. We exchanged greetings and she just stood there explaining her dilemma as I baked in the direct sun holding the screen door and tried politely to make my way in. She was a very sweet woman and so glad for some help so I waited but I could tell she was at her wits end. She called me Mr. Jerry and kept saying she just knew the bugs were bad because she could feel them on her arms and legs and even her baby more and more.
“Mr. Jerry, I can’t see but I know they’re here. I’m not a messy person but I can’t see, these roaches are getting the best of me can you please help me?” she said with desperation in her voice.
When we finally started inside I patiently followed behind her as she slowly moved along feeling her way and she frequently stopped to describe her problem. Looking around it didn’t seem to out of hand, there were some roaches on the wall near the archway to the kitchen and a few on the floor of the living room so thinking it wasn’t that bad I kept assuring her she was in good hands. I was struck how a woman who couldn’t see seemed to know a lot of details of the roaches movements and hiding spots which is something that those of us with good vision have trouble doing. When she at last made it to the archway of the kitchen she again stopped to talk. With her hand braced against the wall 3 or 4 roaches were just hanging out past her finger tips but didn’t seem to be bothered at all. It was so unbearably hot in this home and I was now sweating profusely and it didn’t help we were moving at a snails pace just to get to the room with all of the problems. She explained to me how she didn’t have very much money and couldn’t run the air at all. She held off on the pest control she needed because her baby came first and she hoped some store bought chemicals would do the trick but the problem just got worse and worse.
Standing there and conversing wasn’t helping my schedule much but I liked this lady and truly wanted fix her problem and of course anytime there’s a child in need it makes you want to try even harder to help. The longer I stood listening the more movement my eyes would catch and I began to see more and more roaches that were right in front of me the whole time. The carpet was dark brown but now as I acclimated myself it was pretty easy to spot the female german roaches prancing across the shag with their oothecas bulging and ready to bust open with a new wave of filthy baby cockroaches. The archway too had more activity almost as if they heard us talking and they were curious to see the visitor. The heat was getting to her and she had to sit on a nearby couch and dozens of roaches scattered from beneath the cushions as she plunked down. I was beginning to see how bad this place was entrenched and what I took for a overly phobic woman at first I now realized was someone in desperate need. For the first time I wasn’t sure I wanted to go into the kitchen but curiosity was getting the best of me if nothing else. What happened next however changed my inquisitiveness to a raging fire and I had to get in that kitchen and kill every last roach in that house THAT DAY! Almost as if I was Neo, star of the movie Matrix in the scene where he saw his surroundings as they truly were for the first time, this sight opened my eyes and my lovely little client could talk all she wanted but I was going in.