The other night I went to bed as I normally do, around midnight.

Just as I was drifting off to sleep for the second or third time that night, I heard a soft sound next to my head. Naturally, I jerked awake and jumped out of bed. I take these sorts of things seriously because you never know if it’s a bug or just a dream, and its wise to check it out. You know…just in case. Nine times out of ten it’s just a dream. In fact, every time this has happened to me it was because I was dreaming and I honestly can’t remember if I ever found a bug, though I could swear it has happened. At any rate, obviously this doesn’t stop me from checking…just to be sure.

I have been on red alert, in general, because back in June when I moved into this room, I was sitting in the dark late one night, and watching a movie on my laptop, when I felt a gentle brushing over the top of my foot. Thinking it was a hair, I turned on the light just to be sure, and saw one of the biggest, nastiest cockroaches I had ever seen. It was plump, juicy, and had an excess amount of feet. I was forced to smash it into oblivion with my favorite red flip-flop so I could regain my sense of security.

This night was no different. I jumped out of bed, turned on all the lights, and carefully inspected my entire bed and the surrounding area. I saw nothing. I did another brief check in case I missed anything, and still, I saw nothing. Well, OK then. Must have just been a dream.

I made my way to the bathroom, still bleary and only half awake. Might as well go since I’m up anyway, I thought.

Just as I finished, and had dragged myself up from the toilet seat, out of the corner of my eye I noticed something brown on my shirt. I shrieked and jumped, my leg tingling and burning with pain. I glanced again but there was nothing there.

I looked. Nothing.

I looked again. Nothing.

I looked all around the bathroom. Nothing.

My entire leg was tingling up and down a sensation much like ants crawling all over, so I checked it out too.

Still nothing.

Musta been imagining it, I thought. I’m just freaking myself out now. I gotta settle down and go back to sleep. This is ridiculous.

Then I glanced behind me.

There, on my favorite towel, was an enormous cockroach. Easily two and a half inches long if not three. Significantly longer than the one I had seen in June. I screamed like the girl that I am, jumped back, and nearly fell over the toilet. OH GOD! SHIT! Shit! I slammed the door shut. No way was this fucker going to get away from me this time. I knew I’d seen him before. Ohhh yes.

We were old friends.

A month ago. That’s when it started.

I had come home late one night, and saw him hanging out on my closet door. Hanging out, feelers waving, legs wriggling, as if he was at some kind of house party that he had crashed. I wasn’t about to let him crash my party.  I went to smash him straight to hell but he took a flying leap into my closet and disappeared while I shrieked like, you guessed it, a girl.  I had hoped he flew in there to die. I knew I had clipped him.

BUT NO. Oh no. Here he was again. Creeping around my room as if it were his own playground. As he had been creeping around for the past month. I knew it! I simply knew it was too good to be true. No doubt this little demon spawn from hell had been crawling all over me every night for the past month, just  like he did tonight. I know he has been. I know it. God. I still feel sick just thinking about it.

Having no other weapons at my disposal, I grabbed a bottle of Clorox and started spraying him and my towel. And that is when he flew. Did I forget to mention that cockroaches can fly in Taiwan? He flew, straight behind my bathroom mirror but I knew I had him. There was nowhere else he could go. No corner he could hide in, no hole he could crawl in. Not this time.

I took the bottle of Clorox and sprayed behind the mirror with all the strength and fierceness the spritzer would let me. He came bounding out of there looking confused and disoriented. Crawling all over the wall, stumbling around like a crazy drunk. I knew I had poisoned him but that wasn’t enough. Glancing wildly around, my eyes fell on a big jar of lotion. I grabbed it up like it was a gun and smashed the shit out of him.

Roach guts spurted out on all sides. Feelers and bits of leg stuck to the bottom of the jar. But I got him. I got him!

The danger having passed, I wiped down the bottle, wiped down the wall, and threw him straight into hell.  Ok, ok. I threw him in the trash. Its hell for dead roaches though, I’m sure.

It took me a while to steady my nerves I’m not gonna lie. There is no doubt in my mind that he was ON me that night. Crawling over me as I lay vulnerable, sleeping the sleep of the innocent.  For that and for causing me agony, as if I haven’t already suffered enough, he deserved to die. In the war of humans against cockroaches there can be no prisoners of war. No ransoms will be sent, no hostages will be released. Death.

It is the only way.

The war is on, so today I bought Raid. I sprayed down my whole apartment after I got off of work. Stepped out when the fumes started to make me feel light-headed. When I came back in I saw the other smaller cockroach I knew was creeping around running around disoriented, drugged, poisoned. Running in and out of my shoes as if that would save him. I killed him too. I knew he was there. I saw him last weekend. In the dead of night. Why, oh why does this always happen in the dead of night? He got away from me too.

Not this time.

This time he died. His carcass is sitting in my trash now, where it belongs.

I had to escape the fumes because they were getting to be too much. When I return tonight, I’m telling you now, I had better not find anymore.

If I do, they better be dead because I can’t take this sort of nightmare shit anymore.

So here are the take-away lessons if you live in Taiwan:

The spiders are as big as your face and they will kill you.

The roaches can get to be as big as three inches easily. No exaggeration necessary.  They fly.

If you think that thing that just landed in your hair isn’t a cockroach, think twice.

I don’t care how rich you are, or how nice your place is, you have cockroaches. Count on it. It’s only a matter of time before they crawl all over your vulnerable unprotected body as you sleep. Guard yourself.

Even the caterpillars aren’t safe. Many of them are poisonous and if they bite you, the bite will swell like a bee sting. If you’re allergic you’re in danger.

There are rats everywhere. There’s one that lives in the alley outside my window, but as long as he stays in the alley and makes no threatening moves we can be friends.

Taiwan’s a great place to live, but oh god. The insect life. Why does it have to be so big?