Calling In – A Terryn and Shawn Story

Image by Erik Karits on UNSPLASH.

There’s no way she’s going to believe me, but I should probably call Terryn, and tell her I won’t be at work today.

Yeah, you have bigger problems than that now, buddy, some inner wise-ass says.

I pick up my phone and call work.

“Happy Massage, this Terryn. Would you like to book a massage or facial…”

“Terryn, it’s me, Shawn. I’m afraid I won’t be at work today,” I say.

“Oh, dear. Did my precious angel-wings therapist get another ouchie? What is it now?”

This call is going about as well as I had guessed it might.

What do I say?

“Umm, hello? You called me; what’s going on?”

“There’s a bug,” I start, but I’m unsure how to finish, so I don’t.

“A bug?! Really? That’s why you’re not coming to work today? A bug? I swear to God, Shawn. One of these…”

“It’s in front of the door, Terryn!”

“So? Smoosh it already, you big baby.”

I peer around the end wall separating my sleeping area from the rest of the studio. Yep, just as I suspected. It’s still there, still blocking the only door out of my place.

“Well, there’s a problem with that,” I say. “It’s kind of big.”

For a second, she says nothing. Then I hear her whispering something to the front desk assistants.

“Yeah, it’s kind of big. So what? Man-up and kill the thing already? What is it a spider?”

Another peak around the wall. It still appears to be a cockroach, a sleeping cockroach. I feel so much revulsion every time I look at it; I nearly gag.

“No, it appears to be a cockroach,” I say.

True to form, she seizes upon the opportune words I just uttered.

“‘Appears to be,’ what the hell does that mean? Is it or is it not a cockroach, and why the hell am I still talking to you?”

“Terryn, it’s a BIG cockroach.”

I knew I should have face-timed her for this.

“Ohh. How big is it?” Terryn says, laughing.

I peer around the corner – please be asleep.

“The biggest I’ve ever seen, easily,” I answer.

“So, like the size of a shoe?” she asks. Now she’s fascinated, and the danger of her hanging up has passed at least.

I laugh.

“Not any I’ve ever seen, not even the oversized clown shoes.”

“Hunh, so quite teasing me, how big is it? That’s what she said! Tell me already.”

I steal another peek at it so that I can be accurate as possible.

“Okay, you know how big our tables massage tables are; it’s a little bit bigger than one of those?”

“I swear to God, Shawn! It’s too early in the day to be drinking; get your ass to work you, baby!”

“I knew this was a bad idea. I’m hanging up. I’ll face-time you, then you’ll see.”

I hang up before she can voice some objection.

Stay asleep, hell-bug. Stay asleep, please.

Her image pops up as she answers my video call.

“Well? I don’t see anything,” her voice sounds so loud I fear she will wake it.

“Shhh!” I whisper harshly into the screen as I peek my head around again. It is still asleep.

She says nothing.

“Okay, I’m going to show you this but don’t shout, okay?”

She nods. Behind her, I see that Tobi and Crystal have joined the watch party as well.

I pan my camera around and point it towards the front door.

I hear Crystal scream and Tobi gag.

Perfect! Now it’s awake!

“Fuck, fuck, fucking fuck!” I shout at the phone. You’ve woken it.

Terryn is laughing uncontrollably.

“Dude, you are so fucked. That thing is huge and looks hungry.”

I look again – it’s a slow riser.

I cross my sleeping area, drop to my knees, yank my bedroom window up. I’m on the second floor, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

“I’m going to jump out my window.”

“Seriously fucked, man. In the history of being-fucked, you’re in serious contention for the gold. So who can I transfer your clients to?”

I know she means all of my clients, not just the four I will inconvenience today. I’m about to die, and she’s laughing hysterically, nice.

I pocket the phone, kick the screen out and shimmy out the window just as the giant roach knocks my wall over onto my bed.

No time for half measures. I jump.

The brick wall abrades the hell out of my arm during my fall, and I hear and feel an ugly crunch from my left foot when I hit the ground unevenly.

Looking up, I see a comically huge bug leg protruding from my upstairs windows.

I hobble to my car, let myself in, but before I can close the door, I hear my neighbor Frank.

“Problems?” he asks me as he stares up at my shattered bedroom window.

I start to say something sarcastic. I see Frank notice the bug leg.

“Oh hell. I love living here, but this place has a real problem with roaches!” Frank says before walking away.

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