This post is totally creeping me out right now, you guys.  Day 21 of the March Challenge asks what my biggest fear is, and I have to tell you that before I started writing, I shivered a little knowing my subject matter.  Then I did a tiny itty bitty bit of research so that I could show you a picture and tell my story accurately, and I learned something tonight that has forever scarred me.

Ugh.

I don't know if I can continue.

Really.

I have to keep taking my fingers off the keyboard and fling my hands back and forth to rid my body of pent up creepiness.  This is not good.

I may as well plunge in and get it over with.  Hopefully, I'll be able to sleep tonight.

....

Oh, I can't do it!

....

Okay, I'm afraid of crickets.

There, I said it.  Had to stop and shake my hands.

You see, when I was in high school, my bedroom was in the basement.  The basement was finished, but when it rained, the carpet got damp.  The basement had crickets.  Not lots of them, but some.  Enough.  Too many!

They scared me because if I tried to step on them while wearing my school uniform, they would jump and there was always the potential that they might jump inside my skirt and be trapped closer to me.  That thought freaked me out.  Then there was the fact that crickets jump really, really high when they're scared.  Did you know that?  There is no way to predict the trajectory or height of their leap, and so there is no way to protect yourself when you don't know where they're headed next.

I used to beg my brother not to stomp at crickets when I was in the same room.

He never listened.

One Saturday

Sorry, had to stop and shake my hands.

One Saturday morning, I was sleeping peacefully on my pillow, when an unusually harsh chirping very close by nudged me out of deep sleep.  I wasn't all the way awake, but I wasn't all the way asleep anymore either.  My brain registered some strange movements on my face, and that combined with the different-than-normal chirp right at my ear drum brought me fully awake.

Oh, you guys, I can't do this!

It was terrible.  That realization that there was a cricket and possibly even TWO crickets ON MY FACE terrified me.  I couldn't even scream because they were right by my mouth.  I couldn't see them clearly, only a black blur from the slits I had allowed my eyes to open to.  I felt a strange zinging sensation in my upper lip about two centimeters to the left of center.  To this day, I cannot exactly describe it.  It was almost like a cold burning. 

I sat straight up in bed as soon as this processed in my brain.  One cricket fell or jumped away immediately, but the other stayed dangling from my lip, its four legs kicking wildly like it was stuck and couldn't get away.  Something physically snapped inside my brain.  I could feel it happen -- all that pressure building inside my head.  I started slapping crazily sideways at the cricket trying hard not to smash it into my mouth.  It just kept dangling and scrambling, swinging when I connected with it.
Cricket drawing by R.E. Snodgrass from Wikimedia in the public domain

Then along with the four distinct cold legs moving on my lips, I also felt a movement beneath the skin of my upper lip, as strange burning/numbing/tingling sensation spread in a small circle, and the cricket fell away and casually (I promise you!) casually walk-hopped off my bed.  I watched carefully as it departed, and I realized that long stick protruding from the back of its body must have been what I felt inserted into the skin on my lip.

With my mouth closed and still sitting straight up in bed, I screamed and screamed and screamed.  MMMMMM!!!!!   MMMMMMM!!!!!  MMMMMMM!!!!!!  I kicked my blankets violently off, stood on my bed and shook the pillow, the blankets, bent over and stripped the sheet off all while standing on my bed and screaming with my mouth closed.  My head pounded from the stress.  I kept checking the walls and the ceiling above and behind me for crickets trying to ambush me.  I watched the floor in case one wanted to jump back up on my bed, but my two bedmates had completely disappeared during my fit.

Finally, I jumped from the bed and ran with long leaping steps in order to minimize my contact with the floor out of the room and up the stairs to the kitchen where my family were all in the process of making or waiting for breakfast.  My lip still felt strange.  It didn't exactly sting, and it wasn't exactly numb.  It was a combination of those things plus something else I couldn't identify.  I was afraid to open my mouth, but when I finally did to tell my mom and brother what had happened, my words were all jumbled and my voice wouldn't stay in a regular pitch.

Of course, they thought I had just dreamed it all, but I had not.  I promise you every single little bit of this story is NOT a dream.  NOT made up.  NOT exaggerated.  Nothing!  It is the 100% truth, and I hate every bit of it.

I pointed to the spot on my lip that felt strange, and they examined it closely.  Nate and my mom thought maybe there might be a tiny hole, but they couldn't really tell.  My face was all red.  Well, yeah!  I checked the bathroom mirror and could not see anything unusual about my lip, but it definitely felt strange.  Unidentifiably so.

When I finally calmed down enough to tell the story completely, they still seemed unmoved.  Well, not exactly unmoved, my mom's lips kept twitching in smothered amusement and my brother started teasing me.  I was not in the mood.

And speaking of in the mood, I firmly believed that male cricket had been having sex with my lip.  Up until tonight for the past twenty years, I have believed that.  But tonight, I did a tiny bit of research like I mentioned in the beginning.  It turns out that long stick protruding from the back of that cricket is only located on a girl.  And it is called an OVIPOSITOR.

Now, I am not a student of bugs.  Nor am I a scholar of Latin or Greek or whatever language bugs' body parts are named in.  However, I recognize roots of words and prefixes and suffixes when I see them, so the designation ovipositor bothered me quite a bit.  I didn't really want to know, but I checked anyway.  I was right.

That mama cricket was inserting her baby eggs into my lip.

I'm not joking.

I wish I was.

Oh, I hate this story!

I hope Jeremy will massage all the stress out of my muscles when I go to bed tonight, or I'm going to be incredibly stiff in the morning.

And now you know my biggest fear.
3 Responses
  1. Angie Hales Says:

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!

    I can't take my hand from my mouth; typing one handed!!!! My fear is of bugs too but never had an incident this "intimate"!!!

    (Hubby has read and laughed)

    Ok, a little relaxed now. I DID NOT need to know that could happen. You have deepened my fear of bugs! You are too good a story teller.



  2. The family Z Says:

    Missy, this has to be the most creepy story I have ever heard! I'm not particularly afraid of crickets, but man, you have every right to be as psychotic as you want!

    I once drank an earwig bug. It had crawled into my water bottle and I felt it in my mouth but thought it was lemon flesh (it was lemon-flavored water) but decided to spit it out at the last minute. It probably would have been better to just swallow and continue thinking it was lemon, because I was totally grossed out!


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