I hate my neighbour. His name is Colin, he has a stupid little face, beady eyes and he’s always hanging around the corridors near my apartment. It’s not really fair to hate him. I’ve never actually spoken to him. Colin, for all I know, might not even be his name. But he is dirty, anti-social and I think he’s got about 10 children living in a one-bedroom apartment on my floor. Perhaps it’s not his fault. Colin is, you see, a cockroach. A filthy, dirt-eating cockroach.
I hate him because, well because he is a cockroach and I think that is reason enough, don’t you? We first met a month ago when I returned from holiday. I was trying to drag a suitcase full of mouldy French cheese up the stairs to my apartment. He was trying to push a potato chip under the garbage room door.
You probably don’t think it’s possible for a cockroach to give a condescending look. I admit, when you have the face the size of a pea, it is very difficult to convey much emotion. I have colleagues with the same problem. But I could tell by the way Colin’s antennae waved dismissively at me as he scurried away that we would never be friends.
‘Hey! We’re not so different you know,’ I called after him.
‘You stay down here and I’ll stay up at my place and we don’t have to have any trouble, OK? Just don’t think you’re coming into my home any night soon!’
Which is when I saw my neighbour desperately pushing her children into apartment 2B.
Now I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to explain to somebody that you talk to cockroaches, but I can tell you it is not easy. Especially when shouting through a locked and bolted door.
If 2B’s kids didn’t drop potato chips on the floor this would never have happened in the first place. Colin and I have faced off half a dozen times since and I can’t help but think he is getting the better of me. He is slowly beginning to encroach on my territory. Obviously he is not a big fellow, only about the same size as my big toe. I know because he brushed past it last night as I took out the trash.
It was the single most terrifying experience of my life. Scarier than getting mugged and creepier even than the time I was forced to attend a Michael Bolton concert. If I wasn’t barefoot I could have just stomped him. But I hadn’t thought to wear hobnail boots to drop my rubbish in the chute. To be fair to myself I think Colin was just as scared. With him taking refuge underneath an empty hi-fi box and me half-dressed and sprinting down the corridor screaming, ‘He touched my foot, he touched my foot, he touched my foot, only one thing is for sure: the lady I passed from 2B was more scared than us both.