Last summer I spent a month in Montana on a cattle ranch. It was everything you could imagine it would be— unbelievably stunning vistas… long rides on beautiful horses into various sunsets… late afternoon thunderstorms that teased the wild grass into living poetry… homecooked bread (made from scratch!) brought to an outdoor picnic while we worked the cattle… Oh, and the Killer Moth from Hades That Nearly Ate Me. Yes. We mustn’t forget him.
It all started when I began cooking my items for the fourth of July. That’s when things went sour. No, no… not my cooking. For once I actually managed to make something edible. After all, I was staying with my boyfriend’s parents, WITHOUT THE BOYFRIEND (he had to return home), and I was doing my darndest to set my best, domestic foot forward (remind me to tell the stories of how THOROUGHLY I screwed up the first few meetings with his parents.) So, there I was, the picture of serene domesticity in my little apron, politely waiting for a batch of cookies to finish cooking. While the scent of my handiwork began to fill the kitchen I realized that I had to, uh… you know…. Visit the little ladies’ room. So, you know. I went. While, uh…. I was.. uh.. powdering my nose… I was doing what I always do: reading.
Before making the journey to the ranch I had grabbed a couple of books from the boyfriend’s parents house to entertain me during my stay. The book I was currently reading was very good, but not exactly soothing. Don’t ask me why, but when going through their well-stocked bookcase I had decided that the first thing I needed to read was a psychoanalysis of serial rapists written by an FBI profiler. Surprisingly, it really was a great book. Thoroughly interesting as well as informative, it was also disturbingly creepy with its entire excerpts of word-for-word statements made the criminals regarding their crimes, and even some very raw photographs. It’s one thing to read a murder mystery. It’s an entirely different thing to read about crimes that have actually happened, from the twisted perspective of the sick individual who did them. Again, not the best choice.
Oh, and before I continue, did I mention how eerily silent it was in this house? Now, please understand that I’m a little more sensitive to silence than most people. I grew up in Orange County. The only silence we get around here is the lull between traffic lights, when not as many cars are speeding by. Of course, being outdoors in Montana is anything but silent, with the calls of various birds and insects, and the soft sounds of the wind. It’s really quite peaceful. Being INSIDE a house in Montana, however, is disturbingly quiet. Montanans insulate their houses, so even if there WAS any outside noise that was thinking of slipping through the walls, it wouldn’t be able to. The fan in this particular house refused to turn on, the radio was broken, and I couldn’t get the television to work. I couldn’t even open a window to relieve the dull roar of quietness, because clouds of mosquitoes the size of small sparrows were hovering just outside the non-screened windows, wailing like tomcats for me to let them in. Montana mosquitoes are disgustingly large and are unbelievably vicious. They actually bit me THROUGH layers of clothing, completely ignoring the insect repellent I would bathe in before going outside. They aren’t normal mosquitoes… they’re, like, the east L.A. version of mosquitoes. They hang out in little hoodlum groups, and are big enough to have facial expressions. I think I even saw one pull a knife on me once.
But anyways, there you are. Every single window and door in this house was sealed shut against the amorous advances of the Montana mosquitoes, and I couldn’t find a single thing to relieve the screaming silence. So there I was, in my muffled tomb of a house, reading my book on serial rapists. Since it was creeping me out, I switched it for a nearby paperback to calm my heart. The paperback turned out to be a nice little murder mystery, in which a lovely little family gets burned to death in a house bombing right in the first chapter. The author was very good at using all his little adjectives to effectively describe the flaming horror. Oh, yay. How calming. Then, the icing on the cake: About that time THE WORLD’S LOUDEST MOTH decided to start ramming itself into the ceilings out in the living room/kitchen. Of course, I didn’t know it was a moth at the time. All I knew was that something that was large, solid, and sounded vaguely like a small helicopter was crashing around in the kitchen. Being the courageous person that I am, I immediately left the powder room, found the offending creature, and bravely confronted it!
What I did do was close the bathroom door all the way, lock it, and put a towel by the crack so that none of the noise could seep through. I confess: I left the cookies to deal with whatever was destroying the kitchen. Yes, I know. I’m a coward. But you would be, too, if you’d read what I had just read! After about ten minutes of hiding out, I decided I had to leave my sanctuary and get the cookies out of the oven, or risk burning the house down. I crept out, very slowly, and… Hey! No more mini-helicopter bashing around the kitchen! Cool! I walked into the kitchen and took out the cookies, set them on the oven, and took two steps backward to grab a spatula…. And stepped firmly on a very large moth with my bare feet. It was a very large moth. My feet were very bare. Bare feet + warm, wiggly insect + book of serial killers + silent household in the middle of nowhere= Bad, bad, bad things. Yes, I squealed. Yes, I danced around, flapping my hands like a ninny. Yes, I hopped on one foot into the bathroom to wash off my foot in an attempt to remove the feeling (it didn’t work.) When I finally tiptoed back into the kitchen, it got worse. The moth was still there on the ground, looking… well, squished. ALL EXCEPT FOR ONE STUPID LITTLE LEG WHICH IT WAS WAVING SLOWLY IN A VERY OBVIOUS, VERY ACCUSATORY MANNER.. I’m not sure what the meaning of that one, waving leg was. Maybe the moth was begging for me to end his suffering. Maybe it was flipping me off in mothie-fashion. Maybe it was conducting a little symphony orchestra in its head. Like I said, I don’t know. But I did know what I had to do. Like any brave, mature young woman living in the new millennium, I did the only thing one can do in a situation like that. I called my boyfriend. The conversation went kind of as follows:
Jeff (sounding pleasantly affectionate): Hi, Pumpkin!
Me (whining and panicky): Jeeeeeefffffff!
Jeff (sounding concerned): Honey, what’s wrong?
Me (sounding psychotic in a high-pitched voice): I was going pee and there was this book and its all about serial killers and how they do it and all of the stuff that they use to do it and why they do it and then there was this other book with a family and they burned to death and I didn’t mean to read them but I couldn’t help it and then this moth and now it’s waving at me and your dad’s not here and I can’t get it out of here because the book has me too creeped out but I have to because it’s waving!
Jeff (after a confused pause): What?
Well, to cut the story short, Jeff helped me through the incredibly inhumane process of taking a napkin and throwing the moth outside. Yes, I realize I should have stepped on it again in order to put it out of its misery. But number one, the stupid moth shouldn’t have been laying on the ground, and number two, there’s a limit to what a human can endure.