Dragon's Breath Magazine, September '91

Lord of the Cockroaches, by Michal Todorovic
After waking to music blaring from my radio alarm clock, a feeling swept over me that my life was about to be changed forever. No longer would it be lonely and meaningless. Expecting nothing less than a dozen beautiful, scantily dressed belly dancers prancing about in my bedroom, I opened my eyes, sat up in bed and looked around me. My expectations were cruelly crushed as a huge, ugly, hairy and diseased cockroach crawled across the carpet, leaving behind him a trail of slime. Totally disgusted at the thought of killing it with my bare hands, I slowly reached for a newspaper from the night stand. I then dived at the cockroach. The cockroach, sensing danger from my brilliantly executed attack, changed direction and crawled for the garbage can. I landed in a crouch, and flung myself between the garbage and the bug. The cockroach dove for the sink, landed in a pot full of six month old lasagna, then tunnelled its way out of sight. My strategy was obviously lacking. The cockroach was far too cunning to be trapped by a mere newspaper attack; much more powerful artillery was necessary.
     I pulled from a drawer my .22 caliber CO2 Crossman air gun. I then turned on the faucet to flood the pot. To avoid drowning, the cockroach would have to flee the pot. At that point, I planned to shoot its head off. Feeling that the kill was imminent, I snickered, chortled, and choked. The realization came over me that I didn't know how to chortle. After my choking subsided, I waited to ambush the cockroach.
     My first shot went wild as the cockroach burst out of the sink yelling, "I think, therefore I am!" It began to run away. I gave chase, not wishing to have any yelling cockroaches in my home, and fired two more pellets at the bug. The second pellet found its mark; it knocked the cockroach across the room. As it lied still, I felt sorry for it; such a courageous opponent should not have died such an unworthy death. As if the gods themselves had overheard my thoughts, it opened up its eyes and looked at me accusingly. The cockroach then began chasing me. Terrified, I ran through the hallway, and lunged for the front door. Suddenly the realization came over me that I ran away from a cockroach. I swung around, blasted at the bug the three remaining pellets in my clip, quickly reloaded, and fired another six rounds. The cockroach, acknowledging my superior firepower, turned, and crawled for the bathroom. I chased after him with yet another new clip in the gun while my lungs spewed Indian war cries. The bug somehow eluded my expert firing with deft maneuvers, and dove into a crack near the toilet. I plastered up the crack, happy with the victory just snatched away from the bad breath of defeat.
     After deciding the lasagna caused the cockroach's strange behavior, I sent some to a notable biological engineer who did research for the University of California at Santa Barbara. He was never seen from again. Some newspapers printed reports of a bird-man flying around and looking into the windows of the women's dormitories on the UCSB campus. Others reported that hundreds of pigeons were found around the UCSB campus with their entrails eaten out. These events were dismissed as some kind of fraternity practical joke.
     The cockroaches soon totally infested my apartment. The only form of pest control I could afford was to shoot the little buggers with pellets from my air gun. There were more than one species of cockroach. The species had no fundamental differences between them: they all splattered the same way when shot. The creatures had learned English, and their conversations revealed that they felt I was a god. They believed the pellets constantly fired upon them were bolts of judgment from their cockroach heaven. Some organizations claimed anyone shot was a sinner. These organizations forced the masses to do what they wanted by threatening the dissidents with eternal damnation in their cockroach hell. On the other end of the scale a different organization maintained not only that I was not a god, but did not exist. These schools of thought constantly battled; they not only fought each other, but amongst themselves because each held a different view on how I should, or should not, be. What irritated me was that no one had come over and asked me if I existed, and if so, whether I considered myself a god. Not only was my existence in question, but my very godhood; it would have been only courteous to allow me in the discussion.
     All you people out there are probably thinking I was on some kind of incredible ego trip because someone considered me a god. This was not a unique occurrence. People always ask me, "Who the hell are you, Jesus Christ?" I point out the mistake in identity, and let the people's hopes down gently. I am a great being, but not yet on His level. I advise the people to come back in a few years, and then they can worship me as they rightly should.
     Over the holidays a few of my friends took me to their cabin in the mountains. Despite myself, I began to miss the cockroaches and all the stupid things they did. After understanding that my apartment held the first known intelligent non-humans, I discovered the insidious plots against my life. People were out to get me for my cockroaches. Even my friends were in on it, for they looked at me strangely when the conversation turned to cockroaches. They could not prevent my escape home.
     My anticipation reached a peak on approaching the apartment. I pulled out my old trusty air gun, took it off safety, cocked it, and proceeded to make a paramilitary assault against any intruders in the apartment. I felt the presence of beings in there. Beings waiting for me. Beings eager to blow my head off if given the chance. They probably weren't very friendly either.
     I prowled up to the apartment door, like James Bond, the super spy behind enemy lines. As my adrenalin peaked, I kicked in the door, ready for almost anything. But not for what greeted me inside. I screamed in utter agony. Large quantities of smoke billowed passed me. I closed my eyes and tried praying to myself, but it didn't go away! I moaned to the heavens and went to meet destiny in the apartment.
     The cockroaches had developed a sophisticated civilization. They turned on all the water faucets to full blast to run water through turbines which produced electricity. As a result, the sinks flooded over. The cockroaches used the newly formed lakes and rivers in a variety of ways. A sophisticated boating system developed; they went to and from many places by using the water. There was a flurry of activity as the cockroaches went back and forth. They seemingly had a lot to do, but all they did was go back and forth. On the oceans bigger ships carried things around for no apparent reason.
     Wherever the apartment remained dry, the cockroaches burned the carpet as a source of fuel for the factories. The factories produced many objects, and these objects seemed quite important to the cockroaches. Their use was not immediately apparent, but there must have been many major applications because the cockroaches devoted a great deal of energy to building them. The cockroaches knocked huge holes in the walls where any walls remained. Several places where I distinctly remember seeing walls were empty. This was due to no imagination on my part. All the walls around the bathroom were gone.
     I stared at the wanton destruction to my home, closed my eyes, and looked at it some more. My anger rose. Two choices on my next plan of action were before me. The first was to go on a rampage, kill every one of the little menaces, stamp out their society, and totally destroy any evidence of their existence for my lost two hundred dollar deposit. The second was to observe them, write a paper on them and win a Nobel prize or something. Or there was revenge. My eyes grew wide. Revenge. What a pretty word. I could say it all day. I tried to come up with a way to have both the revenge and the Nobel prize. I would only kill a few of them. With my trusty air gun. I sniggered, then almost chortled, stopping myself in time because I can't chortle. I opened fire on the table, and screeched my maniacal laugh while sending hundreds of cockroaches to their deaths. A structure fell, crushing several helpless victims. After climaxing as several hundred cockroaches died in a fire, I calmed down, went to my bed and slept happily.
     Later that week I began an in-depth study of the cockroach world. They organized together into groups according to race, and these groups defended pieces of property, like the garbage can and the toilet, with their lives. The white cockroaches inhabited the bathroom, which seemed to be the most prosperous area due to the constant partying. At least the ones who controlled the factories had a good time, but for the rest a different way of life prevailed. They were in a state of helplessness. Some couldn't even keep theirlittle baby cockroaches fed. I felt badly about this, but not badly enough to give them any of my hard earned food. The factories were located inside the toilet, and by flushing the toilet they produced hydroelectric power.
     Most of the cockroaches were located to the East of the bathroom. One little group of blue cockroaches was worse off than the others. No one bought the useless objects, so no one made them, and everyone became unhappy. The red cockroaches practiced a strange custom of voting with only one candidate on the ballot. When elected he proceeded to execute and torture all those whom he did not like. The reds wore little fur lined caps because they were next to the open refrigerator and freezer.
      The apartment's general economic condition took a turn for the worse. To aggravate the situation, the toilet in the white land flooded and destroyed most of the factories. Everyone ran around scared, and some of the big fat whites jumped from the top of the toilet seat, splattering their bodies against the floor, making a big mess which no one seemed to want to clean up. All the water in the toilet then disappeared. Despite the valiant efforts of the whites, the water did not return, and all the crops died. The entire fabric of the white civilization had come apart, and no one could do a thing about it. This catastrophe became known as "The Great Flushing," and caused an economic collapse in the rest of the apartment.
      The economic collapse devastated my spirit, so I decide to bake a cake. Unfortunately my cake did not even remotely resemble the picture in the recipe book. Disgusted, I threw it on the floor. A skinny cockroach with a Charlie Chaplin mustache saw me do this. He dove for the cake. After he finished eating, it seemed his actions were a little hasty for he made choking sounds. The whiskers on Charlie's face trembled. His body shivered. He looked extremely worried that he wouldn't be able to keep his new found meal, so he contorted his mouth trying to keep it in. He shook all over, his eyes glazed, and he foamed at the mouth. His shaking deteriorated into a cataclysm of rolling on the ground which closely resembled human break dancing. The cataclysm climaxed, then, as quickly as it had come, it passed. Charlie's eyes gleamed insanely. He vaulted up on a pedestal, and made a speech which is recorded here.
     "Cockroaches of the Blue Land, I know how to solve the problems of our time!" Charlie began. Most of his fellow cockroaches just looked at him strangely, for they had witnessed his cataclysm, but Charlie continued undaunted. "I know the ones who have caused our present difficulties." A few blues began to listen to him, and they too developed an insane gleam in their eyes. "Elements in our society exist," Charlie said, "which corrupt the very fabric of our lives and profit from our misery! They are all evil down to the core. They are responsible for the starving of our children, and halting the production of the objects you love. Their insidious plot has hurt every sector of not only our country, but of the entire apartment!" The developing crowd gasped at this news; they wanted to find the ones responsible and execute them all. Charlie continued, "They are strong now because they are not known. Once we expose their activities to the apartment, we will punish them. But they are everywhere! Even amongst you I see them." Everyone in the crowd looked at each other, trying to find the ones responsible for the catastrophes in the apartment. "I will reveal them to you now. They... are... the ..." he paused now, for the dramatic effect, then said the final word, "greens!"
     All the greens in the crowd looked up wide eyed, realizing their imminent visit to the cockroach heaven might be hurried because of their present situation. The other cockroaches stared at the greens, waiting for Charlie to set a precedent. And he did. Charlie jumped into the crowd, and mashed one of the greens with a club. Everyone in the crowd followed suit. Charlie then began a march; increasingly cockroaches followed him. As they walked, they killed any greens they came upon. They then came to the Blue Parliament Building.
     Charlie walked up to the Blue leader, and whispered in his ear, "If you don't give me command of this country, my followers will cut you up into little pieces, and I'll take it anyway." The Blue Leader stepped down. The crowd cheered. Everyone walked by Charlie and said "Hi Charlie," to him. They got some kind of thrill out of this, and said, "Hi Charlie," to anyone who passed, whether their name was Charlie or not. Charlie started production of the useless objects, but among them he kept some for himself. Weapons.
     Charlie then began speaking again. "See the happiness we have brought upon our society? Now we must bring it upon the rest of the apartment!" He used his armies to invade all the bordering countries. The Cockroach War began.
     The war machine of the blues came out from the table, spreading like vermin, along with their allies to the East, the yellows. Fearless cockroaches fought to try to stop the onslaught, dying for the Salt and Pepper Shaker, the Cereal Bowl, and the Garbage Can. Charlie laughed in delight as he watched his armies, then he began to chortle. He must have been a great cockroach; even I can't chortle. After heroic efforts by the anti-blue alliance who yelled things like, "Damn the toothpicks, full speed ahead!" they defeated the blues. All that remained were the yellows.
     The whites found my glow-in-the-dark watch. They used the radium it contained to detonate a very small nuclear bomb. The next day two mushroom clouds appeared in the yellow home land. The war had ended.
     After the whites exploded the nuclear device, I became afraid of the cockroaches. They never before created a weapon more powerful than my trusty air gun. I ran away from the apartment, hoping the Nuclear Regulatory Commission wouldn't find the bombs the cockroaches built. Many of my possessions, like the glow-in-the-dark balls and posters, could conceivably be used to build nuclear devices. If the cockroaches created three nuclear explosions, each about a foot high and wide, from just the radium in my watch, then the rest of the radium could blow up my apartment. Or the apartment complex. Maybe it could take out the entire block. It would look great in my defense for killing five thousand people when I'd say, "The cockroaches did it." So I decided to return home, salvage my stuff and run to Canada.
     I entered the apartment, carefully eyeing the cockroaches, making sure that none would nuke me. While scampering across the hallway, an unpleasant voice informed me that I was again running away from cockroaches. The voice irked me, and challenged my very godhood, so I decided to stay and continue my observations of the critters. Besides, the nuclear explosions were only a foot high and a little radiation poisoning never hurt anyone.
     Some intense negotiations went on between the whites and the reds, who turned from allies during the Cockroach War, to mortal enemy. Recorded here is one of the negotiation conferences.
     "Hello comrade."
     "How many times have I told you never to call me comrade, you red commie."
     "All right comrade, vat did ve discuss during the last meeting?"
     "You know that Mikilov took the notes during the last meeting. Mikilov, you bolshevik menace, why don't you read your notes?"
     "Ve agreed that the next meeting vould start today. Ve decided ve vould have a round table with six chairs. Ve had a disagreement on vether ve vould serve vodka or Californian vine, but ve compromised that everyone could bring his own bottle."
     "We made some pretty good progress for only three years of negotiations," a white said happily.
     "Listen, ve must do some serious talks. I move that ve eliminate all vite land-based missiles, and in return ve promise not to allow our dogs to urinate on the statue of Lincoln."
     "That's a good start, but we'll need more than just the dogs. We'll trade half of our land-based missiles for a third of yours, plus all your bombers. We'll even throw in a complete set of Jackson Five collection cards."
     "Vith a 40 by 60 poster of Michael?"
     "Even the poster."
     "Ve have to refuse your offer."
     "Because that vould cut our arsenal by 40%, vile only cutting yours by 20%, ve don't like Michael since the Jackson Tour, and you're a donkey turd."
     Outside the conference, the press wanted to know what was going on. The officials answered that everyone was getting to know each other by first name.
     Ultimately the negotiators failed, and the cockroaches became uneasy. A settlement was imperative for the continued existence of life in the apartment, so the reds and whites made one final, last ditch desperate effort to save the apartment from total devastation. They arranged a summit for their two leaders.
     The leader of the bathroom came first to the site of the summit. His favorite saying was, "Well, let's see now," followed by several noises which could only be deciphered as gurgling. He took credit for everything from the economic recovery to the sunshine. The leader of the garbage came a bit later, complaining of the capitalist traffic jams. He blamed all the apartment's woes on the "capitalist pigs who vould monopolize the fresh air." They came together, and, only very reluctantly, briefly shook each other's hand. They then entered the meeting room with the negotiator who arranged the meeting. He had spent his entire adult life trying to find a compromise between the whites and the reds, and today was his last hope, where all of his life's work would come to an all or nothing result.
     After 256 hours they came from the building. The white leader smiled his big dopey smile. The red leader scowled, trying to portray the plight of the proletariat. They sat in a grandstand in front of a large half-white and half-red crowd. Everyone eyed each other suspiciously.
     The negotiator got up, and began to speak, "Ladies and gentlemen, today is a historic day. Today the nuclear threat has ended." The crowd cheered. "We've had significant arms reductions, with the eventual goal of eliminating all nuclear weapons. Let me start with some of the specifics. The reds agreed to cut their arsenal to 1381 warheads, with the white's cut to 1382."
     The red leader got up and said, "Excuse me, but ve, the reds, agreed only to cut to 1383 varheads."
     The white leader stepped in, "Well, let's see now. Gurgle, gurgle, gurgle. Your warheads have a larger tonnage than ours, and it was my understanding that we were supposed to get one more warhead to offset this imbalance of tonnage."
     "The tonnage of our veapons is the same is yours."
     "Is not!"
     "Is too!"
     At this point in the infinite space time continuum, the negotiator decided that he no longer desired to remain a part of it, for his life's work was ruined.
     "I demand you apologize to me in front of the apartment for this blatant insult!" the white yelled.
     "Vill not!"
     "Will too!"
     The negotiator swallowed a bottle of sleeping pills with the cotton in one gulp.
     "Go home pinko!" the white shouted.
     "Eat dust pig!" the red replied.
     The negotiator slashed his wrists with a letter opener his wife gave him for Christmas last year.
     The white and the red, the leaders of the two greatest powers the apartment had ever seen, began to fist fight in front of live apartment-wide TV.
     The negotiator dived headfirst into the crowd.
     The aides of the two leaders bet with each other who would win the fight.
     The negotiator broke a sleeping pill bottle and swallowed the glass.
     A brawl developed in the crowd.
     The negotiator ran into the street and jumped in front of a car.
     The police came in and shot anything that moved with tear gas and rubber bullets.
     The negotiator grabbed a gun from one of the cops, and blew his own head off, splattering his brains over many unlucky onlookers.
     The two leaders embraced each other into a bear hug, fell down, and rolled away from the grandstand into a deserted alley outside. They broke away, and stared at each other.
     "I can destroy the apartment in six minutes," the white said.
     "I can do it in five."
     "You can never beat me in a destruction race."
     "Put your money vere your mouth is. I dare you."
     "Don't say that."
     The white knew what was coming next, but kept quiet, waiting for it.
     "I double dare you," the red said.
     The white took out a little radio and spoke into it, "It's Armageddon. Code anything but red. The Day of Judgment is at hand."
     The red then spoke into his radio, "The proletariat is rising. Fry the capitalist pigs."
     From the bathroom and the garbage little toothpicks flew. They crashed, causing small mushroom clouds to form. I ran towards the window, dodging the clouds.
     "The damage isn't wide-spread enough. I know a much better way to destroy the apartment." the white said.
     "So do I."
     They both ran to the stove and resumed fighting.
     "I want to destroy the apartment!"
     "No, I vill!"
     "No you won't!"
     They tried to cut through the gas line. It broke, and the smell of gas was in the air. The white took out a lighter, and attempted to flick it on. The red tried with some matches. As I dove for the window, someone behind me yelled, "Beat ya!" and a large explosion followed.
     The force of the blast made my dive pick up speed, catapulting me through the window. My arms and legs waving, I sailed over the veranda and the sun chairs, and landed in the middle of the swimming pool in a very ungraceful belly flop.
     The day after the apocalypse, I went back into the apartment. Needless to say, it was not a pretty sight. The cockroach survivors came from their shelters in a dazed state. The stench of rotting cockroach corpses filled the air. One cockroach looked at the devastation around him, shook his little head, and then made a speech.
     "Cockroaches of the apartment, see what our petty differences have caused? The civilization and technology that took our entire history to build is now gone. Our former governments have fallen, so it is time to unite together. Only together as one free people working to reach a common goal can we destroy the masochistic forces that dwell within us. If we don't come together now, when all our divisions have been toppled, we are forever doomed."
     He looked at the cockroaches around him; they just stared back blankly. He stepped down, thinking all was lost. The crowd then began to cheer. They picked him up on their shoulders, and carried him away. All the cockroaches travelled to the bedroom to start again. They built new cities, developed new technology, and cleaned up the apartment. Eventually, they built up their civilization until it was greater than ever before. It was here that things took a turn for the worse.
     The mood of the cockroaches changed; they hurried in everything they did. They ran around scared, and said things like, "He's coming, oh God help us." I'd help them if I knew what was going on. They organized armies on a technological level never seen before. Fear rose in the cockroaches; their willingness to fight rose even faster. They told stories about this he; they talked of his evil deeds in times before history. Suddenly the cockroaches pointed all their weapons towards the front door. A silence came over the apartment.
     He was near.
     Everyone waited in dread. Evil was in the air; it was so thick one could taste it. Realizing the air gun would not be an appropriate weapon, I pulled from a drawer my semi-automatic pistol. Anyone who wanted to mess with my cockroaches would have to mess with me first.
     There were footsteps outside.
     Everyone tensed and got ready to fight. I took cover behind an armchair, and pointed the pistol at the door. The cockroaches whispered in unison, "The anti-Christ is here." Fear ran up my spine, then my adrenalin rose as the footsteps came from directly behind the door. The footsteps paused, as if getting ready to strike. Everything climaxed as the fight was about to begin.
     Someone knocked at my door.
     I got up stunned. Since when does the anti-Christ knock at your door before he tries to zap you? The knocking came again, this time louder, more urgent. I walked in a daze to the door, opened it, and looked down into the eyes of a five-foot-one bald guy with yellow teeth.
     "Exterminator," he said. All the cockroaches moaned in unison behind me. I stared at him blankly, so he spoke again, "I'm here to spray your apartment."
     "I didn't ask for it."
     "It comes with the rent."
     "Well, I don't want it."
     "You're going to get it anyway, apartment rules." He glanced inside the apartment, saw the cockroaches pointing their sophisticated weaponry at him, then asked me to step outside. "How long have the cockroaches been acting strangely?"
     "About eight months."
     He scribbled something into a little red book. "What was the first weird event?"
     "A cockroach burst out of the sink yelling 'I think, therefore I am.'"
     "Did you happen to have six month old lasagna in there?"
     "Have they blown up the apartment yet?"
     "About a month ago."
     "Hmm, their technology level is quite high, but a code two sweep should do it."
     "Do what?"
     "Exterminate them."
     "Like our motto says, 'There Ain't No Cockroach We Can't Kill'" I looked at his bright red truck, and indeed those words of wisdom were imprinted on the side. "Tomorrow you'd better leave the apartment."
     "Wait a second, you've had cases like mine before?"
     "Yeah, but we always stopped them."
     "No on wants to study them, or learn from them?"
     "Learn from a cockroach? Don't make me laugh. They're pests and should be killed off. Exterminated. That's where I come in. You'd better not be here tomorrow; a code two will take you out as easily as it will a cockroach."
     "Don't threaten me!" I pointed my pistol at his face. He just laughed, showed me some government ID, and said, "Special Force Member, code name scratch."
     "What are you, CIA? Delta Force?"
     "Nothing so trivial. I'm part of the highest military branch in the Pentagon. The C-Force."
     "The Pentagon sent you? What the hell is a C-Force?"
     "The Cockroach Force. I'm heading the effort to get rid of the cockroach menace." I lifted my head in hearty laughter. "Hey kid, we're serious. These cockroaches have the ability to end life as we know it. They are a threat to national security, and were sent by the KGB to undermine the American Dream. I have orders to stop at nothing to finish my job." He then knocked the pistol out of my hand, pulled out of his red bag an M-16 assault rifle, and pointed it at me. "Don't mess with me. Until tomorrow." Scratch left.
     Everything became quiet the morning of the attack. I left the apartment after setting up a camera and VCR system to view and record the attack from my van. At 9AM a small red tank with the word 'C-Force' painted in large black letters on both sides drove into the parking lot. Scratch stuck his head out of the tank and laughed at me. Just as he moved his tank in front of my apartment door, I wondered where the press was. After all, a branch of the federal government breaking into private property to kill off a colony of cockroaches by way of a tank should be considered news. I thought of calling them myself, but scratch made his move.
     He aimed his cannon, and blew down the door of my apartment. He revved the engine up and down, then his treads spun wildly as he blundered into the apartment. My attention turned to the camera after he left my direct view. As he entered the living room, the cockroach helicopters attacked. Scratch fired a spray of poison gas from his cannon, knocking most of the copters down immediately. The surviving copters left their payload of cockroach marines on the tank. These cockroaches could not attack; no openings to the inside of the tank existed. They retreated so the fighters could attack.
     The fighters came in low and spread out to avoid the deadly fumes, but their air to ground toothpicks bounced harmlessly of the tank. The cockroach tank force and navy attacked together, but scratch destroyed them at will. The cockroaches dispersed, defeated. I could almost see the shit eating grin on scratch's face as he approached the bedroom, the heart of the cockroach society. He salivated so loudly that my microphone picked it up.
     A single plane flew in the air, and it fired a single toothpick at the tank. A bright light flashed, and a mushroom cloud grew. When the smoke cleared, a small hole became evident in the side of the tank. Now the battle began in earnest as scratch could no longer rely on his protective shield. The remainder of the tanks, planes and helicopters attacked in unison. Scratch yelped as toothpick after toothpick found its way into the hole.
     A platoon of cockroaches snuck up on scratch from the ground, and came within three feet of the tank before he noticed them. Scratch screeched a blood curdling scream of fear. The cockroaches seemed to move in slow motion as the cannon bore in on them. Scratch fired six times point blank, but a few cockroaches got in. Screams again came from the tank; this time ones of pain. From the remaining navy ships streams of PT boats full of cockroach marines went to help the cockroaches already in the tank.
     Scratch changed his strategy. He started moving the tank again by plowing through the hallway. He shot at the cities in the bedroom. The cockroaches inside the tank stopped trying to kill scratch, for he stopped screaming, and instead focused their energies on the engine and gun. The cannon stopped firing first. Scratch could only destroy the cities by running them over with his treads. He managed to crush three cities before he came to a stop. I again heard the screams of pain as the cockroaches turned their attention from the engine to scratch. Scratch scrambled from the tank, and ran screaming to the front door with hundreds of cockroaches on his back, and hundreds more in pursuit. Several thousand infantry cockroaches blocked the door, trying to prevent scratch's escape, but he dove for the window, broke it, and got out. Once there, six black late model sedans screeched in front of the apartment, and 20 C-Force men got out. A tug of war ensued between the C-Force men and the cockroaches to get scratch. The cockroaches suddenly let go, sending the C-Force men into the mud, ruining their red uniforms in the process. The C-Force people all got into the sedans and drove away heading in the direction of the hospital.
     The day after scratch's attack, I awoke to find the cockroaches gone from my home, which had become perfectly clean. The day before the apartment was a battle zone, but that morning it looked better than the day I moved in. I heard a commotion in the parking lot, so I grabbed my trusty air gun and went outside to investigate. A crowd of people surrounded my neighbor's Ferrari, which the cockroaches had converted into a flying machine with wings and rocket engines. The cockroach helicopters held the crowd back; the owner of the Ferrari lied on the ground with an assortment of toothpicks sticking from him. The helicopters then entered the Ferrari which blasted off into the sky. My neighbor got up, scowled at me, and walked away plucking at toothpicks, apparently unscathed.
     It was funny the way the cockroaches treated people, as if they were nothing. Excepting myself, of course, I was their god. But was I really? They could have killed me, but they didn't. Did they fear me? Did they trust me? Who was really superior? I suddenly knew how to find out. I still carried the air gun. All I had to do was look into it. The gun became heavy in my hand and I tried to throw it away, but some perverse force kept me from doing so. As if it was someone else, I watched myself open up the clip to look inside. All the pellets were gone, and a small piece of paper fell out. I picked it up, read the scribbling, and immediately felt sick. It said, "It's not nice to shoot at people smaller than you."


WASHINGTON, DC. -- (AP) -- Yesterday morning at 5AM the 'There Ain't No Cockroach We Can't Kill' pest control center was in flames, apparently after a heavily armed group attacked it. The CIA claimed it was the target of either an Iraqi terrorist group, or an assassination squad sent out by Moamar Khadafi. However, when talking to witnesses, we get a different story.
     "A red Ferrari with wings came flying out of the sky," said one witness, "and from it at least 30 helicopters, each about a foot long, came out. They blew the door of the building down, and let thousands of cockroaches out into the building. I heard explosions and automatic gun fire. The cockroaches ran out, and soon after the building was levelled by an explosion. The cockroaches and the helicopters got back into the Ferrari, and flew away."
     The CIA denied the story, calling our witnesses a "crackpot" and a "deluded jackass."
     In a related story, an unidentified man sued the 'There Ain't No Cockroach We Can't Kill' company because he claimed he had some cockroaches they failed to kill. He made video tapes of their attempt, but the Pentagon stepped in and declared the tapes top secret. They settled out of court for 50 million dollars.
     These events further cause speculation that the Pentagon may have been involved in gene splicing, using a particularly potent technique which uses six month old lasagna as a catalyst. Sources claim that experiments went on with cockroaches to turn them into an army, for 400 billion cockroaches infest the US alone. They claim the experiments turned the cockroaches into fighting machines. It is further speculated that the Soviets infiltrated the operation, and released the cockroaches onto the American public. The cockroaches would be totally normal, except after eating six month old lasagna. They would then become extremely dangerous. The Pentagon, in association with the CIA, created the 'There Ain't No Cockroach We Can't Kill' company to eliminate the cockroaches using any method available. Some cockroaches escaped, and bombed the company headquarters in a retaliatory strike.
     The Pentagon called the story "absolutely false" and "malicious rumors." They claimed the ones "spreading these lies" are "anti-American communists out to destroy the American Dream."

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