Last night my sister asked me what I would do if I woke up as an 800 lb. cockroach.
"You know, like The Metamorphosis" she says
"Isn’t that about a fly?" I ask
"No," she says "One day this guy wakes up, and he’s a giant cockroach. He’s the size of the couch."
My sister nods at the couch we took from our apartment lobby. It’s mint green and cubic, a soft material like microfiber that deflects even the worst kind of stain. Which is good. A couch this color is not meant to be stained.
I think about being a cockroach the size our couch. I think about waking up as a giant cockroach.
"I’d get ready for work." I say
"You can’t go to work," she says. "You’re a giant cockroach."
"What am I supposed to do, call in? I could still work, I could still type on a computer." I really don’t follow her logic.
"No way!" My sister is brushing her teeth with one hand on her hip to disagree with me, and my belief that waking up as a giant bug could still mean answering okay when someone asks, how’s your day going?
"You couldn’t type on a computer! You couldn’t even sit at your desk!" At this point my sister is grounded in her view of life as an 800 lb. cockroach. Like most topics, my sister has thought a lot about this one.
"Well then, how am I supposed to let them know I can’t make it to work?" I ask.
"You wouldn’t!" She’s spits into the sink of the bathroom that looks into our living room with the mint green couch. The hair on the back of her neck is damp. When she speaks her palms rotate to face me, as if to say here is my reasoning, here are these words for this specific conversation. Her hands only move like this when she argues.
My sister still does not understand my approach to this new life as a very large bug.
"That’s so like you! You wake up as an 800 lb. cockroach and you’re concerned with how you’ll get to work."
And I am concerned. I just started a new job and feel as though I need to be good all the time. Always there, always present, always hunched over and working on things that will mean very little in a week, two weeks, ten years from now. I am concerned.
"I can’t write?" I ask. "I would need to leave a note."
"You couldn’t hold a pen." My sister says
"I would write on the wall with blood" I say
She makes a motion to her stomach as if stabbing herself in the small intestine with a kitchen knife. A sacrifice to giant bugs everywhere.
"You’d write with your own blood?" She asks
"Nothing threatening," I say. I don’t want anyone to get the impression of my newfound state being menacing. I might look frightening, but I’m sure deep down, I’d still the be same old me as an 800 lb. cockroach.
Do cockroaches have souls?