During the two-and-half years I spent in Asia, I battled flying cockroaches, big black scorpions and ugly grey rats without a tremor of fear. (Okay, so the scorpions were a little bit scary but I’m deadly with a hammer. And the rats kept away from me – and my cats.)
It is here, in the land of my birth, that the most terrifying creature on earth exists. I am talking, of course, about the Parktown Prawn. The mere thought of it is enough the send shivers down my spine – and not the good kind of shivers. I like horror movies. I don’t scare easily. As a teen, I read a lot of Stephen King. But the Parktown Prawn . . .
The other evening I was getting Pixie dressed for bed while Poppet used the toilet. I heard, “Mommy, come help me!” from the bathroom and assumed that she needed assistance with wiping or something. So I replied with, “I’m coming!” which every mom knows means I’ll be there as soon as I’m done with this other thing.
Then, in a higher pitch: “Mommy, a monster!”
And I just knew.
Poppet was sitting on the toilet, her feet up on the seat, pants still around her ankles, her eyes wide. On the floor: the cat, playing with a baby Parktown Prawn. Hubby wasn’t home yet so I had to push down every instinct to scream and jump into the laundry basket.
I managed to capture it in a plastic bowl, then hurried outside (in the rain!) to dump it in the street. I’ll admit: I ran back inside and shut the door quickly behind me, then made sure that all the windows were closed. Who knows what deviousness these things are capable of?
The cat was less than thrilled at being deprived of his plaything. Poppet had a thousand questions about the monster. Pixie just wanted her milk.
And me? I felt a little bit like a superhero.
Thank heavens it was just a baby Parkie.