My Pet Roach

©2019 David Caprita. All Rights Reserved.

I remember the date well. June 27, 1974. I was fresh out of college and had moved back home to Pensacola into an old brick and wood building, probably built around the turn of the century. Its exterior was faded red brick, the inside old wood with the faded scent of mold and memories and peeling paint. I loved that house. My roommates were fellow musicians and disc jockeys, so the place was always full of beer, women, music, pot and cockroaches. A lot of the latter.

Whenever we’d come home from a night of making music or spinning records on the radio, or drinking and smoking and dropping Quaaludes and hauling ass across the bay bridge on our motorcycles at a hurricane speed 110 miles per hour from Pensacola Beach, we’d enter through the kitchen back door. And as we walked in and flipped the light switch near the kitchen door, there would be a skitter of tiny feet as roaches who had been relaxing in the pitch black suddenly were shocked out of their serenity by the entrance of giant humans blinding them in a giant, pale fluorescent spotlight.

If there were women with us we had dragged home, there would be a wave of ear bursting screaming. If it was just us, the scene would merely merit a few “fucks” and “Jesus Christs” and a feeble drunken attempt to chase them down and swat them with a conveniently located newspaper, spatula or other kitchen appliance. It was useless. As soon as the light came on, they were pretty much gone from sight to whatever nether underworld they dwelt in during the day.

And it wasn’t like we had a filthy kitchen. Yeah, we were all bachelors and slobs but we had a pretty good hygienic ethic. We washed the dishes, we kept the food in the fridge. We were petless so it wasn’t like they were attracted to pieces of dog food and dog shit or something. It was just that the house was old and musty and the Florida humidity invited six legged squatters to inundate our house and there was nothing we could do about it. The frigging place needed to be tented, but tell that to the landlord. Good luck on that one. She didn’t even want to set foot in the fucking place.So, it was on that unforgettable June Saturday night when I came home to an empty house. All the roommates were either playing music at some club on the beach, or spinning records on the radio or out with their ladies. I was alone and went straight to my bedroom to roll a doob and relax for the night. The pot was stronger than usual. Straight from Vietnam, one of the only things that was a positive outcome of that war. Laced with opium and buds sticky with resin like old cinnamon buns covered in sugar frosting.

Looking back to those days from the present world where medical marijuana is a hundred times stronger than your average seventies pot, this was a treat. Pensacola being a military town surrounded by Navy and Air Force bases, we had lots of connections to Southeast Asia where the pot was what it would be in the United States forty years hence. So, the point of all this is that, by the time I headed to the darkened kitchen to grab a beer and then snap on the TV, I was baked. Baked to the point where, if I had been in public I probably would have crawled on my bike and sneaked home with my tail between my legs.