How I Got Cockroach Juice On My Hand

The place where I work is, in theory, a regular office. It wasn’t built as an office, however — there are no large areas parcelled out with grey-blue panels, no meeting rooms, and no interns. It used to be a normal apartment downtown, just across the street from the Argentinian congress building in Buenos Aires.

It’s an old building. If the internet stops working, the elevator (which should be illegal) stops working too. Don’t ask me why that happens, but I can assure you it’s absolutely true. The lobby is guarded by a three legged dog owned by a man who stinks of whiskey starting at nine in the morning. And most bothersome of all: there’s a roach problem.

Once a month, the exterminator makes the rounds, ringing doorbells and spraying insecticide on all the bathrooms in the building. The problem is, the roaches aren’t confined to bathrooms. And because my workplace is fairly tiny for an accounting firm with forty or so clients, bugs are free to roam the endless hallways of empty folders and stacks of paperwork lying around in the backroom.

Don’t let this fool you: the place is not teeming with vermin. Yet, their numbers are high enough to be noticeable. No one around the office mentions it, including me, but we are all aware of it. How can you not be aware of it when you feel one of the little ones crawling inside the hole in your shoe?

I try to leave them alone, but yesterday was different. I was sitting at my desk at work, writing a review of Dragon’s Dogma (it’s like Skyrim and Dark Souls put together, turning two good things into one bad thing), when I caught a glimpse of a small cockroach scurrying just behind my monitor. I tried to react but, almost as if sensing my eyes on it, the roach ran away and hid among some papers. I tried to ignore it. An hour later, it showed up again. It’s hard to describe, but between the way my desk is laid out and the area the cockroach was moving around, I could not find a way to squash it without knocking over everything. So I waited, again.

Finally, at around three in the afternoon, it appeared once again and ran under a small piece of paper. Without thinking, I slammed my hand down on it. And when I lifted the piece of paper there was not only a dead roach, but it’s liquid insides marinating it. This is gross, I obviously thought. But I was not prepared to notice that a glob of pus-like goop had splashed against my right index finger.

I was mortified. What cruel, mocking “victory” was this? Having that drop of roach juice on my finger made me hold my hand up like it was completely paralyzed. It didn’t even feel like my hand; I thought of it as a victim, a corpse defiled and attached to me. I felt like Lady Macbeth, and all the soap and water in the world would never be enough to cleanse my finger. The thought of masturbation made me recoil in horror. The dead cockroach lay there on the desk, wet and innocent.

I don’t even know what the juice was. Is it cockroach blood? Liquified organs? Just plain old pus? Is this type of writing actually allowed on Medium or am I only supposed to write thinkpieces on here? I will rather not know the answer to these questions.

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