Oneshots

The Tale of the Death of a Cockroach


Hey! I’m called Xiao Qiang[1]. More accurately, it should be said that you call me Xiao Qiang. If you don’t know of me, then you’re clearly an alien. Don’t be scared, I’m dead. Oh! If I say it like this, you’ll probably be even more frightened. Sorry! The reason you can hear this is because I died in a blaze of glory, yet I was unable to leave any last words. At the very least, I thought it was glorious! Therefore, I’m making up for it with this here. This will let me feel like I won’t have any regrets, and I hope it will encourage other cockroaches to fight for a better life.

How did I die? I suffered from an attack from something called “Roach Killer”. Then, I laid on the ground, foaming at the mouth, curling up into a ball. When I died, I left one tear–a happy tear. I’ll talk about that later because that’s precisely what I’m most proud of. In short, I was attacked by a chemical weapon. In fact, my species has to face these scary chemical weapons every day.

Once, I had a brother who was sprayed with something called “extra-strength degreaser”. In the beginning, he tenaciously ran back into the bunker. He even joked with me, “Haha! Check it out! How could cleaning supplies hurt me? Today, I got a free bath! It feels so good! You should try it too!” Right when he was so proud of escaping, his complexion paled, and his body drew in on itself as he started babbling incoherently.

In the end, he lay on the ground, and the only part that could move were his eyes, that were turning round and round. I was next to him, yet I could only stare blankly, while being at my wit’s end. Right when he was about to die painfully, he smiled at me. To this day, I can’t forget the image of that smiling expression mixed with that of agonized struggling stamped on his face.

Oh! As a matter of fact, that expression constantly gives me nightmares. I’ve shouted an innumerable amount of times in my nightmares, “WHY? WHY? Why do you have to treat me this way?” It was only at the moment of my death that I understood what he was trying to convey to me! He didn’t want me to fear death; in fact, he was extremely scared at that moment! Forget it! Let’s not talk about this anymore. I’m already dead. Why should I keep mourning him?

How did I die? Honestly speaking, I courted my own death! That night, there was no high moon in the night sky, but rather, a light in a bright room. I was just taking a walk in a dark cabinet when suddenly, the cabinet door opened. A bright light shone in, making me dizzy and lightheaded in a flash.

Then, a burst of ear-piercing shrieks almost stopped my little heart. “AH! A cockroach!” It was the cute little beauty Xiao Jiao. I’d scared her yet again. Hehe! I never understood… she’s sooo sooo big that one mouthful of spit could drown me. How could she have such a weak heart? It really makes one pity her.

Of course, she doesn’t need my pity. Her hubby Da Mao ran out. The sounds of heavens falling and earth-rending followed him. It made me disoriented for a while. I scurried about in all directions trying frantically to escape as I ran back into the bunker. I looked out from a small crack in the bunker. There was a chemical weapon in someone’s hand. That hand was so tender that it was definitely Xiao Jiao’s[2].

That’s right! You’re very clever! That chemical weapon was the Roach Killer that killed me in the end. Da Mao carelessly rummaged through the cabinet, making all the containers echo as if several grenades just went off near my body. Ah! Da Mao! He’s not too smart. I’ve walked right in front of him several times, but he’s never noticed!

Da Mao[3] is a nickname I gave him. I don’t know his real name. I neither care nor need to know his name. In fact, we call most people ‘Da Mao’ because they have a lot of hair growing from a lot of places on their body, especially on their heads. It really disgusts a cockroach! Why does so much hair grow on their heads?

When I was alive, I constantly used the hair on their heads for storytelling. Haha! Da Mao rummaged a few more times then said, “There’s nothing there. Could it be that you saw wrong?” Xiao Jiao hid behind Da Mao and timidly stuck out her head above Da Mao’s shoulder, “I clearly just saw it!”

Soon, the darkness resumed in my world. They closed the cabinet door and left. I sat in the bunker and sucked in a long, deep breath–one probably as long as the often spoken about The Great Wall! I could still clearly hear their footsteps and voices.

“Cockroaches are so disgusting!” Xiao Jiao used that seemingly coquettish tone of voice to curse us! That’s why I call her Xiao Jiao. But that day when I heard her, I was very unhappy, but I didn’t know why.

Could it be possible that it was because I drank the stuff in the bottle cap from the bottle of wine? Da Mao and Xiao Jiao had to drink a bit before they fought. Then they prattled, “Getting some liquid courage!” I was immediately filled with grief and indignation. I thought of the time when my grandfather and I were sitting in the bunker looking into the distance towards the cat who was sleeping soundly.

Grandfather grieved, “Our family has been here for thousands of generations. Ever since these invaders came, the world has turned upside down. They built these skyscrapers, killing, injuring, and separating our clansmen. Oh! In order to survive, our ancestors made a compromise. They changed their bodies and habits and slowly adapted to the dark.

They didn’t expect that people now sleep later and later. They don’t even leave the darkness to us anymore! Ah! Our future is really tragic!” Grandfather continued to lament, “They even brought all kinds of killers. The one across from us killed your grandmother! Sooner or later, we’ll get our revenge!”

One day, grandfather really charged that cat, but he also died under that cat’s claws. When I thought of this, I was so sad that I started to cry! Yes! This was originally our territory. We have to be in hiding in our own home. How ironic is that! Furthermore, those big, hairy ones would find excuses to start conflicts with us.

To tell the truth, without conflict, there would only be massacres because we have been retreating or taking cover this whole time. They concocted extremely ridiculous reasons to massacre us. “These cockroaches carry a lot of germs and all kinds of parasites on their bodies.”

In fact, those big, hairy beings’ bodies carry tens of thousands times more germs than ours. Some parasites in some big hairy’s bodies are bigger than me! That day, when I thought of this, I was in an indignant mood. Even though I was drunk, I can confirm that this was the prevailing thought in my mind so I’m very proud of what happened afterward.

I stood up and walked out of the bunker. I shouted, “I’m Xiao Qiang (cockroach). THIS IS MY HOUSE!” The cat who killed my grandparents that sitting on the carpet looked at me in astonishment. I glared angrily at it then walked right past it. It didn’t move and just sat there dazedly looking at me. It was probably intimidated by me, or it was deeply ashamed! However, at that moment, a cloud of chemical smoke appeared unexpectedly. I died!

Even now, I remember my mother once said at an annual family gathering, “Children, fortunes rise and fall. When the meteorites strike the Earth again, destroying humanity, we cockroaches will rise and dominate the Earth!” There were several tens of thousands of my siblings present at that time. It was such a magnificent sight, making a cherished memory!

“Are you done talking?”

“AH! Who’s talking?”

“It’s me, Yama, the King of Hell.”

“Where are you?”

“You don’t need to search! You can’t see me!”

“Ah! What is your command?”

“Go reincarnate.”

“To where?”

“Guess!”


Footnotes:

[1]Xiao Qiang is slang for cockroach, but also means small, strong one.

[2]Xiao Jiao means little Jiao — Jiao is one of the words that make up sa jiao which is to be cute/coquettish

[3]Da Mao means big hair.


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