Forgive me if this column seems a bit disjointed. I am a bit out of sorts today.
Because even as I sit here, I am being hunted.
Stealthy, quick as the wind, my enemy could be anywhere. Perhaps here, beneath this very desk.
But yet I’m stuck, unable to move from the spot my stalker was last seen, held captive by this deadline.
Terrorized by a legger, unable to escape until I’m done.
The dance between predator and prey began this morning, as I was discussing something in today’s paper with my coworker Amanda. Out of nowhere, it came at me, streaking across the carpet toward my bare ankles so fast it took me a second to realize what was happening.
A blur of body and a million hair-like legs. A streak of gross going 80 miles per hour.
I don’t even really remember jumping up or running into her office. I only knew I had to get out of there before that monster made contact with my toes.
By the time I recovered, like an insect Keyser Soze, poof, he was gone.
Still out there somewhere. Lurking, plotting, planning his return.
You see, this isn’t our first run in.
It isn’t even our first one in the office.
On three separate occasions he’s come after me in the newsroom.
Years ago, I drew a Wanted poster and hung it on my friend John Wilfong’s desk, a hooded centipede (a word I hate so much that it pains me to print it) in dark glasses that I named the Unabugger.
Unlike Kaczynski, he was never caught.
The evil SOB has ruined more than a few would-be enjoyable evenings at home, too.
Why, only recently I spotted him on the wall at the top of my stairs. When I ran down, crying, snotting and screaming for Dan to help me, he said, “Oh, yeah, I saw that up there, but it just didn’t register so I walked right past it.”
Walked right past it? Walked right past a many-legged crawler in my home and didn’t remove it immediately, when you know? You KNOW.
The nemesis that has dogged me for years?
Shocker of the world, he got away that time, too.
The conspiracy goes deep, folks. This vendetta is real.
So it continues. I watch, I wait. I scan floors and rugs and corners and cubbies for his hideous million-limbed presence.
Poor Patricia, our indefatigable, yet supremely sweet, admin assistant, had to console me like a child a few minutes ago, when I dropped something and it lightly brushed my Achilles.
I noticed a grain of rice on the floor at lunch and literally sweated from fear as I bent to clean it up.
But eventually, my guard will go down, the way it always does.
And then he’ll be back — faster and bigger and leggier than ever.
He’s probably watching me right now, plotting his next move. Sizing up the openings at the hem of my cropped jeans. Making note of the gap in the side of my loafer, just big enough to slip into.
OMG. OK, that’s it.
I really have to go.
Katie McDowell is a lifestyles writer/copy editor for The Dominion Post. Email her at email@example.com.