10PM, Henry in his Queen’s apartment smoking high grade ganja and washing it down with tequila as he wrote into the evening— standing up, feeling hypersensitive and fried as he walks to the bathroom. Inside he notices a cockroach on the tiles below looking up at him, the roach nodes at Henry, then turning and darting back into his burrow/home.
Henry felt a peaceful spirit emanating from the cockroach and decides to let the little guy live rent and hassle free in his apartment.
A few minutes later, still in the bathroom, combing his hair he looks down and sees three baby cockroaches coming out of the burrow. They were no more than a few millimeters long, they ran and moved about like demons with great speed— thousands of years of being chased by cats, housewives with brooms, birds or exterminators had helped them evolve into the mannerless hybrids of today— whose greatest joy is lapping up urine from the bathroom floor or being lucky enough to find some dried bread.
He wondered if his new found connection with cockroaches might lead to something more? Like, his digs becoming infested with the little guys?
Out of his Queen’s apartment by 1030PM, unable to get Kafka’s novel Metamorphosis out of his mind—feeling buggy.
By 1030PM at Chaim’s Deli, sitting at his usual place, Ruby his regular waitress approaches him, she seems to be shaken.
Henry, Jesus Christ when I came to work this morning the place was full of cockroaches, Chaim had to call an exterminator to take care of it. We swept the dead bugs out and flushed them down the sewer.
What? No Viking funeral Ruby?
Henry had lost his appetite and needed a drink real bad, telling Ruby to bring him a triple Jack and soda.
He felt sick, cockroach souls attacked and murdered by chemical warfare agents, acaricide maybe.
Cockroaches like humans born with survival instinct.
Henry takes a taxi to Mr. Lees Laundry in Chinatown, as he opens the taxi door, he looks up and sees a tiled stairway leading up to a large red double door. He walks up to the door and knocks hard, a pecker hole opens, he could see Asian eyes, he hears a voice,
Oh Henry come in—
He follows Mr. Lee down some steps into the basement, Mr. Lee parts a velvet curtain that leads to an opium den. The den was dimly lit with red light, no windows and the walls were painted black. An older Chinese lady in traditional dress leads Henry to a rice mat and tells him to lay down. There is an antique opium pipe on a wooden stool next to Henry, the lady hands the pipe to him and tells him to put it to his mouth and inhale softly, she lights the pipe.
Henry nods out falling into dream, far into a deep hole, looking up he sees a ball of white gas expanding like a balloon being blown up. The white bulb pops, there is the sound of an explosion and blue smoke is everywhere. As the blue smoke clears he is waking and he sees the opium den is awash with cockroaches.
Henry feeling warm inside from the opium walks upstairs to pay Mr. Lee and ask him about the roaches, Lee tells him that he befriended a cockroach some time ago and now all his (the roaches) ancestors are here.
What are you going to do about the cockroaches Mr. Lee? Lee says—
We are going to move to another house and give them the old house.