My last house–which was not in my current homey Mayberry-esque town– was, I think, built on an old Indian cricket graveyard. We moved into our dream abode after many months of weather delays and city planning commission delays (as in, they passed us on our 4-way inspection, then right before we moved in said, "Oh wait. Your roof is too tall. You must saw off the top 4 feet." I am not kidding. And I am not bitter. Okay, I am bitter. Someday I won't spit in their general direction every time I drive by. But for now, spitting is fun.) We adored that house. We had designed it, built it, sawed the roof off. It was a lovely clean crisp vaulty place to wake up in every morning.
And then the haunting started.
I was sweeping my polished hardwood floors one day when I heard random chirping coming from the walls. It was odd. Couldn't quite pinpoint the location, but generally it seemed to be in the foyer (which, if you are cultured and live in the town where we used to live, you would pronounce "fwa-yay." But we aren't, even though we did. So we say "foy-errrrr." Thought you should know.)
Well, I searched and searched but found nothing. So I gave up and went to bed. Wrapped in the comfort of living in a new house with hermetically sealed walls and doors, and which I was able to keep spotless because I only had one kid. That was one clean, impenetrable home.
Next morning I went traipsing down my stairs, humming a little tune about how my window cleaner leaves no streaks, then stopped in horror. There, laid out in a perfect little circle on my shining floor, were the bodies of three very large, very disgusting, much grosser than should be allowed, crickets. Dead. As bodies are wont to be.
"EW! EW! EW! PUPPYKNEES!" (That's what I used to call my husband. "Puppyknees." I'm lying of course. I only called him that to see if I could flap his unflappable-ness. It didn't work. So I moved on to Angeldimples and Muffinhead. Still didn't work. I should write about my huz's stolidness and my 26-year-long effort to shock and/or otherwise discombobulate him.)
My huz came clattering in alarm down the carpet runner, shot past me, nearly squished the dead bugs to death, managed a last second leap to the other side, then spun and stared. At me. Because, like, why was I screaming if the house wasn't on fire or there wasn't an intruder?
"Crickets." He gestured as if I had asked him what was lying on my floor doing the post-mortem statue-dance.
"Yes I know. Who put them there?"
"What do you mean, who put them there?"
"Well, look at them. That's not natural. They're lying in a circle. In the center of the fwa-yay. What cricket does that?"
"Mmmmhm," I did not roll my eyes, "how do you think they got there?"
*stare* "I think they probably walked."
"Then what? DIED? Just like that?"
"Yes. Looks like it. Why don't I just clean them up?"
And we went about our lives. Vacuuming, dusting, raising a child, polishing the hand-carved mantle piece on the hand-bricked fireplace. All was well.
Until the next day when the bodies showed up again. New ones. And there were four.
This time the huz jogged, he did not clatter. Clearly he thought I was overreacting. Well, I wasn't. How would he like to find dead crickets arranged like my foiiyure was the Salisbury Plain and they were a stone circle? WIth no explanation as to how they got there?
"I'll just . . . "
Well. This kept up for about two years. I'd hear the occasional chirruping wall, and then there'd be bodies. CSI should be so lucky (And by the way, you should know that CSI stands for "Cricket Scene Investigation." Truth.) Huz would remove their icky crackly leggy bodies, and I'd try not to say much. Except "SERIOUSLY? YOU THINK THIS IS NORMAL? WE'RE BUILT ON AN INDIAN CRICKET BURIAL GROUND, I TELL YOU! AND THEY WANT US OUT!"
After quite a while my huz got sick of playing bug undertaker–although not my dulcet plaintive voice, I'm sure–and we moved to the delightful little cricket-free neighborhood where we live now. Kind of near a lake and sort of near a cave. It's peaceful and quiet and there's a lot of marvelous history here that we didn't have at our old digs. Plus there's an un-chopped roof. But, there are no crickets, that I can see.
(All right. There was also a teensy matter of me quitting work so I could raise my then 2.5 children, and the necessity to sell our large investment-home so I could do the whole Stay At Home Mom -thing. BUT STILL. CRICKET BODIES WERE A DEFINITE FACTOR.)
And now we have peace.
Except for the occasional wolf spider.
Which I occasionally see.
And one of which is sitting on my window staring at me right now. On the outside, not the inside. Right?