One problem. No Ben.
Now, when I'm reading in bed, Ben usually bulls his way in, curls up against a hip or across my torso, then oozes down to my feet when I turn off the light. The lack of a Ben is unusual. Had I locked him in the closet or was he stuck in a cupboard? I got up and went looking.
I emerged into the living room and did not see him, but I DID see...the Enemy.
An inch and some change long, glossy black, and skittering away at high speed across the carpet. This could not be allowed to stand. I do not have a roach problem, and I do not intend to get one any time soon. I snatched up a shoe and went on the attack.
It should be mentioned at this point that owing to the fact I had been in bed, I was wearing a pair of fluffy tangerine socks and a fierce expression, and not much else. This is okay. Like Beowulf, I would meet my foe on his own terms! (Unlike Beowulf, I do not have a cadre of henchmen trained to use limbs, weaponry, and assorted props to block my naughty bits from the camera, and the less said about my efforts to train Ben to hench, the better.)
The cockroach tore along the edge of a bookcase at floor level. I cracked the shoe down and missed utterly.
Fortunately, this convinced him that the bookcase was not safe, and he struck out across the expanse of the carpet. Ha! Foolish arthropod! I belted him a good one with my +2 Sandal of Smiting.
It had no apparent effect. As soon as I cautiously lifted the shoe, the roach was off and running again. Sheesh. What's the armor class on roach carapace? I took another swing. He dodged. "Hold still, you wiggly bastard!"
The roach feinted left and ran for the right, directly at my feet. I leapt aside like a matador with a very tiny bull, screaming "Ole!"* The Shoe of Damocles came down again.
This time it had an effect. Definitely dazed, the roach staggered across the carpet. Yelling the ancient battlecry of the Vernons--"AUUUGH! Killitkillitkillitbeforeitbreeds!" I whaled on him for what seemed like five minutes, until he flipped over and curled his legs up in submission.
I went and got a paper towel, intending to give my foe a scaled down Viking funeral in the toilet (minus the burning bit) but to my horror, he had only been playing possum! As soon as the paper towel touched him, he flipped over and made a last desperate break for safety.
Use the rocket launcher! screamed the part of my brain that's been playin' waaay too much Resident Evil lately. I ignored it. The resulting property damage was bound to have an adverse effect on my lease. Instead I snatched up my trusty shoe and belted him a few more times, thereby ushering in the ichor stage of the evening's festivities.
This time, when I grabbed him with a paper towel, he only kicked feebly. "Damn straight," I said, and sent him to a watery grave.
He was a worthy foe.
I did a brief victory dance, then washed my hands three or four times, plus the bottom of the shoe, plus the chunk of carpet in a two foot radius around the sight of the roach's defeat. When I returned to bed, I found Ben peering out from under it. As soon as I crawled in, he was up in his usual position, reclining majestically across my ankles.
"Were you waiting for me to dispatch the roach? Pfff! Some ninja-bane you are."
Ben gave me a haughty look. Ninjas were something else entirely. Had it been a ninja roach, he would have saved the day while I cowered in the corner, avoiding the hail of tiny shuriken. Had I ever seen a six-legged ninja? Did I know what they can DO with nunchuks? He thought not.
And so we went to bed, untroubled by ninjas or by roaches. Content with my victory, I slept.
*Although I believe I pronounced it "EUUUUAAAAAGGGHHHH!"