Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Clicking Elephant, My Longhorned Beetle Story

You know, I expect there will come a day when I cease to write about my encounters with spiders, snakes, killer insects, and coyotes, but sadly, comrades, today is not that day.

If you were awake and on twitter last night, you may know that I came face-to-face with the devil, which happened to be residing in my eldest son's bedroom. The story is a long one, so perhaps we should start at the beginning.


The backstory:

Roughly five or six years ago, my husband went to Thailand for work, and brought home some lovely souvenirs, as he does when he goes to a new country. Plus One had just been born, so he was gifted with a wooden elephant carving for his nursery. It matched the jungle theme I had painted, and we all know that large, blunt objects are the most fun for babies to play with.

Over the next twelve or so months, I would notice that the elephant would occasionally make this...this...clicking...noise. Sometimes it would be late at night while I was nursing the baby back to sleep for-the-love-of-god, and other times it would be in the middle of the day. It wouldn't stop if I shook it, but I did notice a fine crack in the bottom of the belly. Surely the hunk of wood was drying out in our heated apartment! Surely it wasn't a sign of THE MOTHERLOVING APOCALYPSE. In fact, maybe it wasn't even COMING from the elephant! Or! OR! Maybe one leg was carved too short and it was simply rocking with the earth's daily revolutions! I don't KNOW! SCIENCE IS HARD!

I don't even remember whether I mentioned it to my husband, because it didn't seem like a big deal. Maybe a year or so later, I spotted what appeared to be a pile of fine dust near the elephant. How did this dust get here, I'd wondered? At the time I chalked it up to my poor housekeeping skills, maybe even theorized that my son, now a toddler, was somehow carving an escape route with his teething ring.

Years passed, friends. The clicking seemed to stop.

We moved to a bigger house in New York. Years after that, we moved to Texas. All the while, the elephant came along, dutifully adorning the dresser in my eldest son's room.

The Awakening:

It was here in Texas that I realized this clicking was actually something sinister.

I wrote about it a few months ago, when I went to check in on my boys before retiring for the night. The scenario went something like this:

Scene: Children's bedroom, late at night. The kids are asleep and the mother has entered to kiss them once more before retiring for the evening.

Mom: [Opens door, which makes a heinous creaking sound. Makes mental note to purchase WD-40 for the love of GOD.]

Something in room: [Tick, tick, tick...Tick, tick, tick...]

Mom: [Grabs child's glowworm as a flashlight and protector. Tiptoes fearfully toward the sound, which seems to be coming from the kid's dresser.]

Something in room: [Tick, tick, tick...Tick, tick, tick...]

Mom: [Shines glowworm at a large, heavy souvenir elephant carving that her husband has brought back from a foreign land.]

Something in room: [TICK, TICK, TICK...TICK, TICK, TICK...it continues to taunt her.]

Mom: [Picks up elephant slowly, terror in her eyes. The sound is coming FROM INSIDE THE ELEPHANT.]

Fade to black as child awakens to a figure standing over his bed, clutching a blunt object.
I even made a frantic call to my neighbor that evening, telling her to bring a weapon or some sort of protective crystals-slash-force-fields. I had wrapped the damn thing in a bag, finally convinced that some creepy shit was going on. We investigated the thing together, noting the fine dust, and what appeared to be a hole that formed near the ear.

In the end, we decided it was dry rot, and when my husband came home from his work trip, he seemed to think the same. He also thought I was insane, but that's besides the point. I recommended burning the elephant and calling an exorcist, but he reminded me that the elephant belonged to the boys and WHY ARE YOU SUCH A TERRIBLE, PANICKY MOTHER?!

The Night of Horror:

Fast forward to last night. My husband and I were on the couch, watching Pawn Stars, because we like to make fun of that one guy's laugh. Or, like, history. Whatever. Plus One was having trouble falling asleep, so he kept showing up on the stairs. I'd bring him back up to his room, tuck him in, and head back down to the couch.

About the third or so time he emerged on the stairs, he had a panic in his voice.


Me: [Not moving.] Yeah? Well, what is it, buddy? A spider, maybe?


Husband: [Not concerned, possibly not even aware this conversation is taking place.]

So, I head up with my son, giggling a little and half expecting to see a small, creepy spider and psyching myself up for the encounter. PUT ON A BRAVE FACE FOR THE CHILD, MOM. When we get into his dark room, I use my phone as a flashlight to avoid waking his sleeping brother. But Plus One essentially says THIS IS NO TIME FOR FLASHLIGHT SHIT and flicks on the overhead light, pointing to where he saw the bug.

I see something moving, but I'm confused...what is it? My mind raced.

Please don't be a scorpion, please don't be a scorpion, PLEASE DON'T BE A SCORPION.

But OH. Oh...my...it was so much worse.

GO GET YOUR FATHER, I shouted at the child, frozen in my tracks.

 Do you see it? HERE LET ME HELP YOU.


A: Antennae the length of my intestines.
B: Some creepy--omfg IS IT AN EGG SAC--thing hanging off its ass.


(Barf bags are located under your seats. Yes, those are practically TEETH you see.)

My husband came upstairs and HE was the one that pieced that shit together. "It came out! It came out of the elephant!" I was still stammering, trying to figure out if I was having a full psychotic break, while simultaneously consoling my  OHMYGODNIGHTMARESAREREALPUTMEBACKINTHEWOMB child.

I don't think I was very effective, what with the leaping and shrieking and all.

Indeed, the clicking noise was because of this creature. Indeed it was in there for practically HALF A DECADE. And indeed, it had climbed out of that godforsaken elephant.

The minutes and hours that followed are kind of a blur, but I do know that my husband grabbed the thing with a paper towel and flushed it down the toilet while I danced in a corner. There was also some live-tweeting of my mental decay.

Oh, and I somehow remembered to tuck my child back into bed. My child who had endless questions about why things WERE COMING OUT OF HIS TOYS. I consoled him, said something about nature and science, and then promised him candy in the morning. He fell asleep, somehow.

I went back downstairs with my husband, who was already over it. (!!!) Then there was the part where THE ELEPHANT STARTED MAKING TICKING NOISES AGAIN EVEN AFTER WE'D KILLED THE BUG IN A CEREMONIAL FIRE WITH GASOLINE AND BABY GOATS.

We awoke this morning, shaken, but united as a family. If "united" is a picture of my husband rolling his eyes at my freak-out and my son totally NOT REMEMBERING the traumatic event.

And so I share this story with you, my friends, because I want to be sure that I'm not actually in a mental hospital having a delusion.

I just...I have so many questions.

How did my son SPOT this thing?

What if he hadn't?!