A great wave of fear filters through the body at the thought of creatures that slither and crawl. Of all the bugs, snakes, and spiders in this vast universe the appearance, feel, and behavior of the tree roach can induce a panic as intense as a heart attack.

The appearance of a roach is fearful in itself. One of the frightening things about a roach is its shape. It is scary to think how aerodynamic its body is. The roach can flatten its body like a pancake, making it appear to move through walls. The "V" shaped antennae appear to be picking up human emotions, especially fear. The size of a roach can send my heart into my throat. I have seen roaches on my countertop two and one half inches long. Johnny Carson had an African variety on his show that was three inches long. It's frightening to think roaches are so big that Raid had to create a motel for them. Seeing a roach crawling in filthy places reminds us of the germs it carries. My skin shudders when I see a roach in the toilet. Roaches love to crawl in the grime under the kitchen sink. I once saw a roach bouncing in the dirt of one of my potted plants as if it were a puppy who had just received a bath.

Fear can turn into convulsions as actual contact with a roach is made. Every nerve fires at the same time when a roach crawls on the skin. I became physically ill with fear when a roach ran up my bare leg. Once one jumped from a box into my lap and all my extremities thrashed about while trying to remove the bug from my skin. The ultimate contact was when the roach ran across my face; I wanted to die! Getting a roach caught in my hair was frightening--no, traumatic. A romantic evening on the porch turned into a scene out of "Psycho" when a roach dropped on my hair. Dinner was ruined when a roach dropped down the back of my dress at an outdoor restaurant. Momentary skin contact with a roach is bad; stepping on one spells phobia. The crunch of a big roach as it is stepped on sends waves up my spine. I get sick when I see the mess on the bottom of my shoe. I am afraid to step on something that big; it really needs to be run over by a car.

I fear most the behavior of the roach. The unpredictable movements of the roach are to be seriously feared. Roaches can move at warp speed; even Captain Kirk would be envious. I have crept into the garage where roaches are running in all directions at the same time. I have frantically waved newspapers at a roach hoping it would run the opposite direction only to have it race toward me. A roach without wings is bad enough, but Satan himself must have created the flying roach. My blood seems to drain from my body when I see a roach fly across the room. The first time a roach flew at me something snatched my breath and I began to hyperventilate. I fear not knowing where they are going to land once they start to fly. Likewise, I fear the eating habits of the roach. They eat human skin! I have seen a roach eat dog food that even the dog wouldn't eat. I am afraid of anything that has a diet ranging form human skin to sawdust.

As one can see, the appearance, feel, and behavior of the tree roach makes this a creature to be feared. Other bugs, snakes, and spiders have been on earth for a long time. Roaches have been around since the dinosaurs, but I fear they will not meet with the same fate.

--Penny Brown