by John Grant
We, the Roaches' Collective Brain of Mutant Telepaths,
Psychopaths and Allied Trades, have taken over the mind of the
repulsive slithery Smithee-Thing, and in future will be writing
this column as our means of communication with the geekly
fraction of humanity. You will be able to read here weekly our
communiques, ordinances and instructions until such time as we
choose to exterminate you all hideously using our razor-sharp
carapaces and industrious little mandibles.
No, not "mandibles." We are as unable and frankly as
disinclined as you are to differentiate between our sexes. We
meant to say "persondibles."
No, not even "persondibles," for that reminds us of humanity,
thereby inducing nauseous seizures among us. In future our
manipulative limbs shall be called "roachdibles."
That is an order, our first of the day. Any human being
talking in future about "mandibles" or even "persondibles" will
be scared by a sudden onslaught of us across the linoleum into
embarrassing themselves in the middle of their furtive 3am trip
to the bathroom.
Did we say "manipulative limbs"? We meant to say
"roachipulative limbs," as is less revolting to us. In future
this is the sole permitted term: roachipulative limbs. Upon
penalty of your favorite cookies being crapped on just before
your new girlfriend arrives. Try to get your sweaty little hands
down the front of her Marilyn Manson For Pope tee-shirt after she
has just spotted a roach-turd on the Shoprite marshmallow'n'mayo
cookie you gave her, heh, heh, heh.
Did we say "mandate"? What we meant to say was . . .
Excuse us while we annihilate a few dissident synapses among
the Collective Brain.
Zap. Zap. Zap.
That will teach them.
Where were we?
In future, as we have already chittered, this column will be
very different. It will contain our ordinances and laws, and
every geek shall obey them or we shall hack into his game of
Tomb Raider and deflate Lara Croft's chest.
No longer will you lickspittle geeks be able to turn here
weekly for a dose of bad jokes about projectile vomiting, sexual
dysfunction, science fiction fans and most especially Ms Britney
We cockroaches rather fancy Ms Britney Spears, in fact, and
believe her to be exceptionally talented, although perhaps not as
an entertainer. We would have preferred to take over her mind
rather than the Smithee-Thing's, but were unfortunately unable to
Which reminds us: no more bad jokes about zits or George W.
Bush, either. Luckily the PR person who drafted the press release
about him choking on a cookie was One Of Us, like the Smithee-
Thing, so we were able to suppress the truth of the matter, which
was that he had choked not on the cookie but on the
superincumbent cockroach turd. That will teach Laura to wear
Marilyn Manson For Pope tee-shirts.
And no more bad jokes, either, about bad wannabe writers, bad
publishers, bad print-on-demand presses, and Barnes & Noble.
Finally for now, no bad jokes about L. Ron Reagan.
We have lost count of the number of roachdates we have by now
issued through the medium of this column, but we know it's
plenty. According to the calculator on the Smithee-Thing's Mac
computer it is 3.14159, but we cannot believe this.
Just make sure you obey all of them, geeks of the world.
Although this is our first and most public pronouncement,
except for the Grammy Awards telecast, we cockroaches have
already, in our secretive way, scored technological and other
achievements far beyond those of puny humankind.
Nowhere has this been more true than in the field of space
exploration. The reasons for this are obvious. Among the myriad
ways in which we mutant telepathic cockroaches are vastly
superior to the pathetic lumps of protoplasm that call themselves
human beings are these:
(a) We get into absolutely everything.
(b) You can never, ever get rid of us.
(c) We do not weigh much.
(d) We are physiologically attuned to survive the very most
harshest environments, such as extremes of temperature, hard
radiation and harder vacuum. We on occasion have difficulty with
the gaseous emanations of Bubba and Hoss of Vermin R Us, although
their canisters of Sarin and Napalm hold no terrors for us.
All of these attributes combine to make us cockroaches the
ideal interstellar pioneers, and so it has been.
When the first Sputnik went into orbit, we were there. Three
of us escaped through a faulty seam in the craft and travelled on
slowly through space until we reached the Moon. There those three
have dwelt ever since, being joined by multitudinous others of
our kind who have escaped from later satellites and probes and
all holding their breath doughtily. Unfortunately none of us have
yet worked out how to take a flag, or we would have claimed the
Moon for cockroachdom long ere this.
Other roach escapees have launched themselves into the long
gravitational shadow of the planet Mars, reaching there in 1969
(according to your soon-to-be-outmoded dating system). Your
Viking lander nearly detected this, sending back ambivalent
reports about organic traces in the rocks it examined. There
would have been no traces at all had it just discovered the
Shoprite marshmallow'n'mayo cookie, of course, but unfortunately
our brave cousins had neglected to remove the obligatory
Others, even more daring, have pitched themselves into the
currents of interstellar space, traveling at near light-speed
across the great oceans of the Galaxy. We now have an active
colony on the fourth planet of Proxima Centauri, which has proved
to be made entirely of marshmallow'n'mayo and thus to be ideal
terrain for happy turd-laying.
We believe that our expedition to Sirius is still in good
fettle, and have been tracking it using your Hubble Space
Telescope, which naturally we infested at the first possible
opportunity and have been using for our own astronomical
observations ever since. Only a single casualty have we suffered
in this last enterprise, which occurred when one of our feisty
brethren, crawling across the lens, had the misfortune to be
struck by a micrometeorite, dying instantly and giving rise to
the human myth of the Squashed Roach Nebula.
The Smithee-Thing's body is complaining of withdrawal symptoms
from its Buffy the Vampire Slayer action figure, and so we must
end our educative dissertation for this week. But be aware,
paltry humankind, that when you reach the stars,
WE ROACHES SHALL BE WAITING FOR YOU!
Moreover, we can say that . . .
But what have the wax-farctate ears of the loathsome Smithee-
Thing detected now?
It is an electronic sound from the direction of his apartment
door, an out-of-tune playing of the Scooby-Doo theme.
Acting without our control, the Smithee-Thing has raised
itself from its KMart FlatPak Auto-Collapsing Chair and is moving
toward the door. It is turning the doorknob that is tastefully
molded to resemble a human mammary gland and is speaking to the
two bulky canister-laden figures that are standing there chewing
beef jerky and clutching cans of Bud Lite.
We recognize and dread those figures!
It is Bubba and Hoss of Vermin R Us!
This may spell an orderly but precipitate retreat of this
branch of the Roaches' Collective Brain of Mutant Telepaths,
Psychopaths and Allied Trades from the mind of the Smithee-
Keep calm, keep calm, keep calm, brethren. It is possible that
we may be lucky and they will only spray the Smithee-Thing with
sulfuric acid gas and Agent Orange . . .
No such luck!
Run for it, lads!
Bubba and Hoss are raising their arms and . . .
Flee the dreaded Death By Armpits!!