Freudian Slips: Smug as a Bug in a Rug

Freudian SlipsImage Hosted by


My Photo
Location: Irony, New Jersey, United States

Life takes us many places. It's a box of chocolates and a Hansel and Gretal trail of candy wrappers. I have filmed as an actor in The Happening, Invincible, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, The Greek American, Bazookas, Limitless, TV's Its Always Sunny in Philly, Outlaw, New York, The Warrior, The Nail, Game Change, Cold Case, & commercial work includes The Philadelphia Eagles, Septa, Coors, Turbo Tax & Carnival Cruises. Freudian Slips spotlights irony in short story format.

May 12, 2005

Smug as a Bug in a Rug

undisclosed residence in Salem County, New Jersey circa 1992
This may read like a scene from the TV show X-Files but it happened. I have called my immediate supervisor out in the field of a bad section of town. He accompanied me for backup and to see what the heck I do for a living. A few factors necessitated our visit. The client had just been released from jail, the family maintained no phone, and a certified letter had not been signed for.
As I drive closer to our destination, the terrain graduates from rural to urban. Seated beside me, my supervisor chooses to lecture me on Salem County's rich history dating back to colonial times. He talks about grand daddy oak trees, historical sites, and the antiquity of the period architecture. His rosy upbeat comments serve a purpose. They always did. No word, not even the clearing of his throat, was ever wasted with this man. His smug commentary is his passive aggressive way of letting me know I yanked him from the staple of his desk.
Soon we pass drug dealers working the corner. I turn. I park the company car on a street that does not look passable with a blanket of broken glass and shells of abandoned cars. Half of the homes are boarded up, the other half are half-way houses. People mill about the street looking for something to do at 11am other than wait for the mail. Only the town's graveyard housed less life. The people are curious about us in their neighborhood. They also seem suspect about the government marked car. Cars bearing the same marking have been vandalized. Without any choice in the matter, we exit.
We make passage through a screened in porch to gain entry into a quaint narrow home. The mother of my client answers the door. After introductions, she grandmotherly motions us to sit down on a rough and tumble couch. It is the focal point of an otherwise drab sitting room. A game show competes with snowy static on a television set. A portable fan is pointed in our direction.
We come bearing good intentions. We are primed to talk to the mother about mental health services for her son but we quickly learn that he is not home. His mother cliams he has fatally wrung the neck of a cat yesterday. It is a real conversation opener for my supervisor but I know for a fact that isn't the first cat he has slaughtered. The putrid smell from a bucket of excrement used as a personal latrine lingers down the steep staircase. I have been to his bedroom so I recognize the foul smell carrying in the summer air. We are in the home only two minutes before we are interrupted.
The rap of three savage knocks, the kind heard right before a swat team breaks down the door.
"Open up in there. Department of Health."
The mother saunters to the front door as if her home is raided every day. She opens the front door wide as can be. From where we are sitting we can only hear the authoritative voice of the health inspector.
"I told you I would be back. Lady, you got them bad, real bad."
Smocked in a cooking apron, she digs her hands deep into her front pockets. "Nah, can't be that bad."
"Lady, I'm telling you like nobody's business. You got them bigger than I have ever seen in my life. Nobody around the office even believes me. You are infested. They are in the floorboards, behind the walls, I found them crawling out in the ceiling between floors."
Once we heard floorboards, our feet kind of tippy toed. Once we heard walls, we stared at the four walls entombing us, when the man said ceiling our eyes became glued to the rafters. We were puppets of fear.
Comedy couldn't be scripted any better when the inspector added, "You might even want to toss your furniture but that is totally up to you."
The mere mention of furniture caused our butts to raise off of the couch. We are standing before the mother even turned around. At this point, my supervisor and I both had the heebie jeebies.
The inspector outside the door continued, "I got an exterminator on his way over here. We got to get this under control. Today!"
My supervisor ended the meeting before it really began. "Joe, we are out of here. O-U-T!"
I too shake the mother's hand. "We will stop back when your son is here. We needed to talk to him anyway."
We were out of there in a hurry. On the ride back to the office, I have never seen my supervisor less coy. Gone were the stories favoring the historical area gone to blight. There was no more mention of General Hancock's storied bridge, the soldiery at Fort Mott, or sunken ships in the nearby Delaware River. He was buggin and so was I.
"Do you think she had cockroaches or what?" my supervisor asked not too long in the car.
"Cockroaches? I was thinking vampire bats." I said it smug as a bug in a rug.



Blogger Lost said...

Egad, it could have been almost anything couldn't it? Rats, mice, fleas ......just gives you the willies thinking about it LOL

9:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This story is reminiscence of one summer in 1944. My home sweet home had an infestation of bed bugs that scared the hell out of even the local rats that visited us from time to time. Come to think of it, I didn't see any rats that summer. It took all of the hardware store's normal yearly supply of DDT in order to get rid of the little/big bastards. My parents had to throw out a couple of mattresses, a sofa, and quite a few other items. I don't know which was worse? The bed bugs or the putrid odor of the DDT. Due to the loss of blood from being sucked on every night by the bed bugs and being nauseous from the fumes of the DDT, it's no wonder that I look pale in all the old photos from that summer. So, that house could have had anything, even a lousy case of bed bugs. (we got the bed bugs from a sofa that was donated to us) Eeeeek! You and your boss sat on a sofa. I agree with (Lost)....just give you the willies thinking about it. ET

9:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Memo: Read Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, which in 1962 exposed the hazards of the pesticide DDT. In 1972, the general use of the pesticide DDT was no longer legal in the United States. ET

10:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This must be a case for Gil Grissom's entomology! for those who love CSI. chi

6:11 PM  
Blogger justrose said...

omg ...i am not a big "eek!" bug person, but too much of anything is a problem. i know this, i went to an inner-city high school where they were so big they had saddles and there were regular wild-west showdowns.

i'm talking about roaches, of course.

8:08 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

nice lineup of usual suspects. bats would have been too much like Dark Shadows.

with that DDT, it is no wonder people have skin diseases.

You are spending too much time in the United States if you are referencing CSI.

saddles, that is too funny.

1:04 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Free Image Hosting at