I awoke to find myself eyeball-to-eyeball with a Locust from the Fifth Trumpet of the Apocalypse.
I sprang maybe four feet into the air above my bed, screaming silently so as not to wake my friends — I had caused them enough grief already that night. As I hit the mattress, I snatched up the pillow and clobbered the locust upside the head, knocking it over. I slammed the pillow down over its body, pinning it with my left arm and pounding it with my right fist for my very soul. I was not going to let this armored, bearded, crowned demon from the smokey pits of hell share my bed. Not alive, anyway.
Unfortunately, it was a fluffy down-filled pillow, and my punches had little impact on my adversary’s steel-and-bronze exoskeleton. With my teeth chattering, I pulled the pillow back and peeked. Maybe it was really just a nightmare. The night had been adventurous enough: maybe this was just a manifestation of my overwrought nerves.
I was in the middle of a (supposedly) party weekend with my friends on the legendary Greek island of Mykonos. They had invited me along at more or less the last minute. All I needed to bring was a swim suit and a few bucks, but too bad for them, I brought along a lot of emotional baggage too. I had caused a scene at dinner, thrown myself into the ocean, and then, humiliated, I had reluctantly rejoined them. In retrospect, I am glad I neither drowned in the Aegean nor refused to rejoin the group. If I had done either, I would have missed the visit to the Club New Paradise, and the male strip show at midnight, to the accompaniment of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean”. If nothing else, that spectacle alone redeemed the whole trip.
And now it was 3 AM and I was wrestling in bed with Tantacula, Godzilla’s Insect Nemesis. I pulled the pillow back… oh god, it was all real. And it was still thrashing.
Now I held the pillow down with my left hand and both knees and whaled on that poor thing as if to stave off a horde of swarming, sucking demons of eternal torment.
I was coming rather unhinged when one of my room mates rolled over and mumbled “Glen, please… give it a rest…”
“I’m — it’s — there’s a — bug — or a dog — something — in my bed — no, really!” I tried to beat the pillow with all my might more quietly. That proved ineffective. All I could think to do was keep the beast pinned under the pillow. Maybe it would starve to death. Or suffocate. Carefully keeping the pressure on, I rearranged myself on the mattress and gingerly rested my head directly over where I believed the creature to be struggling. Maybe it would go to sleep. Or die of thirst. Or chew its way through the pillow and into my brain. I lay there motionless, heart pounding, cold sweat matting the pillow. I could hear it swearing at me.
Next thing I knew there was daylight in the room and my friends were moving about, dressing. No one looked at me. I sprang to my knees, hands still firmly on the pillow. I slowly peeled it away. There was still a chance I had dreamed it all up.
But no. I was Chief, and there was R.P. McMurphy — his nasty, insectal, Jack Nicholson mug twisted and hideous in death, staring up at me: “You did this to me! And I will haunt you always, even from the gates of hell from whence I issued forth!”
I slipped off the bed and muttered “A bug. See? There. I wasn’t — it was — there really was — I –”
David cut me off with a grunt and without another word we finished dressing, and left to meet the girls for breakfast. Oh, it was a weekend to remember. Or forget.