"In the Cracks of the Wall"
Copyright 1999 Lawrence Goetz

In the early hours of the morning, within the cracks in the wall of the Cook's house, behind the Cook's refrigerator, little Timmy asked his mother, "Mama, when will daddy be back with our food?"

"Soon dear," his mother, Sally, cheerfully said, "He left a little while ago with the tribe. They went to look on the kitchen table to see if there are any crumbs left to eat."

"I hope daddy finds some big crumbs, I starving."

"Be patient, Timmy. He'll be here soon, don't worry."

Every night and early in the morning the tribe went out to search for food. They would look usually on, or near the kitchen table. This is where most of the crumbs would be.

The kitchen had the light's off, because the Cook family had not gotten up for the day. On the table were the members of the tribe gathering breakfast.

"Ok Joe, this is the last load of the crumbs. Let's bring them back to the lair," said Bruno, Timmy's father, who is also leader of the tribe.

The tribe put the crumbs on their backs and began to carry them back.

Upstairs the Cook's alarm clock went off. "Honey, could you please go downstairs and start the coffee," Mrs. Cook said.

"Ok, dear," said Mr. Cook.

Mr. Cook went down to make the coffee. He headed for the kitchen. He walked into the kitchen and turned on the lights. As soon as Mr. Cook turned on the lights, he saw brown dots dash along the kitchen table at lighting speed. He was mad, because he knew that these brown dots were roaches! He tried to step on them, but they were too fast.

The roaches ran back to their lair's. Bruno catching his breath told Sally "A-a-a human came into the kitchen today. It was a close one. Next time the other members and I will go out early, so as not to be seem by the humans."

Sally nervously said "Are you alright, did he try and hurt you?"

"Well, he did try and step on us. We all got away unharmed, but as I said before, we'll go out early as not to get caught."

"Tell Timmy, not to play where the humans are. If he sees a human, he is to run and hide."

"Timmy," said Bruno.

"Yes daddy."

"Today when I was gathering food with the rest of the tribe, a human found us. He wanted to hurt us. Timmy, listen to me, never go where you see any humans. If you are somewhere and you see a human coming near you, run and hide. Please follow these rules. I don't want anything to happen to you."

"Ok daddy. I won't go where I see humans, and if I see them I'll hide."

"Good boy."

Mr. Cook stopped by the hardware store on the way home from work.

"Excuse me, sir," Mr. Cook asked the hardware store worker.

"How may I help you," said the worker.

"I just moved in to my house a few weeks ago. Today I noticed, for the first time, roaches! What can I do to get rid of them?"
"Well we have an all purpose bug bomb that will kill every roach in the entire house..."

"No, I don't want to kill the roaches. My wife and I belong to many animal rights groups, and don't want to kill anything, although when I saw the little critters running on the table, I lost control, and tried to step on them."

"Ok, ok, I get your point. Well then maybe you'll be interested in an ultra sonic bug and rodent chaser."

"My son has some pet white mice, would it harm them?"

"Let me look at the box... It says here if you have mice or gerbils don't use this product."

"Oh I don't want that, then."

"Ok I got some non-lethal roach bates. Wombat makes them."

"How do they get rid of roaches?"

"You just place the bates where ever you see roaches. The roaches eat the food in the bates. When the food makes it's way into their digestive tracks, it causes them to have a bad case of diarrhea."

"The roaches don't die, do they?"

"No, the roaches get sick. When they eat enough, they get even more sick. They're not too bright. They think the house is making them sick so they leave."

"Does this really work?"

"It's scientifically proven. Plus, you have a one hundred percent money back guarantee if dissatisfied."

"Ok, I'll take a box."

"That'll be three dollars and ninety five cents."

So, when Mr. Cook got home, he placed the bates under the kitchen table, near the refrigerator, and near the cabinets. When the roaches went looking for food later, they didn't know what the humans had in store for them.

"Hey Joe, look at this," Bruno said.

"What is it?" said Joe.

"I don't know. Let me take a look inside," Bruno said.

So Bruno crawled inside, unbeknownst to him that it was a roach bate. "I smell something good, real good," said Bruno.

"Take it out," said Joe.

Bruno pulled out a white chalky looking clump of something and screamed "Food!"

"Hey Bruno," said Joe, "We've never seen any food that looked like this."

"Yeah," said Bruno, "I'll call another member over to see if he knows what it could be."
"Hey Jimmy," said Bruno, holding the food that he found, "Do you know what this is?"

"I don't know for sure, but it looks like some poison I once found when I living in the house next store."

"Poison... Hmm... I think we'll have to bring this to Big Chief Rokar."

Rokar is the oldest and wisest member of the tribe. Many years back, the tribe declared him Big Chief Rokar. Ever since, the tribe meets with Rokar for all important issues. Rokar was once the leader, but due to his age, he appointed Bruno last year, leader of the tribe.

"Big Chief Rokar," said Bruno, "We have found this food," Bruno showed Rokar the food, "in the kitchen in a little black box. We are wondering, is it safe to eat?"

"Jimmy thinks it might be poison," said Joe.

"Yeah yeah," said Jimmy.

Big Chief Rokar took one look and smelled it and said, "This is poison! The humans are trying to get rid of us! We must call a tribal meeting at once. Go Bruno, leader of the tribe, signal all the families to the meeting place."

So Bruno screamed a loud screeching sound, that only roaches could hear. This told the roaches to come to the meeting place, the burner room, in the basement. The roaches always held their meeting near the nice warm and cozy burner.

All the adult roaches came to the meeting. "Everyone listen up," said Bruno, "Big Chief Rokar has something very important he has to said."

Big Chief Rokar made his speech, "Fellow roaches, listen to what I have to say. We are in great danger!"

"What is it Big Chief?" said a member.

"The humans are trying to get rid of us! They have poison traps in the house. They are little black boxes, with white powdery food. If you eat this food, as I once did many years ago, you get a very bad case of diarrhea. Each time you eat it, the worse the diarrhea gets. Until one day you can't stand to live in a house with the traps, so you leave. After the humans see that you left they stop putting down the traps. Then you move back in and the whole cycle happens over ago. Put down the traps, roaches go away. Roaches come back, put down the traps. We will not have traps in our domain. We will make it known to all the roaches, never to be seen by the humans. Remember, roaches were around since the dawn of time, and we will be here till the end. We will never go near the traps. Never eat anything that looks suspicious. And most important, never let the humans see us. If they think we are gone they will stop placing traps. We will only go out hunting for food at night when the humans are sleeping. We will have lookouts placed in different locations throughout the house to check on the humans whereabouts. If you see any suspicious food, you are to report it to me. I want you, when you go back to your lair's, to tell your children what is going on, and help them follow the rules. Meeting adjourned."

So Bruno and his wife when home right away to tell Timmy what is going on.

"Timmy, you father has something very important to tell you," Timmy's mother said.

"What is it daddy?" Timmy asked.

"Son, remember I told you to stay away from the humans?"

"Yes."

"Well, the humans are trying to get ride of us?"

"Why?"

"I don't know son. We don't mean them any harm. We just live peacefully in the cracks of their home, never bother them. We just take the food that they leave behind that they don't want. And now that they see us walking amongst them, minding our own business, they want us gone. They're the one's that should move out, not us. Do we try and attack them? No! Do we set traps for them? No! Can't we all just get a long?"

"I wish I could help."

"You can. Big Chief Rokar told us to tell our children something. The humans have set traps for us."

"What kind of traps?"

"Traps that if you eat the food in them, you'll get sick. The traps are black boxes, with white powder in them. Never go near them and don't ever eat from them."

"I'll never go near them or eat from them daddy."

"Also remember never to go near the humans, or let them see you. Big Chief Rokar said if the humans don't see us, they'll think we are gone, and will stop pulling down traps."

"Ok, daddy. I won't let the mean nasty humans see me."

"Good boy."

"I love you daddy!"

"I love you too, and so does you mother, make us proud of you son."

"I will."

The next day Timmy went out to play. He made sure not to go where the humans were and he stayed away from the traps. He played with his friends then decided to take a walk on his own. He wandered into the bad side of the house. The place where the roach gangs hang out. "Come over here," said Dodo, a gang member.

"Yes?" said Timmy.

"Ya see dat black box over dhere, kid?" said Czar, the gang leader.

"Yes, my daddy told me never to go near it or eat the food inside," Timmy said.

"He's lying to ya. Dat stuff's as sweet as sugar. Me and da boys will goes over dhere and get some for ya. Stay right here," said Czar.

The gang went to the trap and got some of the food. The leader told the gang, "I'll put some of da food in this here sack. We'll alls pretend to eat dis stuff. Da kid'll eat it and he'll get diarrhea. Ha Ha."

"Here ya go kid," said a Czar, as he was handing the food to Timmy.

"I don't know..." said Timmy.

"What's da matter kid?" said Czar.

"My daddy told me never to eat it."

"I told da it's sweet like sugar. Look, we'll eat some to show ya dat it's good."

The gang stuck there hands in the sack. Then they put their hands to their mouth and pretended to eat. "Hmm, tastes good," they said.

"Want some, kid?" said the Czar.

"No, that's bad stuff. I'm leaving."

Then Timmy left for his lair.

"Da kid's smarter than I thought. Hey Dodo what's ya eating?"

"Da food from Da trap, tastes just like sugar," said Dodo.

"Ya idiot your not supposed to eat it, your supposed to pretend to eat it, pretend," said Czar.

"Czar?" said Dodo.

"What is it?!"

"I got to go to the bathroom."

When Timmy got home he told his parents what had happened.

"Daddy, Mama, come here," said Timmy.

"What's the matter," said his mother.

"I was walking and some roaches tried to trick me into eating some of the food from the traps."

"Did you eat any?" said his father.

"No. I know that it is bad, and just said 'no.'"

"Good boy. We're proud of you."

"Bruno," said Sally, "I don't want our son, or anyone else's child hurt. At the next tribal meeting, I want to report that some roaches are trying to get others to eat from the traps. I should let the parents know that some gangs are influencing our children to take poison."

"Ok, dear," Bruno said, "At tonight's meeting, I'll let you announce to all the parents what's going on."

"Big Chief Rokar," Bruno said during the meeting, "my wife wishes to make a speech to the parents about the traps."

"Your wife my speak," Rokar said.

"Fellow parents," said Sally, "Today my son was asked by some gangs to eat the food from the traps. You must make your children aware that some roaches are trying to influence others to eat from the poison. Tell them if someone tries to give them the food from the traps, or food they don't know where it came from, they should 'No' and run away."

"Very good Sally," said Rokar, "All should listen to what Sally said. Don't let you children eat the food from the traps, and neither should you. I would like to report that the humans have not been seeing us. They think that the traps are working and that we have left. If we keep this up long enough they will take away the traps and not put down new ones. Remember don't let the humans see you. Meeting adjourned."

A few weeks later Mrs. Cook told Mr. Cook "I haven't seen any roaches since you got the traps. They must have worked. You can get rid of the traps."

Mr. Cook collected the traps and placed them in the trash.

One of the lookout roaches noticed this and reported it to Big Chief Rokar.

Rokar told Bruno to call for a tribal meeting.

"Fellow roaches," Rokar said, "It gives me great pleasure in telling you that the humans have removed the traps. Even though the traps are gone, we must still stay out of the humans sight. I am also glad to say that none of our children have eaten from the traps. Out of all the roaches that are in this house, only one roach ate from the traps, Dodo, a gang member, who got a nasty case of diarrhea."

The Cook's never again saw the roaches come out for food. And they never again bought anything to get rid of the roaches. The roaches lived happily ever after.