Miss Mangelli’s Antennaed Pest Problem by Charles J. March III

Many moons after the Mexican Revolution, just inshore from a harbor in California where roaches are in the swim alongside anglers, and where many of the revolutionaries’ ancestors work for burghers who are whiter than a bakery cockroach—a hornet’s nest was in the wings, as a toothsome woman was unknowingly harboring something less smashing.

Twelve days after Christmas, during Epiphany, in the darkness of dawn’s workday buttcrack, before a fowl ruddy cock could cock-a-doodle-doo, William collected a phone call from his AA swain on his Bluetooth antenna headset, and while on the lapis tush—his pet parrot escaped and hightailed it over the cuckoo's nest which Billy hung his hat on, which caused the cockatoo’s best friend, Willy’s poor cockapoo, to gnash his teeth and eat crow.

Even though the cock had yet to crow, this cock of the wall was at full cock, and after cocking his ear to the phone to see what she had to say, he cocked his eye when he heard what was coming through. Although his querida was shrieking, he thought she might have been playing a practical joke on him like they do in England during Epiphany; nevertheless, it warmed the cockles of his heart to hear what she had ridiculously requested of him, as this was his time to prove to him and her that chivalry was not dead indeed, in this feminist time and independence place.

So, he grabbed a cockroach insecticide-tinged LaCroix for the road, and set out in his Sonata, while singing Skip to My Lou and Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah.

Upon approaching her newly acquired modest domicile, which was situated on the edge of a moor, in a neighborhood with a notable number of Moors, a moorcock crossed his footpath, and he took it as a tern sign.

Like a Roach’s dormouse, he had recently started spending more and more consecutive nights there, and as he came to the door, he had a sneaking suspicion that this roach motel had somehow become a baited trap, even though they had both recently stopped ingesting poisons.

Nevertheless, as he marched into his church mouse's house, he reminded himself that he was a man, not a mouse.

As it happened, the Wise Man penetrated the portal, where, Miss Mangelli, who, was up in arms and swallowing Lobster Thermidor, scampered to him, and he swaddled his claws around her in commiseration, and commenced to query her about what happened.

She began to say that she went outside to investigate her clogs, to see if the Kings had left her a gift, which they did indeed, and it came out of the woodwork, jammed through the door, and blessed her nest. She then proceeded to put on her clogs, and did a zapateado, La Cucaracha dance, implicitly stomping the yard of the arthropod. (If she had a Saturday night special, she would have obliterated it lock, stock, and barrel.)

As they both looked upon the poor, ice cold stiff, without even a CJJ III coin to its name, Miss Mangelli asked Willy what kind of cockroach he thought it was.

“Indian domino, motherfucker!” he pipped. But, as soon as he said that senseless expression, which was full of false Ebonic confidence, a domino shitshow windfall effect started to befall him. He felt like boric acid was starting to bore into his brain through the pricking wounds of a porcupine roach headdress, which caused his thoughts to scatter, and an illuminating epiphany began to color his aura.

Miss Mangelli conjectured that it was actually a gregarious German cockroach, and asked her jolly gay fellow of an anonymous fellowship what he concepted the sex to be.

As they concentrated on the cockroach, whom his lady had trampled to death, Billy bent over and realized that his church basement meeting leader lover had been the sexton of a correctly identified female comrade.

As he starred, her rigor mortis corpse became about as absurd as Rick and Morty to Billy, and he started to curse the primitive pest’s crura in the name of technology, albeit—unbeknownst to him—the spines on the pins of these invertebrates have been the inspiration for robot members. He then thought about how she, much like them, would never again pull an all-nighter, and that even if they had some—no amount of marihuana fumar from the butt of a fag could make this broken legged insect walk the boards again.

He cudgeled his brain about her being a good girl this last year, or if she had rightfully been bestowed a gram of Yule clog coal.

Like it or lump it, his epiphany started to glow ever the brighter, and Billy thought about the possibility of God being in every living thing, which could in fact make this little girl God incarnate. Ipso-facto, that would make this 3 amigo, gingerbread man’s foxy, punch-drunk bodyguard the judge, jury, and crucifier of the King of the Jews—but I suppose it never had a chance in a court of fowl.

As he gawped his Pilate, he could tell that the only thing she was feeling in that moment was the gratitude of not having to ever see the winged roach take flight, which whanged a large weight away from her manhandling shoulders, and let her Holy Spirit soar. Willy could only imagine how loud her screams would have been if it came to that, and he wondered if he had ever caused her screams to reach such a climax.

Then, as he put his legs and back into erecting himself upright from his squat, she could see the flaccid, Three King fruitcake look on his face, and realized, by default, that he had failed her proving ground test to see if he could be her protector until death’s part.

The royal icing on the cake was that they were considering moving in together, and Willy was planning on proposing to, and impregnating her.

Perceiving this, and determined to have his cake and eat it too, the hopeful groom-to-be grabbed the bug, and, like Scarface—buried it in in the garbage bin, while thinking about how this well-groomed antennaed pest’s life was coming full circle, as it probably spent the lion’s share of it in feculent conditions.

Then, determined to prove his worth, he told his mistress that if there was one, he was pretty positive that their ovipositors had laid more, so he brought her to the bedroom as the first place to search for the bright white baby nymph breeding ground, to also remind her of better times, and to prevent anymore bedbugs from biting.

She exclaimed no, that her knight in exoskeleton armor’s actions had been enough of an infanticide, that she had a big day ahead of her at the International Women’s AA Conference in L.A, and that she’d have to sleep on the notion of even continuing their amour.

So, with his head hung low, he headed for the doorway, and with it ajar, he dejectedly turned to her and proposed his plan of calling her later. She then proceeded to jam the door in his face, and this Magi without any tangible gifts did a disappearing act from the premises. When he returned to the funny farm, he began to miss the misses, so he extended himself to his management information system and said, “Hey, Google,”...but, he billy-o latched onto the idea that IT couldn’t console him this time. Subsequently, he thought about how even if they were to conceive and begin a nuclear family, long after the suckling would have inherited their bequeathed wealth, the cockroaches would ever be inheriting the earth, even after a nuclear blast.

He then mused on if by Valentine’s Day, if he were to denominate a cockroach at his community menagerie, if it’d be the cognoman of a hexed ex, or an active sex partner…

It is now deep into February, about a month since Miss Mangelli dropped that deep-sixed bomb on poor Billy, and the battle of the sexes has ceased, the insects of their souls have commenced singing to one another, and this recovering opiate addict is still scribbling poppycock as bombastically beautiful and flightless as a peacock.

Charles J. March III is a person currently living in California. His works have appeared in or are forthcoming from Evergreen Review, Chicago Tribune, L.A. Times, 3:AM Magazine, BlazeVOX, Expat Press, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, Maudlin House, Misery Tourism, Litro, Otoliths, et al. More can be found on LinkedIn & SoundCloud.