attacked! a domestic disturbance in three acts

theater mask

Characters, in order of appearance:

1. Innocent, Unsuspecting Home Owner a.k.a. IUHO (pronounced eww-ho)

2. Attacker

ACT I

IUHO innocently goes through the piles of junk mail that have accumulated on what she and her husband call their “bistro table,” which is taller than most tables, attached to the wall, and necessitates stools rather than chairs. It is the perfect place to perch for breakfast when it isn’t covered in junk mail:

Bistro Table

IUHO sighs. She vows to go through the mail more often than every three months.

ACT II

Suddenly, a large creature lands on her Citibank bill. It has appeared from above. It is part spider, part grasshopper, part bat, part alien. Though it is probably only about an inch in diameter, it seems to IUHO to be as large as a basketball. She notes that he has striped legs, and wonders if he stole his tights off the Wicked Witch of the West.

mysterious attacker

IUHO emits a blood-curdling shriek that can be heard for miles around. Little does she know that things are about to get much, much worse.

ACT III

Just as quickly as the creature arrived, he jumps toward her and…disappears. Though IUHO occasionally overreacts, she is a relatively logical person. She therefore knows that if she cannot see him, he has probably not actually disappeared, but, rather, he is ON her. Upon this realization, she goes utterly berserk, blind with fear. She convulses spastically, in the process kicking her knee into one of the bistro stools, so that it bursts into the air before toppling. Though pain shoots up and down her leg, she flies across the room on the wings of adrenaline, windmilling her arms with the force of 1000 turbines. In self protection, she rips off her long sweater and flings it to the ground.

flung sweater

Swatting at her hair and still in a panic, she looks around for her attacker but cannot see any sign of him. She bravely tiptoes back to the sweater and drags it a few inches. Aha, there he is. He leaps again in her direction then pauses. IUHO picks up her foot and aims, glad that she has sneakers on, as opposed to just socks or bare feet. She stomps once, twice. And a few more times, just to make sure.

When it’s all over, she slides down the wall, heaving, sweat pouring from her brow. Her kneecap is shattered (okay, just bloodied and a bit bruised). She is proud of herself: she has learned today that she is a survivor. On the other hand, she is also ashamed: she is capable of great violence. She knows her husband, for example, would have dealt with this matter calmly, and with a modicum of kindness. She never should have read The Hunger Games (or any Shakespeare, for that matter.)

She wonders if she’ll ever be able to walk again. If she’ll ever get the courage to go through her mail at the bistro table again. If she should burn that sweater, though its one of her favorites.

THE END

(Note: Since this play first premiered, there have been two other… “performances” with different, but identical creatures playing the part of the attacker. Fortunately, IUHO’s husband was “in the theater” both times, thereby dialing down the drama by several thousand watts, so she was able to obtain the above photo documentation perfect for the playbill…)

(On another note: DOES ANYONE KNOW WHAT THIS CRAZY, BIONIC HYBRID OF A MONSTER IS? AND WHY WE HAVE NOW SEEN THREE OF THEM IN OUR HOUSE? PLEASE HELP!)

(Addendum: Commenter Kevin, below, does seem to have correctly identified this as a “cave cricket” – the photos do match up and so does the behavior…Wikipedia says, Given their limited vision, cave crickets will often jump towards any perceived threat in an attempt to frighten it away…Yup. Fortunately, though I scoured the fine print, it doesn’t say anything about blinding acid.)

23 replies

  1. I think that may be a Cave Cricket. The good news is that they don’t bite. The bad news? They spit huge gobs of blinding acid!

    • Ahhhhhhh! I am running away from my house at the speed of light never to return again!!! (But thank you for your information – knowledge is…power, or in this case more fear…)

  2. This can only to be topped by the prequel “There’s a Mouse in my Purse”

    On another note, even having lived in the tropics for years, I have never laid my eyes on such a thing!

    Good luck sleeping 🙂

    • Oh Ann-Marie, Did you have to bring that up?! I have been in therapy for many years working through the PTSD caused by the “there’s a mouse in my purse” incident. Thank you also for your heartfelt well wishes on my sleep. Harrumfph! 🙂

  3. You will pay, evil IUHO for the death of my comrade Grasshopper Alien Mutant Spider. As we speak I am gathering the forces of the Dark Ant Queen to assault the ramparts of your windowsills. This is not over….

  4. Oh. My. Gosh. I can’t believe it jumped at you! Twice! The flying stool did me in. Glad I wasn’t reading this in public. 🙂

    And now that I know there is such a thing as a cricket that spits acid, the world is a hair less lovely.

  5. Large crawly things seem to like you! Do you recall the cockroaches so large their noisy walking woke you up at night in college???? I would have thought that would have better prepared you for this. Clearly getting soft in your old age…..

    • Do I RECALL them? I still have nightmares! That wicker waste basket was buckling under the weight of those things! Duct tape was a critical part of my defense tactic back then – I wonder if it will help this time…?

  6. Attack of the Spider Crickets!We used to have those critters in the basement of our Larchmont house.That is why we moved,just kidding.But I had never seen that kind of bug before and it scared the heck out of me while i was doing laundry downthere! My cat used to stalk the crickets…however it was very off putting listening to her masticate one.I think it really did a number on her digestive system.Kitty is no longer with us.

  7. This play was so well written that MY skin is crawling! Thankfully IUHO didn’t have to cut her long, wavy locks.
    I am married to the type of man who would tenderly take this strange creature into his loving hands and gently place it outside. Which of course, just means I am convinced it will return for me.
    Having lived through THREE creature sightings…IUHO and her Mister must move from their home immediately.

    • ha! my hubs and yours have the same technique – puts all little creatures right outside with lots of TLC.

      I guess we are going to have to move away from our dream house…I’m sure there’s a lot of other houses exactly like this out there (sans cave crickets!)

  8. Dear Ms. Tome, As a new reader, I apologize profusely for taking up so much of your space so soon. It’s all Suzanne’s fault that I’ve discovered your blog, and now I’m afraid you’ll never get rid of me! I love the way you write about life. I, too, have written a similarly disturbing play, which I’ll share here in empathy:
    “Frightened!! Grossed Out! A Skit About a Domestic Disturbance in 2 Acts”
    CHARACTERS IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE:
    1. Innocent, Unsuspecting Apartment Renter a.k.a. IUAR (pronounced eww-aarrrgh!)
    2. Spider-As-Big-and-As-Fast-As-a-Mouse (AKA SABAFAM)
    ACT I IT IS LATE EVENING
    CURTAIN OPENS ON A [relatively] DOMESTIC SCENE:
    IUAR is sitting on the orange shag-carpeted floor of her first apt’s LR. The decor includes vintage furniture and accoutrements. She is surrounded by books, index cards and large tablet, working on a college paper. [Note the absence of a computer; this is circa 1985.] There is no hubby in sight.
    A movement catches IUAR’s eye, as a SABAFAM streaks across the floor from nowhere. She screams, and jumps up, wildly looking around for it. She’s hopping around, as her bare feet now feel very vulnerable. She recoils when she finds the SABAFAM has perched on her sweater, which she has tossed in a heap on the floor with her sandals. (She is always barefoot at home.) She grabs a weapon, and faces off, making eye contact with this intruder. With all her might, and with an accompanying war cry, she swats the SABAFAM so hard it bounces off the sweater and disappears! She rakes the area with her eyes (no actual rake avail.), eventually giving up the search and retreating to her bedroom. The assignment has been forgotten.
    ACT II THE NEXT MORNING
    SCENE 1– IUAR has slept poorly. She rushes around the apt. in the usual chaos of preparing for her first class of the day. Finally, with an eye on the clock, she searches for her huaraches. There they are, in the LR. She slips them on, and then like the sensitive Princess on a stack of mattresses, she feels a wadded up piece of thread in the toe of the sandal.
    Taking it off, she shakes it down, and THERE IT IS!! Her life passes before her eyes. She at once is thankful her deadly swat was successful, but Eeww-aarrrgh!! She realizes her toes have Touched It!!! [non-verbal cues: shaking, screaming, howling] IUAR dances in horror around the sandal on the floor, unsure of her next move.
    SCENE II– The screaming IUAR picks up the offending huarache and holds it at arm’s length as she races away to an off-stage bathroom. There, between howls, the audience hears the toilet flush. The LIGHTS FADE to the sound of whimpering in the distance. The audience sits stunned, somehow knowing this pair of sandals will not be worn again for a very long time.
    (It turns out this is not very brief at all, but you should see the original manuscript. I have edited out huge chunks of extraneous non-verbals.)
    I hope you don’t block me from your blog; I promise to never be this bold again! Sincerely, Suzanne’s “Aunt Barb”

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