I am not a Daddy Long Legs behavioural expert — and thinking about it, which I am now desperately trying not to as it gives me the creeps massively, I’m not sure how anyone could be, seeing as even they don’t seem to know where the hell they’re going — but I know one thing for sure: if one flies into my bedroom late at night just before I go to sleep, there’s NO WAY I’m closing my eyes until that Daddy Long Legs is either dead or incapacitated and ejected safely out the window (well, safely for me). You’d be mad not to! These creatures are experts at seeking out body-heat, as I will soon demonstrate. Sadly, incapacitating a Daddy Long Legs, what with all its awesome flailing stupidness, is extremely difficult, not to mention mentally taxing for someone who a) absolutely hates the sight of the Daddy Long Legs and b) is too tired to be gentle with a creature that just can’t stay still, so whenever I try to do this it nearly always results in instant death. Usually against one of my heavier paperback books (see? Hardback books do have some uses after all).
I use the word flies loosely. The Daddy Long Legs — even the best of them, if indeed there are degress of rubbishness — doesn’t really fly…actually I don’t think there’s a word for their kind of feeble, unpredictable maneuvering, and if there was then it’d probably be a daft one that makes about as much sense as their mad-scrambling-up-the-wall-technique — something unpronounceable like drftyuio0-0987hn!!!!!!!!!!!!, I suppose — so that’s probably a good thing. If you’re illiterate, best not think of Daddy Long Legs as a word. It’ll only confuse you even more.
I’ve had some bad nights with Daddy Long Legs’s, it’s true, but the night before last was particularly awful. My bedroom, which is already strewn with the corpses of the dead, was a frenzied warzone and at times it felt like it was going on forever! Or worse…like it had been going on forever, and all I was doing, stumbling around my bedroom in my boxers, book in hand, was reliving a terrible fight I could never win and had never won.
It all started as I turned over page 345 of Thinking Fast and Slow — the Rocky of psychology and economics books by Nobel Prize winning author Daniel Kahneman — at 2:24am. It was not a good time to be interrupted, seeing as my grasp of economics is awful, and I’ll tell yee one thing: when that doomed Daddy Long Legs came bumbling through the window with its arms and legs going agggghhhhhhhhhhhhh! everywhere, I couldn’t help but blame him or her or it — yes, it — for making me lose my place, again. This is not a good thing to happen when you are fighting a book which has much more brains than you do, and virtually every sentence is a test in mental endurance that feels somewhere between a near-mental breakdown and a dream where Stephen Fry in peak annoying-mode refuses to stop telling you intelligent facts while constantly poking you and saying “so do you think I’m clever, then?”. A test which feels a lot like those horrific GCSE Maths questions that haunted my teenage days and nights. You know the ones: Helga buys 6 oranges and gives 1 to Jeremy, but Jeremy drops hers [the clumsy fucker, he’s always dropping stuff!] and decides to make it up to Helga by giving her a banana…that kind of trivial facetious thing.
But I should be clear on something: in truth, this Daddy Long Legs was not the first to come through the window that night. Yes, it’s true, sometimes I am known to turn a blind eye to Daddy Long Legs’s (millions wouldn’t!), especially when my generous streak is high. For the 3 hours or so previous, various ones of various sizes had been infiltrating my bedroom and I’d managed to somehow ignore them by telling myself It’s only an insect, don’t let it get to you, Chris, you’re better than that! But this one I could not ignore, for the second it arrived it panicked its way through the air direcly towards my bedside light, making its vague buzzing sound. This was the last straw, and, having already been exceedingly generous by sparing the lives of 3 or 4 of my enemies, this time I had to take action. Take action now or forever suffer the consequences (it helps if I imagine that Daddy Long Legs’s understand the torment they cause me. This makes me feel much better when I go to take a book from my shelf and find, yet again, one flattened upon it).
All this rage against the Daddy Long Legs is for a deeper reason, as you probably guessed. You don’t just develop such hatred of Daddy Long Legs’s, I don’t think. It has to be earned, and man, in the past had I earned it! They’d waged a campaign over many summers. This wasn’t just a one-summer-thing.
The inciting incident had occurred a few days earlier when I woke up with a funny feeling. If that sounds vague, it’s because I’m still trying to work out how to say what’s coming next without being crude.
No, I’ve thought about it, and there’s no way around it: I’ll just have to be crude. What had happened was this: where my biological sack of manhood meets my body, I had discovered the reddest of reddest volcanic bites! A serious insect attack mark which was easily worthy of being screened to millions of die-hard crude fans on Embarrassing Bodies. This was bad enough on its own — and it was, it really did hurt — but then came the vision of the moment it had attacked…the Daddy Long Legs in action. Enough. Enough of it! After that I couldn’t just lie in bed reading my psychology and economics book: I had to make sure no survivors were left before the lights went out.
Quickly, while the Daddy Long Legs in question was deciding between scampering up my wardrobe or landing on my carpet or heading for the ceiling or whatever else it had on its mind, I grabbed almost the first book I could find from next to my bed, where there is always a small to medium size pile. I say almost, because the first was The Beach by Alex Garland and that book is not and never will be designated for Daddy Long Legs massacre. Instead, I grabbed the second, which was The House of Sleep — a book I am yet to read which I think will probably be good. Then I carefully shifted off my bed and–
And the bloody thing had vanished. Its last location had been at the bottom of the bookcase near the end of my bed…but not so now. No creepy weirdness to be found!
I looked under the bed. I could not see it.
I looked on my mattress — it was not there.
I considered what I would do if I had been born a Daddy Long Legs. Then my face did something weird and I promptly stopped for it made me feel all giddy.
Then I didn’t know what to do.
It went on for a while.
When I knew more what to do, but still wasn’t quite there yet, I stood still for as long as 30 seconds, pretending to be the second coming of the bookcase (well, as much as a man without shelves can).
Nowhere did the Daddy Long Legs go agggghhhhhhhhhhhhh!
I even listened to the point where I could hear my own inners doing their thing, and still heard no buzzing.
Standing there with my book raised as a weapon, I felt silly and weird and annoyed and agitated. An insect which didn’t even know it was alive had got the better of me. I felt plain silly.
It was then that I saw it: no, the shadow of it…out of my left eye, down on the floor. It was heading for the light, the nonsensical thoughtless bastard! I lumbered over, stomping like the gigantic beast it must have perceived me to be, and–
It was gone again. I sat down on the bed and wondered if by the time I was 70 things would be any different. Would I have learned to out-smart an insect by then? Probably not. It was depressing. I wanted to be a child again, living a time that was only fun.
But I gathered myself. I wasn’t done yet.
Two can play at that game, freaky weirdo, I thought. You might think I’ve given up, but you’d be wrong! I haven’t done anything of the sort. Instead, I shall just lie in bed reading my economics and psychology book and wait for my time…
My time took absolutely bloody ages to come. Ages and ages. The more I scanned the room while simultaneously trying to read complex stuff, the more my room seemed a Daddy Long Legs Ghost-town.
Then, just when I was sure that this was it, I’d never get my chance, it happened: the intruder came back on the scene with a vengeance! Up I got, all at once, matter over mind, book in hand, pants gradually working themselves higher up my body, much like a grizzled old insomniac of a man.
But when I got to the wall opposite, the damn thing had vanished again. Imagine my surprise. I couldn’t stay up all night, so that was it. Back in bed I got, crying inside. Well, almost crying inside…if it had got me down there last time, what might it do next?
Update: I woke up and couldn’t find a red bump anywhere! I’m going to bed again soon though…so wish me luck!
New update: I survived, but only because I had the covers pulled almost fully over me. Even though I almost suffocated, it was worth it to not be bitten.
Newer update: I did get bitten. On the bum! How did that happen? It must have come through the mattress somehow! Now I’m really scared…