My Apartment is a Roach Motel: A Story of Neighbors With a Twisted Sense of Humor

Monday, August 25, 2014

The night I found a cockroach on my bathroom wall, I immediately sent a frantic email to our building manager. I successfully resisted the inclination to type it in all caps & use a lot of exclamation points.

Later that week, an exterminator sprayed my place for pests, & for good measure, the building manager had all my neighbors' units - above, below, & on both sides - sprayed, too. I returned home one day to find a little card near my sink that told me I might see "increased activity" in the hours after the exterminating, but that it would soon subside. I assume this meant that any cockroaches hiding in my place would come out into the open to die a slow & painful death.

The morning after that, I spotted two dead cockroaches down the hallway, just outside the elevator. I was headed out of town & figured the maintenance guys would suck 'em up in their daily vacuuming, so while I was grossed out, I went along my merry way & felt thankful that the pesticide was doing its job.

When I returned from my weekend trip to NYC, the hallway seemed otherwise clean, but the dead cockroaches were still there. In the same spot. Four days had passed since their initial appearance, so I decided it was time to approach the building manager. She apologized profusely & promised to have maintenance clean of the cockroach carcasses the next morning.

Two days later, they were still there. In the same spot. Fed up & thoroughly grossed out, I politely stormed into the building manager's office & politely demanded that the cockroaches be taken away ASAP. Again apologizing profusely (I swear I was polite, & I swear my building is otherwise clean), she accompanied me upstairs to see them for herself. "Oh my God!" she shouted, & she again promised they'd be gone by morning.

The next day, the cockroaches were gone. On my way to work that morning, I stopped into the building manager's office to thank her for taking care of it. I'd hardly opened my mouth, when she exclaimed, "I need to show you something!" & opened her desk drawer to pull out something small. She turned to me & said, "You're not going to believe this." And then she opened her hand, revealing what was inside.

Two plastic cockroaches. 

That's right. Those dramatically sized "dead" pests in the hallway were made of plastic. Kids' toys. Horrifyingly realistic, but not at all real. Someone in my building is a really jokester all right, & I spent a full week falling for their bizarre but perfectly timed shenanigans. One question remains: Who would do that?

Actually, wait, another question remains, too: WHY?!?!

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