The Mystery of St. Francis

This is a true story and no names have been changed, as I have no interest in protecting the identities of those involved. I love them all, even Francis for the short time I knew him/her/it. R.I.P.

A couple Wednesdays ago, Collin (the huz) and I meet up with Heather and Rich for some dinner and drinks. They invite us back to theirs to hang out some more and spend some bonus time with their little boy Riel and our babysitting friend Jen.

When we arrive at Heather and Rich’s, Heather shows Collin and I a big, fat, black bug that she’s saving from imminent death. She found him/her/it on the stairway leading into her apartment. His name? Francis, or Frank for short.

“He’s not a roach but I don’t what he is. It’s a mystery,” she said.

Heather wants to know where she should set Frank free while ensuring his survival, it is winter after all.

Jen suggests the sewer and Collin offers that the subway would be a good place.

The night goes on and the plight of Francis is soon forgotten.

The following Saturday, Heather and I meet for drinks, hang out with Paul and another friend named Heather for some more drinks and then head home to her place to end the evening with a nightcap.

Sitting on the counter is a terrarium-type structure made out of tupperware. Heather says it’s Frank’s new home and her new mission is to keep him/her/it alive until the spring when he/she/it could be set free in good conscience.

Frank had not been moved into the new home as of yet, so I suggest we transfer him that moment.

I open the container currently housing Frank and am overwhelmed by a horrific scent. Heather agrees it’s nasty. Dutifully we move Frank into his flat, newly decorated with dried maple leaves, some water and I think a carrot (I’m a bit drunk at this point) and maybe some kale.

The weird thing I notice about Frank is how much he poos. I guess that contributes to the awful odour, but really who among us can claim witness to bug poo? I mean rabbit-like pellet poos, proportional to a june bug. Big!

“So,” I said, “have you looked up Frank online? Do you know what species of bug you got yet?”

“No, not yet.”

The night continues and we talk about everything, it’s lovely.

The next day I awaken and leave to go to Yorkdale to catch up on some last minute shopping. Purely by chance, I pass the Zoology section at Indigo and it occurs to me to look up Francis and try to identify him/her/it.

I look in the beetle section and turn up nothing. Flipping through the other sections I come across a creature that looks like Francis. Upon closer inspection, I determine yes, indeed this is Francis. The image in the book even shows the Frank-look-a-like with giant poo in tow.

Oriental cockroach, the book indicates.

This is too funny. Out comes the cell phone and I dial Heather’s number and leave her a message and later, I even send an email… I don’t want my friend to harbour a roach unknowingly, but all I can do is tell her the truth.

Collin picks me up from Yorkdale and I tell him what I’ve discovered and he laughs so hard I’m afraid we’re going to drive off the road. I think it’s the poo representation in the bug book. That’s kind of the clincher, no?

Heather’s response to my email:

Yes, Cruel Spreader of Lies,
I received your slanderous message suggesting that Frank was a cockroach.
False and vile vixen!
I await your sincere apologies.

I decide to ignore her email. These things have a way of working themselves out, you know? One must not come between a woman and her roach.

Later that day, and I still don’t know if this is a coincidence or not, Heather’s husband Rich sends me an instant message: “I think Frank is a female cockroach.”

I lose body fluids from laughing so fully and completely.

I reply, “I figured.”

“Those things lay 150 eggs a day!”

Moments later Rich sends me Frank’s obituary.

Hesitant, I ask, “Did you flush?”

“No, gave a quick stomp outside. I hate doing shit like that. I’m probably going to come back as a roach now.”

Well for myself, I’m glad the roach is gone. Francis must have been an escapee from a big box of food or a truck carrying food. These are not indoor bugs. Collin says he knew Frank was a roach right away and that he’s seen them around. Well, I don’t know, hindsight is always 20/20, and personally I’ve never seen a giant, pudgy roach that looks like a june bug… And if he’d said anything on that first night, I wouldn’t have this funny story to share with you now.

Rest in peace Francis, you were misunderstood for so long. Hopefully you come back as a rat or a frog next time.

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3 Responses to “The Mystery of St. Francis”

  1. Anonymous says:


  2. jenb says:

    Alas poor Frank, I knew you but briefly. In the class structure of bugland, you turned out to be the much maligned gypsy, that crafty scavenger known as Roach. This in no way reduces your impact on us who knew you. Shine on, little superstar.

  3. heather says:

    I am the Heather in the story…
    I am wiping away tears as I write. Are they tears of sorrow or mirth? Frank knows the truth, and can see my heart from where he is. She is. For after we die, and our lives flash before our eyes – backwards, remember that – (I imagine Frank’s film as brief, and simple) we can see the true hearts of all we ever interacted with. He knows I loved him, and still had to sanction his murder (while squealing and groaning and hopping up and down, sending my brave husband to do what I could not bear to do)… Her murder.

    yuck. fucking fucking yuck, man.