I’m still not sure how I died. Maybe I had a heart attack, or fell down the stairs, or those gummy vitamins were a scam after all. The only thing I know for certain is that dying and coming back as a cockroach was the best thing that ever happened to me.
I’ll admit I didn’t think so at first. Before I became a cockroach, I thought I had hit rock bottom. I was unemployed, in debt, and getting ready to move back in with my parents. And now here I was, under a literal goddamn rock trying to figure out what the hell a ‘mandible’ is for.
But then the nuclear war hit and that rock, well, it saved my second life. When I finally emerged, I was shocked to discover that cockroaches were the only living beings left on Earth.
After all the radioactive dust settled, we cockroaches knew we had an opportunity on our many hands. We would create a new society, one that was fair and equitable and where no roach would slip through the cracks (unless they wanted to, we roaches love it in there).
In Cockroach Society, every roach has a damp hole to call their own, plenty of garbage to eat, and the opportunity to pursue their dreams. And I’ve never been happier in my entire lives.
I even found love for the first time with Agatha, a fellow roach who shares my same taste in repurposed food waste and reclaimed architectural design. We got married and made a home for ourselves in a rusty old drain pipe.
I used my carpentry skills to build us some furniture out of upcycled driftwood. But unfortunately, we both kept eating it. Since then I try not to keep wood in the house — it’s just too tempting!
I found gainful employment as the lead tenor in a hissing quartet, and Agatha released a line of artisanal pheromones (it’s what attracted me to her in the first place).
Together we raised hundreds of beautiful little nymphs. They grow up so fast! I still have fond memories of recording their heights as they doubled in size every few hours.
After celebrating eight unforgettable months together, we both retired and moved to Garbage Dump Paradise. Now we spend our remaining days relaxing by the toxic pool and getting to know our 124,758 grandkids.
Sometimes my antennae twitch with sadness when I realize that the American Dream could only be achieved by a swarm of cockroaches in the smouldering crater where America used to be.
But then I look out into this vast wasteland of garbage and decay, and all I can see for miles and miles is a thick carpet of roaches scuttling every which way and popping out from inside every hole just when you least expect it, and I remember that I am truly blessed.
Ysabel Yates is a New York City-based humor writer. You can find her work in The Belladonna, McSweeney’s, Reductress, Points In Case and on her website at ysabelyates.rocks.