This is a story that scarred me.
This story is true.
This is the story of the night I came face to face with the biggest moth I have ever seen.
I HEARD IT!
Before I saw the moth, I heard it. When is the last time you heard a moth?
THBTHTBHTBHTBTHBTHBTHBTBHTHTTHTHHTBTBTHTHTHBTH -- well, I can't put the sound into words. The closest approximation I can come to is a helicopter. A giant helicopter -- the kind that blows up small villages full of terrorists.
I had been facing away from the front door, which was propped open (did I mention it was hot?). I turned at the sound, and it took me only a second to find it. It was blocking out the light of the main doorway. At first I thought it was a bat. But bats don't hover.
Moths don't hover either, so I knew this was no ordinary creature.
This was not your run of the mill bug. It was like the death's head hawkmoth, that Hannibal Lecter leaves in the throat of one of his victims, in Silence of the Lambs.
It was clearly a leftover from the Nevada Nuclear tests of the 1950's.
It was also a night of destiny. I knew only one of us was getting out of the Cash Saver alive. This creature had to be destroyed, and there was no one else. Was I scared? Hell yes I was scared. But I thought of the kids -- this thing could easily carry off a small, unsuspecting child. What kind of a man would I be, to let that happen? Destiny rarely calls upon us at a time of convenience.
What followed is documented in two sources -- my memory, and the convenience store security cameras. In the interest of historical accuracy, I will give you a play by play of the situation, from both sources.
My Memory: It looked at me. So help me, we made eye contact.
Security Camera: Clerk looks up from magazine, seems suddenly startled, and stands up -- banging left knee on cash register.
My Memory: One drop of cold sweat trickled down my back. My left eye twitched. So did the moth's eye.
Security Camera: Clerk appears to be incapable of moving for several seconds.
My Memory: I knew I had only seconds. I drew my weapon, and prepared for single combat.
Security Camera: Clerk turns quickly to his left, apparently grabbing for a broom -- stepping in a small trash can, and knocking over a display of chewing tobacco.
My Memory: It made it's move -- a direct frontal assault. The moth came in so close I could see it's dripping fangs.
Security Camera: Clerk appears to be screaming, and flailing his arms. The trash can on his left foot causes him to trip, falling to the floor and scattering napkins from the lunch counter.
My Memory: I knew that if I didn't move fast, I was as good as dead. I could see him out of the corner of my right eye -- he was coming around for a second run. This was my chance. I raised my weapon...
Security Camera: Clerk is screaming again. At what, is not quite clear. Clerk's left foot -- the one in the trash can -- slips on a pile of napkins, causing him to smack his elbow on the popcorn popper. Now we know why he is screaming.
My Memory: It came in. Fast. Like lightning on meth. Luckily I had been perfecting my sword skills in the back room of the store for several months....
Security Camera: Clerk is swinging broom wildly at ceiling. Florescent light fixture above clerk's head is struck, and becomes dislodged. Clerk appears to be...crying?
My Memory: The moth began the death dive. I swung. Epic is not a big enough word. I felt the collision to my core. I heard the handle of weapon cracking, but she held. The moth careened across the room, smashing into the wall. There were reports of the seismic wave as far away as Pioche, Nevada.
Security Camera: Clerk thrashes with broom at everything in a seven foot radius. Broom straw, napkins and cans of Skoal brand chewing tobacco everywhere.
My Memory: The beast was not dead yet -- I heard it growl -- so I ran for the far corner of the room. The time had come to end this.
Security Camera: Clerk can only be described as hobbling, trash can still on left foot, right elbow bleeding, to the far corner of the store.
My Memory: There it lay. A worthy opponent, no doubt. Dying, broken, but not dead. Not yet. It knew I had come to finish what I had begun. In single combat, there is no second place. It licked it's bloody fangs, and I swear to you it smiled at me -- a devil's smile. I brought the hammer down.
Security Camera: Clerk is beating floor with broom -- or what's left of broom -- and stomping repeatedly with trash can enclosed foot. More screaming and icky, crawly dancing.
My Memory: It was finished. The world would never know how close it came to utter destruction. And that's as it should be. We heroes -- we simple, humble few -- don't do the things we do for fame and glory. We do them, because they are the right thing to do.
Security Camera: Clerk half hobbles, half crawls to opposite end of store. Clerk sits in corner. Time stamp on camera indicates clerk does not move for three hours.