Thursday, February 24, 2011

worms on the stairs

Yesterday evening I came home and realised I had forgotten my keys. Well actually I had realised this earlier in the day, but had since forgotten about it. I took out my phone and called up the guy who lives downstairs to ask him to open the door.

I got upstairs and then remembered that actually I didn't have the key for my apartment either. So I plonked myself down on the stairs, rather sweaty from the cycle home. I looked at the carpet which I now noticed was all covered with dry rice grains. I stared at them, wondering when my housemates would be home. That's when I saw that the rice grains were moving. I was in fact, sitting in a pile of loads of worms.

First of all I freaked out, understandably, I think. I did the 'oh-my-god-I-am-covered-in-tiny-worms' dance, scrabbling at the walls. Then I gathered myself, found a rice free spot and ripped out my computer to try and identify them: more importantly to ascertain whether or not one of them could have got inside my skin in the short time I had been sitting amongst them.

The rice worms move very slowly, attatched to the carpet fibres by their bums, sort of gently flicking their bodies back and forth. I looked closely at one. He had a hard husk on the outside, which is the bit that looks like a grain of rice, the worm is actually inside it. He stretches his body out of his case sometimes, presumably when he wants to eat bits of carpet or write letters or play cards with his friends. It is a cunning disguise.

The general feeling on the Internet seems to be that any domestic pest is probably a carpet beetle, (I am unconvinced), however one source suggested they could be tapeworm eggs. This made my skin crawl and I started retching and had to run outside and take my coat off in case there were any worms in it.

When Clare came home we did some more research but found little else, just grossed ourselves out by talking about the worms, (the words hatching and larvae are much worse when you say them out loud). I took the precautionary measure of stuffing kitchen roll into the gap under the door, reasoning that if the worms get past this they will have to deal with the vinegar and chilli powder and salt I have sprinkled on the floor. I imagine contact with these substances would make them burn or fizz or something. I hope they don't like condiments, or they will just come over to our house any time they get chips.

I think I am developing a rash.

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