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Mukade in Japan

It's May and Kyoto's rainy season begins in July. Nobody told Kyoto that. The air is hot and thick. Your breathing's labored like Ed Harris sucking up magic pink diving juice in The Abyss. One evening you spot what appears to be a large centipede coiled up in your toilet. "That's horrifying", you remark naively. Soon you see him around around the house. Your life becomes a sitcom called Me and My Mukade ("giant, poisonous centipede").

You do some research. Most of the facts come from a vague time called "long ago". A time when utter bollocks rubbed shoulders with fact and went unchallenged. (Do myths have shoulders?):

1. They grow to 30cm long. This was upped from 20cm by a better offer.
2. They have red heads and hooked teeth. Like Janet Street Porter.
3. They have poison glands and if bitten your reaction will vary between death to being in pain and swollen for three days.
4. They are heavily armoured and shed as they grow. What appear to be corpses are usually evidence of even bigger and very much alive ones.
5. They have a worse attitude than Elton John and attack anything that crosses their path including sleeping people.
6. They are carnivores and eat small animals. Such as chain school cannon fodder and JET ALTs.
7. They drop from the ceiling onto unsuspecting victims like leggy hard rain.
8. They can find gold and ("long ago") were carried in lengths of bamboo. Presumably they were tied onto a leash like a sausage dog and were trained to point like a setter when they encountered a nugget.
9. They like moist, dark places like washing machines, shoes and toilets. To be safe you should never wash clothes, wear shoes or poop.
10. Seta is apparently mukade free. High five, Seta.
11. They were created in a lab during WWII, but escaped in typical b-movie fashion. This myth negates the "long ago" gold-finding myth, so you'll have to pick your favourite.
12. They are, like mosquitos, attracted to carbon dioxide, which makes them great at finding tasty eigo no sensei morsels. God bless evolution.
13. They revivify in time. This myth no doubt originated from failed mukade bludgeonings of "long ago".
14. Drowning and burning are the best ways to kill mukade. Not at the same time obviously.
15. Putting mukade in alcohol or cooking oil produces an antiserum.
16. They live in couples (this is all kinds of wrong) and seek revenge for a spouse's death.
17. They live under tatami for seven years.
18. If cut in half, each half will survive. Yes, just like The Thing.
Everyone has a horror story of the time he left his jeans hanging on the balcony and was later bitten on the pelvis by a mukade waiting inside. Or a sister who put her foot in her already-occupied slipper. Or the time he turned over his pillow and found one on the underside. You remember the summers when there was NOTHING cooler than the other side of the pillow. Those days are gone.

A friend says she found one coiled up on the futon. She took the sheet from the end of the bed and dumped it in the washing machine on a long wash cycle. It occurs to you that's not how you kill an bug. That's how a hitman kills a midget.

An email arrives from a friend:

Just had an encounter with a mukade. It survived: 1. 70% deet repellent and bleach 2. hammer to the head 3. burning paper 4. being boiled for 15 minutes. After all this, it was still moving!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I flushed it down the toilet.


 You cower sleepless in a corner clutching a tennis racket. Your eyelids are heavy. Suddenly you awaken at 4am with a mukade-killing-powder coated nutcase crawling towards you. He's taken a dust-bath in the supposedly toxic powder before slapping himself red in the "face" to psyche himself up. You're relieved to see him. At least now you've narrowed down the places he isn't.

You have no idea what unholy power made you open your eyes, but you thank sweet Vishnu for being a lady that night. Like Cynthia Rothrock, you use every available weapon on the undying, son-of-a-monstrosity. You emerge the victor, but your soul cannot find peace. 24 hours later you sign the lease to another apartment and begin packing.

Last update on 18 August 2009 09:40:43

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