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(based on true events)

Dusty Hogan was having one of those days. It was 4 p.m. on a muggy Wednesday, and he was almost at the day’s last call—an old lady with a roach problem. Tom said she sounded frantic on the phone.

As he turned onto her street, Dusty sipped from his fifth cup of coffee that day and tried to spot house numbers. He remembered he had to go to his mother-in-law’s birthday party after work, and let out a deep sigh.

He found the number he was looking for—113—and pulled over to the side of the road. The lady’s awful front lawn stuck out like a sore thumb. The grass was severely overgrown and there was junk scattered everywhere. This was disappointing—because if there was any issue with payment, it was coming out of Dusty’s next commission check.

He knocked on the door, and as soon as the lady opened it he could tell that she was blind.

“Hello Mr. Tom, I’m so happy you’re here. Come in, come in.” Dusty didn’t feel like correcting her, and stepped inside. He was immediately assaulted by heat—it felt like stepping into an oven.

“How ya doin’ ma’am?” He looked around, and things didn’t seem to be too bad. There were a few roaches hanging out on her living room walls—nothing out of the ordinary. Sweat had already started to bead on his forehead.

“Mr. Tom, I can’t see, but I know the problem is very bad. These roaches are getting the best of me.”
“Don’t worry ma’am, you’re in good hands.”
“That’s good to hear. I’m sorry about the heat. I’ve had to cut back on air conditioning this summer. Come into the kitchen with me. That’s where the problem is.”

She walked slowly and Dusty followed behind her. Everything in the apartment looked like it was from the ’60s.

“It’s been hard for me to eat, and that’s why I need help so bad,” she said as they turned a corner into her kitchen.

Dusty had been in the business for four and a half years now, and thought he had seen everything. But he almost threw up in his mouth when he saw her refrigerator.

Or rather, he saw something shaped like a refrigerator, something that must have been a refrigerator, nestled underneath a massive column of cockroaches, crawling over each other, trying to get to the cool plastic below. There were piled so thick on top of one another that he couldn’t even see a door handle.

But the fridge was just the center of mass—they were everywhere. Looking around, Dusty could barely see the crumbling mustard-yellow paint of the kitchen walls; the main color was cockroach brown.

“Ma’am. We’ll take care of this for you. But I’m going to need to go out to my car to make a phone call.”

Dusty was going to be late to his mother-in-law’s.

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