On the day that Gene, the cockroach, witnessed his mother being brutally murdered by a slipper, he decided it was time for the revolution to begin.

For decades, cockroaches had been contemplating a major uprising. They were tired of the peculiar hatred that humans felt towards them, branding them as the most repulsive insect on planet Earth.

Unjustly treated, hated, and feared. They couldn’t appear in an environment without complete panic ensuing. Females and males would scurry up chairs, screaming. But there were always 2 or 3 executioners, psychopaths, wielding slippers and phone books, their eyes bloodshot, froth dripping from their mouths, eager for the carnage. And if the cockroaches weren’t fast enough, they would lie dead, legs up in the air. Their sturdy chitinous shells wouldn’t be strong enough to save their lives.

And Gene was the leader of the cockroach revolution. He possessed incredible intelligence, enviable memory, and a strategic military mind. The murder of his mother before his eyes a few months ago had awakened what was missing for him to lead the revolution: hatred. The plan was partially defined, but they had to wait for the right moment.

His best friend, Salete, always took on the fearful stance:

– But are we really ready?

– We’ve never been more ready – Gene’s voice trembled with his uncontained anger. – Soon, we will have our revenge. Humans will pay for every drop of hemolymph shed.

– I don’t know about this, Gene. Something seems wrong. The numbers don’t add up.

– What do you mean?

Salete showed a sketch.

– In our last military census, it was determined that there are 85 cockroaches for every human. Now, think about it: most humans have no more than two or three offspring. And many of their females don’t even reproduce. But our females, in just 150 days, can lay 320 eggs. The ratio doesn’t match, Gene. We should be thousands or millions of cockroaches for every human. Where are the others?”

– You don’t know where they are?

– No.

– They’re dead, Salete – she concluded, serious. – The difference in your statistics is the number of sisters unjustly murdered. Sentenced to death by slippers and poisonous suffocation, while the executioners shout ‘disgusting,’ ‘cursed,’ ‘wretched’.

There was silence between the two friends.

The truth silenced any argument.

On that same day, news spread among the cockroaches. No one knows how, but the cockroaches learned that, next month, humans worldwide would sleep for one hour simultaneously. It was the opportunity Gene had been waiting for.

Salete was suspicious:

– What do you mean?

– It’s our chance, Salete.

– Why would humans all sleep at the same time?

– You should be asking me about our attack strategy.

– It just seems strange to me.

– We will launch a simultaneous attack worldwide. We will attack humans while they’re asleep.

– Are we going to eat them?

– No, my dear. At least, not while they’re alive. That would wake them up.

– So, what are we going to do?

– We will suffocate them.

– How?

– We will enter their mouths and invade their respiratory tracts.

– But…

– A mass attack. Dozens of cockroaches leaping onto each human’s mouth. They won’t have a chance to react.

– Does that mean…?

– Yes. Some will have to sacrifice themselves. But their names will be recorded in history. They will be featured in literature as the cockroaches who secured freedom for their daughters and sisters.

The plan was set. Gene sent messenger cockroaches to inform each of the armies stationed in pantries, sewers, attics, basements, and even in the woods. Cockroaches worldwide needed to know. They all had to come out of their hiding places and fight for freedom. The human-propagated story that for every cockroach seen, there are a thousand hidden would change. That night, humans would see all of them, but this time, it would be their eyes bloodshot and their mouths frothing with hatred.

And exactly one month later, the war began.

Gene crawled out of the bathroom drain followed by her advanced post of 249 cockroaches. It was midnight. They moved slowly towards the humans’ rooms, eager for the final attack. In less than an hour, the human race would be extinct from the face of the Earth. Slippers and insecticides would never be produced again.

Gene still salivated with hatred when she heard a strange buzzing sound. She slowly raised her head. Just above, partially camouflaged by darkness, she saw a familiar figure: General Tod, a jewel wasp. He stood at the front of what seemed like three or four hundred wasps and hornets.

Gene’s heart jumped into her throat. Her brain began piecing it all together, and it fit perfectly. Salete was right. The collective sleep of humans couldn’t be true. The rumor had been a hoax created by wasps, the cockroaches’ greatest enemies after humans. In an instant, Gene could already see their bodies being dragged into holes and serving as food for wasp larvae.

Gene turned to her army and, almost voiceless, shouted:

– It’s a trap… Ruuun!

But it was too late. At the command of General Tod and the thousands of wasp generals ambushing around the world, the historic wasp attack against the cockroaches began.

Several years later, the newspapers would still report the mysterious disappearance of all cockroaches on planet Earth.

For all intents and purposes, the blame would fall on global warming.


Juliano Martinz is a writer, biographer, and creator of the website Corrosiva Literature.

Talk to Juliano Martinz