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Creative Writing

Centipede: A Melodrama

This morning, I was going about my daily routine, packing my bag and brushing my teeth, when I happened to look up, where I noticed a FREAKING centipede clinging to my ceiling.

This is the dramatization (in screenplay format) of my ordeal.

Screenplay by Cory Hershberger

We open on our HERO, a young, dashing twentysomething. He’s in the process of getting ready for work, eyes still a bit bleary from the alarm that recently went off, waking him from a particularly entertaining dream. He’s freshly showered and dressed, brushing his teeth in an endearing fashion: one hand working the brush and one attempting to pack his messenger bag. He heads back into the bathroom to spit and rinse.

And the camera pans up.

A CENTIPEDE with twitching feelers and legs aplenty watches him go, inexplicably hanging from the ceiling. The arthropod’s antennae move slow circles around the rough texture of the low ceiling, trembling in anticipation for the execution of its dastardly plan.

A few minutes pass.

Our HERO returns, a smile on his face and a song in his heart. He hums a few bars of “The Edge of Glory” and goes about actually packing his messenger bag this time.

The CENTIPEDE begins to make his move, crawling ever so slowly towards the HERO’s unmade bed.

The HERO pads over to that very bed, moving to grab his cell phone (an old, outdated BlackBerry model; the one with the touch screen that no one likes). But something catches his eye, drawing it slowly upwards.

Cut to the CENTIPEDE. It knows it’s been discovered. Feathery legs start propelling it quicker than seemingly possible, and its eyes bulge. It’s making its break.

Finally, after what seems like an eternity, our HERO meets eyes with the furiously moving CENTIPEDE.

HERO: Out of control! How is this even happening?

The voice startles the CENTIPEDE into further action. Furious scuttling ensues. It will make it to the unmade bed…or die trying.

Unfortunately for the CENTIPEDE, our HERO is located, unintentionally, between the bed and the scurrying critter. Instead of reaching for a tissue, as one would expect, he lifts the BlackBerry, touching a button on the side. He’s taking a picture of the creature. No one would believe his tall tale otherwise. Centipedes on ceilings…please.

The CENTIPEDE’s small brain cannot grasp what this large being could be doing. It freezes in its tracks.

CENTIPEDE: (thinking) Maybe if I hold still, it won’t be able to see me. That’s smart, right?


The camera flashes, startling the CENTIPEDE. Clearly, its misguided plan of action isn’t going to work. This human is attacking it with bombs of light. Its tiny brain is temporarily overloaded with sensory activity. Its little grips on the the ends of its legs no longer function, and it drops.

CENTIPEDE: (thinking) Plan B: Kamikaze.

The CENTIPEDE plummets from the ceiling, planning to still land in the HERO’s bed.

But it has forgotten. It never made it above the bed in the first place. And now, the world around the CENTIPEDE begins to darken. It looks up one final time in abject terror.

Our HERO smashes the CENTIPEDE’s tiny body under a tissue, crushing it into oblivion.

HERO: How you like that, sucka?!

The body is unceremoniously tossed into a trash can, accompanied by a revolted shudder mixed with a sigh of relief. Our HERO throws the BlackBerry into his bag and leaves the room, muttering under his breath about the devilish nature of arthropods.

HERO: It could have landed in my bed! Dirtbag…

The apartment door closes. Our HERO is off to work. All is well.

Camera pans back into the HERO’s room. The darkened, simple room is quiet, peaceful. Nothing is amiss. Until slowly, two more CENTIPEDES, larger than the last, crawl out from under a bookshelf. They move carefully over to the trashcan, and begin to ascend its steep sides. At the top lies the crumpled tissue that holds the body of the original CENTIPEDE, one feeler sticking out of the ball, twitching balefully.

The new CENTIPEDES exchange glances.

CENTIPEDE 1: We must avenge our comrade.

CENTIPEDE 2: He is but one of many that have fallen to the fury of the giants.

CENTIPEDE 1: Come out, fellows!

From under the bookshelf, countless antennae tentatively emerge from the darkness. None stick out further than their heads, afraid of the destruction the “giants” can rain. A quiet murmur can be heard, soft, hesitant. But unyielding and otherworldly, also.

Both CENTIPEDES stare directly into the camera.

CENTIPEDES: Tonight, we feast.

A raucous squeaking erupts. The CENTIPEDES all crawl under the bookshelf to wait, legs upon legs upon legs. The squeaking intensifies, taking on a deep and menacing tone.

Cut to our unsuspecting HERO, happily singing along to music in his car.

CENTIPEDE 2: (voiceover) A giant will fall, and the many will prevail. Move out!

The sound of thousands of rustling legs, mingled with the ominous murmurs and grumbles are deafening. They are all that can be heard.

Our HERO smiles innocuously.


About Cory Hershberger

Neurotic/eclectic critic obsessed with pop culture who enjoys good food, good company, and, most of all, good books.


3 thoughts on “Centipede: A Melodrama

  1. Hahahaha. HIlarious.
    1) Stop moving your blog. hard to find it!
    2) Messenger bag? I think you mean murse.
    Love yoU!

    Posted by Saraj | February 10, 2012, 3:42 pm
  2. while reading this, I had to keep one eye on my ceiling. centipedes are the creepiest bugs.

    Posted by iwishitwas | August 7, 2012, 7:24 pm
  3. THIS is terrifying. I recently had a traumatic experience in which one found its way into my shower. After stepping out of the shower and dusting a what I believed to be a dribble of water off my back, a centipede fell onto the floor instead. It got away, but I managed to find and kill the sucker a few days later. That does not mean I’m still not paranoid and jumpy every time I step into the shower…

    Posted by akleneth | July 10, 2013, 11:02 am

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"Lock up your libraries if you like, but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind."

-Virginia Woolf, "A Room of One's Own"




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