After 10 hours and half a bottle of Raid, the cockroach is still moving. Not much, but enough to cause worry and lessen our faith in man's mastery over nature. We spray some more pesticide, and for a while the nasty thing shudders, it's muscle control and coordination destroyed, but damn it if it doesn't keep on moving. Houston, we have a problem.

The colony of massive roaches had appeared on previous night, out of nowhere it seemed, and although they were intercepted on their way from the kitchen to the bathroom, it was clear that they were only the vanguard. Even more worryingly, our ant poison seemed to have very little effect on them. One unfortunate roach was chosen as a test subject, deliberately sprayed with Raid, Baygon, Jungle Formula and whatever we had in our impressive Cairo expat's arsenal, and left in a box to (hopefully) die.

The truth is that cockroaches really are wonderfully fascinating animals. Oldest surviving creatures in the world today, they have had plenty of time to master the art of survival. Omnivorous, virtually indestructible, reputedly resistant to radiation - there seems to be no end to their hardiness. They can live for up to a month without their heads, for god's sake! Biologists love them, some people cherish them as pets, but none of this matters right now, because they just look so damn revolting.

A quick check on the internet had given a name to our new flatmates: Periplaneta americana, the common American cockroach. Of course, they just had to be the biggest the roach family had to offer, the ugliest and the most productive in terms of offspring. And hardest to kill, naturally.

Enter Last Meal, an Egyptian weapon of mass destruction in man's war against the forces of nature. It appears to be some kind of gel bait for the bugs, but we haven't yet seen it in action; the drugged and poisoned test subject would not touch it. Tonight, the baits will come out. There is no instructions on the box, just this:

All you need is to place Last Meal and it work fine. Immediate expellant effect, little ordor. CAUTIION: PLEASE DO NOT PUT INTO MOUTH TO PLAY!!