Dateline: April Fool's Day, 2003
Last Thursday night George and Willamena Odiobicho received the shock of their lives, when, according to local police reports, they were awakened at about 2:15 a.m. by what sounded like a metallic scraping noise on their concrete patio. Mr. Odiobicho reportedly grabbed a BB gun from his den and a flashlight, and quietly approached the french doors leading to the backyard of their posh Northeast Scottsdale residence. He nearly lost control when he saw that a giant scorpion was resting on his patio.
The Odiobichos immediately fled to their Hummer with their only child, Frank, and the family pet, a miniature Doberman. They called authorities from their cell phone. Upon arrival, Scottsdale police were amazed at what they found. The giant scorpion in question was nearly four feet long, with huge pincers and a two foot long tail with a prominent stinger at the end. Having arrived unprepared to deal with such an unusual find, Scottsdale police arranged for some experts to come to the site while they attempted to secure the yard. The Arizona Humane Society, Arizona Game and Fish and the Attorney General's Office all agree that they had never seen such a creature in Phoenix before. A local exterminator was called to the scene, but quickly left, saying, "That's one helluva bug. I ain't goin' near it...."
The giant scorpion is believed to be of a rare Malaysian variety that has never before been seen in the desert Southwest. Researchers from Arizona State University and the University of Arizona confirm that the giant scorpion is, indeed, highly venomous, and, if given the opportunity, could kill any human with one sting. They note, however, that because of the size of the scorpion's pincers, anyone who gets in the giant scorpion's way will more likely be crushed to death before it even stings.
The Odiobichos are living at a motel in Reno while authorities sort out their options. "We never thought that something like this could happen in our neighborhood." said Mrs. Odiobicho. Then she added, "Are our children safe anywhere anymore?"
Governor Napolitano held a press conference today and delivered some more bad news about the giant scorpion. "We believe that this giant scorpion escaped from an airplane cargo bay while in transit from Malaysia to a research laboratory in New Mexico. What we didn't know until this morning," continued the Governor, "is that there were two giant scorpions. We just don't know the whereabouts of the other one yet. I assure you that every available person is looking for the missing giant scorpion."
Meanwhile, residents of Scottsdale are urged to stay indoors and keep pets and small children away from windows. Giant scorpions are nocturnal, but that doesn't mean they are comatose during the day. They can be hard to see, even though they are nearly the size of a small Volkswagon. They are hunters and will hide and wait for their prey. Do not attempt to battle the creature on your own. If you hear scraping or knocking during the night do not answer the door. Striking it with a baseball bat, spraying it with Raid, or aiming a bow and arrow at it, is more likely to annoy it than harm it. If you happen to have a harpoon, that might be an option, but authorities are asking that residents with harpoons use them only if absolutely necessary--they'd like to try to take the giant scorpion alive if possible.
Authorities at the Arizona Science Museum have offered to build a habitat for the giant scorpion that has been found. There are some challenges to overcome, like where they will get the giant crickets to feed them. "We figure those crickets will have to be about as big as house cats to keep that scorpion fed," said the Exhibit Director for the museum. Another issue that officials are not discussing is this--if we find the other giant scorpion, do we really want the two of them breeding?
Happy April Fool's Day!
- - - - - - - - - -
This is an April Fool's Day joke. There really aren't giant scorpions in the Phoenix area, although this is one of the myths, or urban legends, that I have heard. Yes, there are scorpions. Some people live here for 25 years and never see one outside the zoo, and some people see them regularly.