Modern Metamorphosis

{Hi Magazine interviews ‘The Cockroach Kid’ }

Greg Small was just an ordinary 22 year old living with his parents and young sister. That is, until the day he awoke as an insect. Now he is known the world over as ‘The Cockroach Kid’. Hi Magazine went to interview him in his secret hideout.

Greg and his family are staying in a closely guarded location as the final details are put together for ‘Revelation Day’: his first live appearance. As part of the lead-up Greg agreed to tell his story. We started by asking him about the day that changed everything.

‘Well, to be honest, it was just like any other morning,’ Greg explains. ‘I woke up and lay there, dozing. I felt rough but thought that was down to the party I’d been to the night before. Thought I’d sleep it off. Looking back now my body did feel different – my skin all hard – but I was too busy coping with my hangover. It was only when I heard my sister Greta calling that I woke up proper and realised I was stuck on my back and couldn’t turn over. Then I saw I had all these legs. Jesus, I freaked!’

Greg won’t say any more at this stage, partly because he is still working through some of these issues with his therapist. Also, he is keeping much of his tale back until his film and book deal have been finalised. But as most people now know, it was some hours before his frantic sister finally broke into his bedroom to discover… her brother the bug. Greta is gradually recovering from the ordeal. She is also having regular make-overs and voice coaching in preparation for her first live interview scheduled for Revelation Day +2.

Going back to the day in question, despite his initial shock, the quick thinking Greg realised he had to be careful about revealing his new image. To buy vital time he got his family to tell people he had a tummy bug and had also lost his phone. His father then contacted leading PR advisor Lax Gifford, and pleaded for his help. Under cover of darkness, the PR guru arrived to take on perhaps his most challenging job yet. Greg is full of praise for his new mentor.

‘Lax is fantastic. I don’t know what we’d have done without him. He put everything into perspective. He calmed Mum and Dad down. They were in total shock. Especially Mum. Mind you, the fact I could talk helped as they could see it was still me. Lax got Greta into The Priory for a bit of ‘R and R’ and he made us all see the up side.’ Greg pauses to proudly show us his newly equipped room. ‘Lax sorted out a specially adapted key board so I could text my mates again, tho’ he said I had to keep quiet about the bug bit. Then once the website and everything was set up, he let me go public. We uploaded some pictures onto Facebook and within three days I had half a million followers on Twitter. It was insane!’

Of course Greg does have his darker moments. As he points out: ‘Sex isn’t exactly on the cards. And it’s really frustrating I can’t go out. Though we are working on that one.’ A Control Order has been issued to keep Greg indoors for Health and Safety reasons. This arises from concerns that his condition might be contagious. Doctors disagree about the risk Greg poses to public health, but until he is given the all clear, he cannot be allowed out. Some of Greg’s supporters have petitioned Downing Street to have him released, but they may be on weak ground as it is not clear to what extent Greg’s current status entitles him to any human rights protection. Whilst delighted with the support he is receiving, Greg is clearly upset at being confined indoors. He feels he is being unfairly discriminated against.

Because of this, plans for Revelation Day have been altered. Instead of a public reception there will now be a short film on You Tube of Greg being interviewed at home. Greg has invited the Duchess of Cambridge to appear, and shake hands with him in front of the cameras, but Buckingham Palace has yet to make a statement.

‘It would be great if she would. I want the world to see I’m basically normal’, Greg urged. The cause of Greg’s metamorphosis remains a mystery. ‘Get Natural’ the anti-GM activist group blames a local scientific research lab, which we cannot name for legal reasons. The lab is rumoured to be conducting some top secret, and highly controversial, animal experiments. Stepping into the fray, leading law firm Mantis and Co has offered to represent Greg on a ‘No win, no fee’ basis. They are confident that once the reason for his condition is discovered, someone will be found legally liable. The lawyers expect to recover ‘an unprecedented amount of damages’ for Greg.

Greg remains hopeful that his transformation into an insect will one day reverse. Meanwhile he is certainly enjoying the celebrity. Greg’s new found fame is also proving very lucrative. This is all very welcome to Greg who has never worked; although he had previously planned to audition for the next series of X Factor.

‘So much for my dream of being a Beatle’, Greg ruefully jokes. But on a more serious note he does appreciate his insect income stream, telling us with some pride:

‘At least I’ve seen Mum and Dad right. That means a lot to me.’

As for Greg’s mum and dad, they have had a hard time adjusting to the new Greg. Fighting back tears, Greg’s mum shared her feelings:

‘I just want my boy back. Of course it’s nice not to have to worry about money and he’s so generous, but at the end of the day, like any mother, I want my Greg to have a normal life. They can do wonders these days and I’m praying someone can sort it. I wouldn’t want my worst enemy to go through what we’ve been through.’

Plans for Revelation Day continue. Meanwhile, you can follow Greg on Twitter: @BugMe.

© Allison Hill, 2016