Guilford County commissioners, like other politicians, don’t always like the press they get – but they rarely get a chance to get back at reporters.

On Thursday night, Oct. 3, however, Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Alan Branson had his fun at the meeting by placing a giant dead cricket on the table as part of a prank that alarmed the Rhino Times reporter a great deal and that momentarily halted the Board of Commissioners meeting while Branson and others in the room had a good laugh.

Before the meeting, the Board of Commissioners’ chairman placed a cricket of alarming size on the reporters’ table underneath the briefcase of the Rhino Times reporter who has been faithfully covering the board for nearly two decades. Soon after the meeting began, the reporter lifted his bag to get out his MacBook Air and was extremely alarmed to see the creature sitting there. The reporter instinctively lunged back from the table, and, not sure what to do – and not knowing the creature was dead – contemplated his options.

The reporter eventually used the meeting agenda to swat the hideous insect off of the table, causing Branson and others in the room had a good laugh. Branson pointed out to those in the room and those watching on TV that one of the reporters seemed to be having an issue with a large bug.

At that point, Branson did not admit his guilt.

After the meeting, a reporter for the High Point Enterprise informed the Rhino Times that the bug had not gotten to that spot on its own accord; the Enterprise reporter said Branson had placed the cricket there precisely to create that desired effect. She also said that, if she’d seen the creature in front of her, she would have let out a loud scream at the meeting.

Branson, when asked about his involvement, said he’d seen the giant creature outside on his way into the building that evening, and he had picked it up and realized it was dead. He said he couldn’t resist having some fun with the reporter.

After the meeting, one county employee said the Old Guilford County Courthouse, where the meeting was held, does not have a problem with crickets, but she said that staff had seen some roaches of phenomenal size crawling around that century-old downtown building.