The spider was huge — baseball sized. Like a tarantula that had lost a few pounds of flesh but kept its long legs and terrifying fuzz of hair. (Propped as it was under the porch railing, I don’t even know how I noticed it — Spidey sense?) I backed away instinctively, but before I could gain the safety of my car’s interior, I noticed something worth noticing. A blob. An undulating blob. Creeping closer than my survival instincts would have liked, I peered at the blob while avoiding the vicious glare of the giant spider. She eyed my advance with apparent bloodlust and a tremor of fear shuddered over my skin.
The tremor grew into a soul-shriek when I recognized the quivering blob’s source of locomotion: babies. Millions of baby spiders had crawled free from the egg-sack I was just seeing, hidden as it was until I’d come within a few feet of the dark corner. They’d congregated into a small nest of writhing, seething, creeping arachnidity. (Like humanity, see? Try to keep up…) Their mother — the enormous creature who’d spawned a million more just like herself — twitched the first bend of one hairy leg in my direction.
|The darker blob is the seething mass of newborn spiders. Cringe.|
I jumped back, flailing my suddenly jelly-filled arms (but not before snapping a carefully aligned picture with my trusty spider-hunting camera), trying to reconcile my thirst for knowledge with my desire to beat the the thing senseless with my all-consuming need to run away screaming. Three things to reconcile in such a short span of seconds left me breathless, and I decided to call for backup.
My cousin — a hunting, fishing, fearless, man’s man — agreed to ‘take care’ of the situation for me. I couldn’t live knowing that those million tiny spiders would soon grow into a million giant spiders, just like their mama, and propel themselves around the house to torment my family. Later, I dialed my husband’s number, grateful that I’d spared him, and by proxy, myself, any more involvement in this nasty business.
But I’d vastly underestimated him. He was angry. Hurt that I’d not trusted his own toughness enough to remove the threat of Lady Eight-Legs and all her million infants.
I tried to explain to him over the phone, but he didn’t want to listen. Babe, I whined, I only didn’t ask you to do it because… because… it’s just… sometimes you’re as likely to PLAY with the spider as kill it, and then it gets away. Plus, I didn’t know if you’d actually KILL the babies so much as…take them across the street and find them a nice rock to cling to in the woods.
And my suspicion had been correct. Well, he huffed on the other end of the line, who’s the better person here, the one saving lives or the one KILLING lives? He went on about the harmlessness of spiders — FALSEHOODS! LIES!! — and how if I’d really wanted him to, he’d have killed them all in one quick smash. And really, then you’d have a bunch of murders on YOUR hands. And you know what they say about killing a spider, don’t you? Other spiders come out to avenge their lost relation. They crawl up your bedsheets at night and reach for….
I hung up the phone. I knew my limits and hearing a grisly tale of vengeful spiders coming to take me away in the middle of the night would have been more than I could stand to hear and still maintain my sanity. As it was, I was already brushing at imaginary creepy crawlers on my neckline and across the arches of my feet.
I considered the chances of this being anyone but my mean-spirited husband, and answered without saying hello. If you’re going to say one more word about the things a spider will do to me in my sleep, I rushed, I’m not going to listen. There was a longer pause than I thought there should be before I heard his low chuckle.
I gave him a chance to redeem himself. It’s no big deal, he bluffed,it probably wouldn’t hurt when they…
I hung up on him again.
This time I let it ring until the answering machine picked up. I wasn’t going to listen to nightmarish tales of murder by spider-fangs. But I knew what his next step would be, so I listened carefully with the phone by my side, waiting for his move in this impolite game. The answering machine picked up and his oh-so-funny voice bled through the room. Sometimes they’ll even lift up your eyelids until…
I turned him off. Game, set, match. Someday my husband will realize what he’s up against, and then,
bring home a pet tarantula or something to keep me in line.