Late last night
I’d a terrible fight
With a Wild Gazite
With eyes of white
And he gave me a fright
When he gave me a bite
But I fixed him, all right–
I turned on the light.
Well. I wish it had been some imaginary bogey-creature that vanished when the light went on, but it wasn’t.
What it was, (past tense), was an arachnid the size of my hand, give or take. On the door. The door by the refrigerator, the one I have to pass by in order to get to the overhead light switch.
I was on my way over there to do just that: turn off the light.
That was when I saw….it.
It was frozen, probably with fear of me, halfway up the door, right at eye level. I jumped back, spine tingling like mad.
I hate spiders. Especially gigantic ones. And most particularly, gigantic ones that invade my living space.
I have had conversations with them in the past, that go something like this:
“Spider. I know that you have a job to do, and that you are, in truth, my servant. You eat other creatures that I don’t want in my living space. I appreciate that, and I encourage you to continue, as long as you do not invade my space, and most importantly, as long as I don’t see you. Because, spider, if I see you, you will die. Guaranteed.”
I think this approach works, somewhat, because I seem to see fewer spiders after such a speech. I think that spiders are actually quite intelligent, and that they pay attention. They have to, to make a living, and keep from being killed.
I live in a building that used to be my father’s pottery studio, until he became too disabled to work, and I cleaned the place out (sort of) and moved in. It’s quite….rustic here (no plumbing except for one spigot), and pretty well closed in from the outside elements, but there is an established spider population, because before I moved in it was damp, cool, and dark: just what a spider loves.
The first thing I did before moving in was to thoroughly bomb the place with anti-spider poisonous gas. It worked pretty well. Looks like it might be time to do it again, eh?
So. Back to last night’s arachnophobic encounter.
After I got myself together from the initial shock, I ran for the big orange can labeled “Spider Killer,” which I have to keep turned around so that I don’t see the horribly explicit picture of a huge spider on the front of the can. I sneaked up on the monster from behind my clothes rack (shudder: what if it had….never mind).
There it was, still on the door, but having tiptoed a little to the left, trailing a thread of silk. I felt kind of sorry for it, but not for long. I aimed the nozzle of the Spider Killer at it, and fired!
The can kind of fizzled and got Spider Killer all over my hand. Cursing softly, so as not to alarm my prey, I washed my hand thoroughly under the one spigot and returned to the fray, having made sure that the nozzle was now functioning properly.
I aimed again and fired, this time covering the arachnid with a thick coating of white Spider Killer. She jumped (the huge ones are always female) and kind of drew in her legs a bit. Good, I thought, now the poison will quickly kill her and I can think about something else.
But no. She picked herself up, and letting out some more line, shuffled in a diagonal fashion across the door, leaving an image of herself where I had sprayed the white substance on her: a nice spider-shaped stencil on the door.
I had at her again with the Spider Killer. I sprayed her until she was totally white, like a spider snowman. She stopped moving and looked a little sick, but in no fashion dead. In a state of low-grade panic, I cast about for something to fatally whack her with.
The studio is full of every kind of tool, including a mattock and a machete (I am SO glad that I forgot about my .22 Ruger pistol that I keep under the bed), but the only thing I could imagine that would actually murder a spider at a distance without causing damage to my living space was the broad side of the broom, followed up by whacks with the dust-pan if necessary.
And that is what I did. I gave her a tremendous whack with the broom, one that I hoped would cause instant death, not caring whether I had to clean the aftermath off the door.
But no. She was a very tough customer. Although she did fall **plop** on the floor, she was neither squashed nor dead, and in fact picked herself up and groggily tried to make a getaway. It took several more smacks with the broom and frantic whacks with the dust-pan to reduce her to a pile of spider debris, which I triumphantly swept into the dust-pan. I grabbed the door handle, planning to throw her remains outside, but my hand just slipped and sloshed around, because the handle was covered with Spider Killer (indeed!). Cursing out loud now (the spider being beyond hearing me), I rushed once again to the spigot to wash the Spider Killer off. It didn’t kill the spider, but who knows what it would do to me???
Armed with paper towels, I wiped the door handle down, and also the door which now boasted two spider stencils. And then, holding the dead spider in the dust-pan in my left hand, I opened the door with my right.
Only it didn’t open. It was stuck. It does that sometimes, from the humidity. There are advantages and disadvantages from living on a cliff 500 feet above a Scenic River. Humidity is a Disadvantage.
I put the pan with the spider down and wrestled with the door. It took a pretty good whack to get it unstuck at the top, where it always sticks. I really need new doors in this place.
At long last I stepped out onto the bridge that connects the studio to what used to be the kiln room, and dumped the crumpled corpse over the side.
Then I had a whisky while I waited for my meds to take effect, tranquil in the aftermath of battle.