The Man Boy Who Cried Wolf Spider!
MANY of you have chided me for misrepresenting lovely Virginia, USA, as an arachnophobe’s nightmare.
“Ted,” you chide, “Ted, every time you go there, you whine like a little girl about the spiders supposedly therein.
“And then how you do go on about the stink bugs and centipedes and those so-called ‘enormous’ hornets and all other manner of creepy-crawlers, and so why wouldn’t we chide you, man?” you continue to chide.
Anyway, you have my schedule, you know I’ve been visiting the family, but what you didn’t know was the first day I’m there, as I’m bringing my luggage into Dad’s guest room, as a welcome, what comes charging out at me down the hall is a wolf spider. Had the leg-span the diameter of a manhole cover, it did – and the pedipalps on this thing…! As long and thick as those inflatable noise-maker sticks people in the South bring to their sporting events, but even more insidious!
…Okay, so maybe they weren’t as big as those, and perhaps the entire creature wasn’t quite manhole-cover-sized. Still, the damn thing was big.
Father directed me to “Just step on it,” and I did as I was told, but brother, something that size I was bound to feel, regardless of how tall the soles of my vinyl platform boots were. Crrrunch.
After I scraped it off my shoe into the toilet, attempted flushing in vain, and then used a plunger to help send the profusion of hairy legs sticking out of the now-clogged commode back down to the depths of hell from whence the beast came, Dad noted that “Oh, that little thing, that’s nothing.”
Yeah, well to me – to me, it was something. Something out of a nightmare I’m going to have every night for months now, where I’ll wake up screaming each time and probably begin peeing the bed again, and after all those years of hypnotherapy…!
“That’s nothing,” Dad continued, or reiterated, or something, regardless that he didn’t actually repeat himself yet I’ve written it that way for dramatic effect. “A few months ago I had a mouse in here so I put down a couple of glue traps.”
Then he made his way to a bookshelf and pulled a flat board off of it.
“This is what I caught instead.”
“It was actually quite a bit bigger before it died and the legs curled in a bit.”
Okay, then! Just get me my cell phone so I can book my flight back out of here right now, today, five minutes after I’ve arrived, and hand me that baseball bat, too, just in case any more appear while we wait for the airport shuttle to rescue me and I contemplate why Dad’s starting a trophy room for vanquished arachnids.