"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Monday, October 3, 2011

It's October - let the scares begin.

Tonight I went to see Pride and Prejudice at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa. It was a fun play, and I had a great time with my friend Sylvia, who had invited me (she has season tickets), but it got me to thinking: Hey, it's October. What a perfect time to read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

This is how my mind works.

I thought it might be fun to devote October's blogs to Halloween, with all its thrills and chills and even a touch of macabre. So I'm going to try to come up with a month's worth of scares, just for you.

'Cause I'm a giver.

Today's story is about the Not-So-Itsy-Bitsy Spider.

When I was oh-so-much younger, in my early thirties, I lived in a two-story condo in one of those uber-designed developments that had lush tropical landscape and streams running through the whole property (Placentia Lakes, for those of you who live in the neighborhood). My condo had been professionally decorated to reflect the outdoors: beautiful green carpet, pale peach wallpaper with vines, and a gorgeous wool rug that echoed the color scheme.

I came home from work after dark one night, and turned on a few of the lights. It was still a little dim in the room. My dog, Tyler, went over and started sniffing at a dark spot on the carpet. I went over to take a look, and possibly scold him for creating whatever was on the pretty new carpet, and saw it was a spider.

Not just any spider, but a Spider - big and black and at least the size of a silver dollar. We're talking huge, like that spider in Lord of the Rings. Mammoth.

Being an idiot, but a very stubborn one, I went to the kitchen and got the Raid. For the record, Raid does not work on spiders. I kind of knew that. I am, however, the Eternal Optimist, who believes that this once, the poison will kill something that usually doesn't succumb to it. I leaned over Shelob, pointed my weapon and pressed the button. I planned to keep spraying until either she asphyxiated or drowned.

At the first impact of spray, I discovered something about my giant spider. It wasn't a giant spider at all. It was a smaller spider with hundreds of babies riding on her back. Hundreds of babies that immediately scattered in every direction, including my feet.

I believe I screamed like a girl before I ran to the dining area to regroup.

Plan A didn't work. What was Plan B?  After I shuddered the "ick" out of me a couple of times, I went to the hall closet and got the vacuum out, then I reached under the kitchen sink and pulled out the duct tape. I plugged vacuum in, turned it on, and sucked all those little eight-legged freaks up into the bag. Then I quickly removed the bag, covered the opening with duct tape, and took it outside, to the dumpster.

I came back in and washed my hands a few (thousand) times, while I repeated, "Ew. Ew. Ew," at intervals. Spiders had never given me the willies before.

They do now.

How about you? Got any good spider tales?


Nick Belardes said...

Gayle, that was terrifying. I mean really terrifying. In my novel Anhinga there are a few spider scenes based on reality. One where I had a bunch of baby spiders on me too. Ugh. I hate them! But only moreso now because I almost died from a black widow bite. I want to stomp the life out of all of them, but since there are tens of millions in Bakersfield I don't think I will win...

Ali Trotta said...

I dislike spiders. I was okay with them, mostly, until I saw Arachnophobia -- which was about as brilliant as watching JAWS right before going on vacation. Now, every time I go into a basement, all I can think of is that movie.

Recently, though, I went to get an onion out of a bag in the pantry. I pulled the bag closer, and there was a HUGE spider that creeped out from underneath the bag. Huge, as in 'might eat small children and ponies.' Well, I screamed bloody murder, because WTF. Then I grabbed a flyswatter and beat it to death. An Oh-my-GOD-that-was-so-creepy dance followed.

Gayle Carline said...

Nick - Wow, I'm so glad you survived your black widow encounter. I knew they were poisonous, but didn't know they were THAT lethal!

Ali - ah, the That Was Creepy dance. I've done that, too. Although I dislike spiders, my Creepy dance is usually reserved for snakes.

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