Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Calm (emotionally) (09/13/07)
TITLE: The Arachnid Agreement
By Amy Michelle Wiley
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I may step quickly away from a scurrying arachnid, and at most, allow a small gasp. That’s the extent of my reaction.
Spiders and I have an agreement. They leave me alone, and I leave them alone. In bedrooms, however, all bets are off. You see, bedrooms are for sleeping in. This means a spider can easily creep up to bite an unsuspecting human, and a person can just as easily roll on top of the spider. In other words, bedrooms are hazardous to both spider and human health.
I have two preferred ways of dealing with bedroom spiders. The first is the Vacuum Method. I simply extend a vacuum hose toward the spider, turn it on, and vwoop! no more spider.
The other excavation method is by way of Cup Disposal. I lay a cup firmly over the top of the spider, slide a piece of cardboard underneath, and carry it either to a toilet or outdoors. The tricky part is shaking out the creature while ensuring it doesn’t land on me.
One method I absolutely hate is the Shoe Death. Stepping on a spider produces the most awful crunching squish, and leaves behind a mess of guts and limbs on the floor and bottom of the shoe.
I suppose my composure with arachnids stems from the fact that there is only one poisonous spider residing in my area, and he honors The Agreement. Recently, however, I found myself on an extended stay in another country. One of my first questions when arriving on foreign soil was to ask about poisonous insects. Not because I was afraid, mind you, but because I believe in being aware. I was informed that there are indeed a number of poisonous creatures here, not the least of which is the Red-Backed Spider.
Most of my stay passed uneventfully. But near the end, perhaps because spring is upon us, spiders began pushing their boundaries. I think word was slow in getting around about The Agreement, or maybe Aussie spiders are just exceedingly rude (no doubt because they can push the poison angle for all it’s worth).
The first incident happened when I was sitting on the toilet--a low time to strike. A spider had the impudence to drop onto my back. Thankfully it was a very small spider, so I didn’t even utter a gasp. I just brushed it off and, good riddance, promptly flushed it away.
The second spider incident not only broke all the rules of The Agreement, but forced me to employ the shoe. *Shudder.* I was walking barefoot toward my bed, just ready to turn in for the night, when I saw him, right next to the bed. Even as I watched, this spider had the audacity to begin climbing the skirt of the bedside table. In other words, it was headed closer to my pillow.
The rest of the house was sound asleep, rendering the noisy Vacuum Method unacceptable, and there was no cardboard in sight, disabling the Cup Disposal. That left only one option. I marched resolutely toward my shoes, carefully shook them out (just to make sure no one was hiding in them), and slipped them on my feet. As I gingerly shook the thing off the table skirt, he made his first defensive move--he charged me.
To my credit, I only jumped back a little, and I gasped even less. After all that, I had little guilt in slamming my shoe upon the horrid thing.
I pulled back to assess the situation. My enemy moved to protection under a space heater. That would not do. No way I would let an angry, bold spider stay loose while I slept. I moved the heater and he was fair game.
This time my shoe came down firmly, with all my weight. It was most unpleasant. I pulled my foot off and observed the crumpled ball. As I left the room to clean my shoe, visions of a mangled--but still living--spider creeping upon my sleeping form made me turn back.
He was still alive! Half of his legs seemed to be in working condition, and he was pulling himself, not toward safety, but once again toward me. I showed no mercy. When I was done, he was in several pieces and quite, unequivocally dead.
I cleaned my shoe and the carpet.
That night I dreamed about spiders. Big Red-Backed spiders. Even in my dreams, I didn’t so much as scream.
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