Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Spider

The other night was not fit for man or beast, with torrential rains and high winds. And when I got up to open the screen door to our outdoor porch, a beast agreed with this assessment that it was not fit to be outside and rushed into our living room. It was a terrible, fearsome beast – a huge spider. How big was it? Well, not big enough to play in the NFL – no, not quite that big. But it was surely large enough to start at linebacker on a Division II college team! I mean, this thing was scary! It stood there in our living room, snapping its jaws and staring at us with like eight pairs of eyes.

“Kill it!” screamed my wife. “Kill it?” I replied. “With what? An elephant gun?” Meanwhile, the spider snarled with rage, grabbed a lamp with two of its legs, and threw it at my head. It barely missed.

“Just crush it,” cried my fearful spouse. “Crush it? Are you kidding me?” I said. The spider laughed, a deep and terrifying malevolent belly laugh, kind of like Jabba the Hutt when he trapped Luke in that “Star Wars” movie and planned on slowly and painfully ending his days. “Crush me?” it said. “Don’t even think about it.” The spider grabbed a leg of the table I was standing on it in its jaws and snapped it as easily as I would a matchstick.

I had to do something. A friend of mine once told me that as far as she was concerned, there were only two things that men were good for: crushing bugs and lifting heavy things. I pointed out that at least now and then, we are pretty useful to women for one more thing: taking the lids off tight jars. She scoffed at this. In any event, here I was, on the razor’s edge of abdicating at least 33% and maybe as much as 50% of my manhood.

“Look,” I said to the spider. “Let’s settle this amiably. I am a live and let live kind of guy. If I encounter you outside, I will leave you alone. But you come into my house, I will have to kill you, and neither of us wants that, do we? So why don’t you leave while you still have all eight of your legs and most of your eyes?”

“No way! It’s wet outside. I like it in here. This is my place now. You can leave in the next five seconds and maybe I won’t suck the juices out of your body and toss the dried-out husk under that sofa,” snarled the spider. For emphasis, it flipped over the sofa.

My wife screamed again. “Why is she screaming so loudly?” I wondered. Then I realized that I was the one doing the screaming, not her! “That’s embarrassing,” said the spider. “Do something!” my spouse yelled.

Her call galvanized me to action. In a flash, I climbed down off her shoulders and approached the spider. “Hey, I’m a mammal, not an arachnid,” I thought to myself. “Let’s use my superior mammalian brain to solve this problem.”

“Okay,” I said. “Let’s settle this outside, mano to mano.” I opened the door back up, and motioned. “I’m going to kick your butt,” the spider glowered. “Let’s go.” It scuttled across the floor and out onto the porch, and turned to face me. Using all of my guile and quickness, I slammed the heavy sliding door shut, locking the spider outside. I could hear it howling in rage. It tossed the patio furniture around and tore off some of the siding, but eventually, it gave up and left.

Me? I went out the next day and bought an elephant gun!

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