I’ve always been just a tad bit arachnophobic. I don’t know why, I don’t have any major childhood spider trauma following me around. I’ve only once woken up with one in my bed on my completely exposed body, and I was well into college when that happened. I slapped that spider and my own chest so hard it bruised. Maybe I fear spiders because of all the stories I heard about black widow bites when I lived in South Dakota. Once, I stepped into the shower and closed the curtain behind me just to discover a large black widow sitting at about eye-level on the curtain. I admit some trauma, but that too was in my adult life.
My housemate, DLH, on the other hand, is not afraid of spiders. They creep him out, but they don’t send him scrambling for help. So when I heard him shout and jump up, I knew we were dealing with an uncommon sort of foe. He told me that a spider “as large as his head” had emerged from under one of the Wii controllers and ran straight toward his bed “with malicious intent.” Being the good housemate I am, I got the spider spray and laid down a line across the doorway to his bedroom, that way the spider couldn’t get to where I live.
DLH moved into the other room and debated sleeping on the couch.
I told him to “man up.”
“Fine,” he said. He then asked to borrow a book, a hefty volume entitled Foundations of Western Thought. He marched back into that room and quickly, panickingly began checking under and around his bed, throwing his piles of clothes and blankets around. I spotted the spider first, making a beeline for the closet.
DLH screamed like a banshee and threw the book at it. Literally. He missed. Honestly, I don’t know how; the target was huge! Adrenaline pumping, he dived after the book, grabbed it, and threw it again. This time it hit with more of a thunk than a slam.
A direct hit.
Here’s where it gets weird and entirely unsettling: That book began slowly moving toward the closet. DLH jumped on it and proceeded to stand on top of the book for several minutes just to ensure the behemoth was good and dead.