I was sitting at my desk the other evening when a spider the size of a small bus walked across it. Now, spiders don’t bother me, particularly, except that I once read a story by E. Annie Proulx about a guy in Texas who puts his foot in his shoe and gets bitten by a small brown spider that was inside. He’s not gay, though: that was another story. Anyway, this guy gets real sick from the bite, and his wife nurses him back to health. Then he gets bitten by another small brown spider and he dies. It made me look at this present spider with respect.
I once read that most spiders don’t bite people because their jaws are too weak to break the skin. I didn’t think that would be a problem for this one. It looked capable of breaking my finger. It didn’t help that it was shiny and black, like the creature in Alien. Or that it kept pushing books and ashtrays out of its way. Although it ignored me as it crossed the desk, I realized I had to get rid of it. I couldn’t sit and work, wondering where this thing might be lurking. Since it was way too big to squish with my finger, I
ran shrieking stepped nimbly from the room in search of some appropriate anti-spider implement, like a broom, or a shotgun.
I returned a few minutes later carrying a knotted kitchen towel, which I intended to swing with devastating effect. As an emergency backup, I also carried one of those kitchen torches that are used for baking, but I was loathe to use it since the desk is made of wood. In college, we used to make torches by spraying deodorant through the flame of a lighter, and Steve Goldstein used one to burn his initials into the wooden door of his room. I didn’t want scorched initials on my desktop, or squashed spider entrails, at that, but it didn’t matter because I couldn’t find the beggar anywhere when I came back in.