There used to be this spider that lived in my bathroom. I’m not entirely sure what kind of spider he was — the best resemblance I could find was that of a Tasmanian Cave Spider though, for all I know, he could be anything — but, regardless of what species, he was a pretty frikkin’ big spider. I mean, if you were to measure the diameter of his legs whilst stretched — assuming you could get close enough to him to get his legs stretched out in the first place — you’d have a spider of at least four or five feet across.
The usual scenario would go like this: I would wake up in the morning and groggily stumble into the shower. During that shower, my spider friend would feel it necessary to descend from his web into the shower with me. I would, mid-lather, notice him hanging three or four inches in front of my face. I would also notice that I’m naked, and then I would scream like a four year old girl and jump out of the shower.
I don’t like to kill things, no matter how awful and creepy they are. I’m the kind of guy that’ll go to extreme measures to capture a rogue living room bumblebee for release outside. The first dozen or so times the spider appeared, then, I took no action aside from going back to bed and crying for a while. This is not, however, a routine that is particularly conducive to starting one’s day on a positive note, so I eventually started building up the nerve to try to relocate him.
Early attempts involved attempting to grab him with a pair of needle-nosed pliers, which were, for some reason, in the bathroom. The unfortunate result of this failed attempt was the loss of one of his legs — a loss that he did not seem to mind much, though it gave me the jibblies. Several more attempts were made, over the following days, that included the use of cups, bags, boxes and glue, none of which were successful.
Out of desperation, one day I finally just shot him with the shower nozzle, hoping to knock him out of the way. Instead, though, he hit the tub and whirlpool’ed down the drain. Success, I thought! I’d finally gotten rid of him!
Until he came back the next day.
Eventually this became something of a game, finding new ways to try to get rid of him. One day I used the toilet brush to roll up his web, cotton candy style, and then flush him and his web down the toilet. Another time, I used a can of hair spray and a match to attempt a torching. I may have even, at one point, resorted to using bug spray.
Alas, it was all to no avail. No matter how many times he was killed, the sightings continued, like elderly Elvises (Elvi?) at shopping malls. In honor of this, and despite the fact that I question the sultriness of his hip gyrations, I named him Elvis.
One night I had just gotten home and was sitting at this very computer trying to do some kind of work, when I noticed something out of the corner of my eye, wandering across the keyboard. I was a rather bedraggled looking, seven-legged spider.
Before I could do anything, like emit a high-pitched scream, he had stumbled off the keyboard and was between the desk and the wall, where I couldn’t get to him. Well, I figured, he can’t stay there forever, and hopefully will just continue walking until he’s in the open, and then I’ll be able to get at him. I ran downstairs and got several utensils, a jar and a fly swatter, and when I came back I began the quest to find him. All for naught, though, as he was gone: I’d lost him.
Talk about paranoia. Talk about arachnophobia!
I sat crouched on my chair with a flyswatter in one hand, a flashlight in the other and several boxes and jars with which to confine him crammed around me, scanning the walls and floor for a spider I was certain would, at any moment, come screaming from the shadows dripping venom and hate. I was so paranoid I was actually looking inside my can of soda before I drank from it, as if a spider that was bigger than the can itself would somehow be able to nonchalantly wander into it and be waiting there for me. I couldn’t just let it be: I knew, deep down, that if I left him alone, he’d come out when I least expected it. He’d come back to make life miserable.
After crouching awkwardly on my chair for fourteen or fifteen hours, I decided to finally give it a rest and try to get some sleep. I’d been looking for what felt like days and hadn’t seen a thing. Deciding to make sure it actually was him, I checked the bathroom — sure enough, he was not there. I returned, warily, to my bedroom, grabbed my flyswatter and flashlight, crossed them over my chest like I was some kind of exterminator pharaoh, and tried to drift off.
Sleep does not come easily when you’ve got Kumonga lurking in the shadows, though, and I found myself waking up randomly throughout the night in stark paranoia. I’d open my eyes, scan the room with the flashlight, and then try to get back to sleep. At 2AM, I again awoke, only this time there was something different.
Turning my flashlight on, I saw him. Hovering, Mission Impossible-style, on a web a mere three inches above my face loomed the giant, mildly singed, seven-legged spider. I stared at him for a moment and he stared back at me, the black of his eyes telling me that he was tired of being kicked around by some naked guy in the shower. It was payback time.
Frozen though I was, my hand slowly moved and reached for the flyswatter. I swung it blindly and nailed him: he flew off the swatter and against the wall, landing on the carpet. He wasn’t dead, though he was a little discombobulated, staggering around drunkenly.
I got up and looked around. It was still dark in the room and I couldn’t find any of the boxes or bottles. I couldn’t just leave him alone, either. Stepping on him was out of the question — I had no shoes on and he’d probably just grab my foot and throw me around if I tried — so I opened the bedroom door and swung the flyswatter like a 9 iron, ejecting him from the room.
In my heroic swing, however, he sailed right across the hallway, back into the bathroom, and under the bathtub, which was one of those old-timey types with the feet. I warily shined my flashlight under the tub, but could see nothing clear except dust bunnies and wilted linoleum. I had to have taken him out, though — nothing could survive a swatting like that. Elvis, ladies and gentlemen, had left the building.
Dateline, 9AM. Shower time. Happy that I’d rid myself of my gyrating, hunka-hunka blue suede spider once and for all, I gleefully hopped into the shower, cranking up the steam. After a few moments, mid-lather, I realized that, once again, there was a large, beat-up, mildly singled, seven-legged spider hanging three or four inches in front of me, and also that I was naked. I screamed like a four year old girl and jumped out of the shower. Grabbing the first thing I saw, an old magazine, and thwapped him out of the air. His lifeless body sailed quietly down the drain.
And I look forward to seeing him again tomorrow morning.