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Night Spider

My ex-husband used to tell me my fear of spiders is irrational. But unless you can provide scientific evidence that proves being bitten can cure PMS or melt belly fat, I have no interest in giving arachnids free room and board.

Said former husband would roll his eyes when I'd flee a room after noticing a spider on the ceiling. “What if it falls and gets lost in my hair?” He'd sigh and shake his head when one of the little jerks scurried across the kitchen floor; sending me into a panic-induced version of River Dance.

I think his lack of fear is irrational. For him, creepy-crawlies were no big deal; once upon a time ago, he held the title of Chief Bug Killer in our home. But he was demoted after I saw him squish a spider with his thumb - which made my skin crawl off my back and cower in the corner.

Tonight, my bedroom is filled with the lingering scent of Formula 409 All Purpose Cleaner. Not because I enjoy cleaning at all hours, but because ten minutes ago, I was snuggled under the covers, reading past my bedtime – and now, I’m up to my aorta with a case of the heebie-jeebies.

From the corner of my eye, I saw movement on the floor. A dark, eight-legged figure hurried across the carpet. My heart raced as I watched it hide behind my slipper.

I had to think fast. If I didn’t take action, it would disappear under my bed. Then I’d have to spend the rest of my life sleeping on the couch. I scooted to the edge of the mattress – slowly, so he wouldn’t see me sneaking up on him. I held my breath and nudged the slipper with my book. I expected Spidey to run out into the open where I could “whomp!” let him have it. But he gave me the slip and raced under the bedside table.

Like most bedside tables, mine sits right next to the bed. Near my head. I imagined falling asleep and having that wretched, fear monger make its way into my hair, my armpit, or across my face. Eww!

I hurried to the bathroom, in search of a weapon. Toilet brush? No good, he’d probably scurry up the handle and disappear into my sleeve. Toothpaste? Nope. I wanted to kill it, not whiten its teeth. Where are the blowtorches and sledgehammers when I need them? Then I spotted the bottle of Formula 409.

Back in the bedroom, I spritzed cleaner under the table and for good measure, sprayed under the bookcase too. Then I waited. I knew he wouldn’t be able to hold his breath forever. A minute later, he came back into the open, seeking fresh air.

He looked good, for a spider that’d been bathed in household cleaner. And he may have been wet and a little bit stoned from the fumes, but he still moved fast. I grabbed my book and took aim. Whap! Smack! And for good measure and extra smoosh. Death by paperback.

Turning the book over to examine the damage, I shuddered. The author’s face was smeared with legs and spider guts. How appropriate. I killed a scary monster with a Stephen King novel.

Using a tissue and a spritz of 409, I wiped the book clean and dropped the arachnid corpse into the toilet - then followed up with two flushes. You never know! Spider remains and lemon-scented, antibacterial cleaner could cause a mutated reincarnation. The last thing I need is to walk into the bathroom at 6 a.m. and find a giant spider sitting on the toilet, reading the newspaper.

Now it’s time to get some shuteye. But I’m playing it safe and going to bed with a good book and a loaded, spray bottle under my pillow.


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