Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Nature Girl versus the Spider King

From time to time, I've written stories about Nature Girl (my alias). I wrote this one years ago, but in honor of the gynormous spider I stomped today, I bring you this blast from the past ....


As all who know her know, Nature Girl has a Universal CARP: a Capture And Release Program. All creatures, great and small, are not killed, but are, rather, scooped up and relocated from the house (or wherever they are causing the annoyance) and deposited elsewhere.

All creatures, that is, who are not huge, menacing, and of the arachnid family. 

Arachnids from Hell are killed.

Early one morning, Nature Girl got up at her usual (godawful) hour, the moonlight streaming in her windows. She tucked her feet into her Genuine Maxine Bunny Slippers with floppy ears, dragged on the worn and ratty bathrobe (worn and ratty because the cats sleep on it and pound it into oblivion with sharp claws) over the old T-shirt she habitually wears to bed, and stumbled about the house doing Morning Ablutions. The Spousal Unit slept on, blissfully undisturbed. Keep in mind that the time is, approximately, 4:10 a.m. and because it is the Great Frozen Northland, it's chilly  because the furnace has just kicked back on after a night at rest.  It doesn't matter that it is the end of April; there is snow on the ground. And more snow in the forecast.

The cats, as was their wont, gently herded Nature Girl to the kitchen, but no Good Food (a.k.a., that enjoyed by felines) was to be had. So they herded her to the basement laundry room, home of Good Food, home of food such as Tuna Treat, and Turkey Kibble, and Seafood Feast. NG stumbled across the laundry room, scooped up two big kibble scoops from the kibble bin, turned, and saw

    The Spider King

(a switch in POV here. Sorry)

In the middle of the small throw rug (made by my own hands, I might add). I must have stepped over it (blessedly) on my bleary way to the kibble cache. There it sat. Or, rather, there it crouched. Menacing. Waving arms at me (multiple arms). Black. Large. Hairy (ok, maybe not hairy, but BIG). No exaggeration BIG. With the legs, at least 4" big. Noticeably BIG on an attractive pastel rug, crocheted by my own hands. Hell, it made the rug look small.

For those of you who are Hobbit fans, it was the Shelob of spiders, but unlike Bilbo, I didn't have a sword named Sting to help me (hell, I didn't even have a skinny white rock star named Sting to help me). No, all I had was a 3 oz. can of Fancy Feast, a broken iron, and bunny slippers. Soft bunny slppers. This thing looked like it had a carapace. Maybe if I had a 3-iron, a titanium 3-wood, or a bazooka, I might approach closer, but bunny slippers? No way.

As I stared in horror at the monstrosity, Scooter, the smallest (and the sweetest) of the cats, approached, yawning. Oh, look, she seemed to say. A large menacing thing on the rug, waving multiple arms and making Angry Fists. Obviously put there so I can prove my worth as a mighty hunter. I will stalk.  I will wiggle my butt. I will attack. I will feed because my human is standing there, clutching two full kibble scoops to her bosom, terrified and frozen in place and obviously incapable of providing food this morning.

The body of the spider was bigger than her paw. Images of a fast visit to the veterinary emergency room flashed through my brain; images of Scooter, choking on spider poison, flashed through my brain; images of a huge Visa bill flashed through my brain. That was all it took. I was galvanized into action.

Grabbing a handy empty fish bucket (actually, it began life as a 40-lb kitty litter container, but then graduated to fish bucketness), I advanced on the Creature, saying to Scooter in a shrill yet strangely calm voice, "Get out of here, Scoots!" The cat, startled by this sign of life from me so early in the morning, oddly obeyed.

I slammed the bucket down on the spider, open side up, and heard a slight <oof> as I bolted past the thing, leaping once into the air as I thought I felt the sly touch of a black ?paw? ?leg? feeler?. I felt a brief tug of despair at the thought of the (quite probably) ruined throw rug, but, heck, I never liked that crochet pattern anyway, and I was woman enough to let the feeling go. I was also scared enough.

Then I filled the bucket with anything that came to hand. I wanted to fill it with water, but I wasn't going to drag the bucket/spider combo over to the sink and let it get close to me. So I stood a few feet away and tossed items into the bucket: a cordless power drill, a can of room deodorizer, a plastic container of Cheer, a small ceramic flower pot, and, to top it off, once I was sure it was safe, I balanced the used kitty litter container on top, with three days worth of kitty output from three kitties. Even so, I could swear I saw the bucket move as the Thing tried to throw off its oppressor.  Then I did what any self-respecting arachniphobic would do.

I left a message for the Spousal Unit and told him to clean up the body.

I knew his scientific curiosity would be aroused anyway, and he *might* notice the bucket full of power tools and oddments in the basement, topped by the used kitty litter, so I thought I should warn him.  Keep in mind, this is the guy who tenderly saved the World's Biggest Wasp Nest for dissection (after the wasps were gone, of course). A Spider as Big As the Ritz would be right up his alley. A slightly flattened Spider as Big as the Ritz, that is.

Advice to all: after tussling with the World's Biggest Spider, plan on feeling nervous. Sit down.  Relax.  Allow your blood pressure to return to normal. And don't leap back in surprise when you think you see something in your shower.

You will fall down and bruise yourself.