Arachnids and I are not friends. I don’t scream when I see a spider like I do a cockroach (the big kind, like waterbugs), but I don’t like them.
Here, in South Texas, we have a spider that’s the size of my palm. I’ve heard it called a Texas Tarantula. Instead of black, it’s a light brown and hairy and you can’t see it as it’s crawling across your grass.
I’ve seen one three times in my life. Once, in my old house, on the patio. Once, here in this house as it was scampering across the patio to hide in the grass, and once yesterday morning.
When I let Flash in or out, I lean forward to open the screen door. Sometimes, my foot is on the flashing on the door sill. I never pay any attention. But yesterday, I looked down and there was one of these spiders right next to my foot. Okay, I screamed. I jumped back, but the spider didn’t move. He was splayed out and didn’t move. He was dead. I called for Flash, let him back in, and closed the door, shuddering. I knew I would have to dispose of the spider corpse, but I also knew I would have to work my way up to it.
Let me segue a bit, if I may. For medical reasons, I’ve had to go off caffeine. Evidently, it affects me in ways I never realized. I react oddly to some over the counter drugs and to certain foods, so I shouldn’t be all that surprised. But I love coffee and diet sodas, so the cold turkey aspect has been difficult.
I didn’t realize I would be so physically affected. I’m falling asleep sitting up. The other night I went to bed at 6:00 because I couldn’t stay awake any longer. I have a low grade, annoying, headache just behind my eyes that’s been with me for six days.
I wouldn’t be at all surprised if I were having hallucinations.
Back to the spider. A few hours later, armed with a dust pan, broom, and a vacuum, I opened the door, prepared to dispatch the spider. His corpse had been between the screen and the inner door, but he wasn’t there now.
He’d vanished. He’d become a zombie spider.
In his place, outside the screen door, was a dessicated mouse. All four feet were stretching up to a rainy sky. I just stared at it.
What creature had brought me a present? The spider? A neighbor’s cat? The wind? Had the spider morphed into the mouse?
All day yesterday I checked everywhere for that spider. When I opened the door I looked above me, making sure he wasn’t waiting to pounce. Was he in the kitchen? I couldn’t find any signs of him.
As to the mouse, he was still there this morning. I put him into a plastic bag and put him in the garbage on the curb.
Or maybe I just hallucinated everything.
Oh, for a cup of coffee…