October is the perfect month for Halloween – the days are shorter, the air is crisp and there's a slight howling to the sound of the nighttime wind. Leaves blow around and trees look dead. Throw a full moon in there and you have all the makings for a full-on creep fest.
Halloween, as it's become, is a far cry from its Festival of the Dead origins. I don't believe that spirits rise and wreak havoc on this day, as some do; no, for me, I think of Halloween as a day for kids to dress up in costumes and amass a lot of candy. Still, with that said – and even though it's just one day – I think all the associated autumn decorations can add a certain degree of spookiness to the entire month of October. A spookiness that could make someone a little jumpy, maybe… especially if that someone is me – someone who gets creeped out by little things like those fake spider rings that kids like to leave lying around. And, if I don't care for fake spiders, you can bet I'm not that fond of the real ones. Now listen, spiders outside – even tarantulas – don't really bother me, but in my house, that's a different story.
My blood ran cold and my heart skipped a beat as my breath caught in my throat one night when I came in late and found a spider the size of a plum clinging to my kitchen wall up where it meets the ceiling. As I stood there, frozen in fear, I couldn't imagine what I was going to do. My ceilings are 12'-0' high. I knew I couldn't leave it there. What if it wandered off? Where might it go? Where might it lay eggs? These are just a few of the things that went through my mind as my heartbeat picked up speed and I began to perspire. I mulled over my options: call my brother for help, no; spray with Raid thereby saturating my wall and ceiling, no; could I leave it there, no – definitely not. I knew what had to be done and I was the one who was going to have to do it.
I steeled my resolve and got the necessary supplies – namely, a telescoping duster and what I call my scorpion killer, which is really just a Swiffer sweeper wrapped in paper towel. (That's a story for a different day.) The plan was to stand on a stool and using the fully extended duster fling the eight-legged wonder to the floor after which I'd hop down and exterminate this poor in-the-wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time creature with the use of my previously prepared squisher Swiffer.
Here's where my plan went awry. Standing on the stool, I had to stretch over my hutch to reach this thing and as the duster grazed one or two of the legs, it didn't fling him – as I had hoped – but merely knocked him off his perch. I nearly fell off my own perch as the spider wafted down the wall and fell behind the hutch. I quickly grabbed the Swiffer and got on my knees to locate the fallen threat on the floor beneath the hutch. The problem was he wasn't there. Oh my.
I was in a full body sweat at this point. Where did it go? Placing my cheek to the wall, I strained to look into the ½" space behind the hutch. Ugh, there he was, clinging to the back of the hutch, hanging on like… like… well, like Spiderman. Now what was I going to do? That hutch weighs a ton and it was too close to the wall to get anything behind it. It's amazing what a little adrenaline can do. I managed to move it about an inch and half, and still, my adversary held fast. This was becoming a battle of the wills.
I once again grabbed the extended duster. I swooshed it along the back of the hutch. I missed. I swooshed again. Success! He dropped to the floor. I grabbed the Swiffer and pushed it back and forth under the hutch until the paper towel revealed the tell-tale wet spot of a spider that once was. With legs loosely strewn about, I had squished him into oblivion. It was horrible, but I did what I had to do. Many of our spiders are poisonous and I couldn't just leave it there.
I don't advocate killing
It's certainly not thrilling
But when the fear is bone-chilling
You've got to be willing
They'll creep and they'll crawl
And they'll cling to your wall
With eight legs in all
They're not likely to fall
Some are tan, some are brown, some are black
All will send chills up your back
You cannot cut any slack
You must give them a whack
You simply can't risk being bitten
These are lethal spiders, not kittens
For 'kill or be killed,' it is written
So, adios, Spidey – good riddens
~ M (the exterminator)