I should have known something was about to happen. Doolittle was on the bed, his paw pouncing around, his eyes intently focused and his nose sniffing around. I looked, but found nothing. I decided it must be one of those hallucinatory episodes that cats fall prey to every now and then. Like, you know, when they sit and stare at a blank wall for ten minutes.
But I was sitting on the edge of the bed, finishing up an ice cream sandwich. I turned my head to say something to DB, and I saw something black on my right shoulder. My bare right shoulder, naked and vulnerable... with an SOSS (Spider of Significant Size) sitting there, bold as brass, just looking back at me with his beady little eyes.
I shrieked. I jumped off the bed, screaming, “Get it off! Get it off!” as I danced like no one was watching.
DB: “What? What’s wrong?”
Me: “Spider! Is it still on me? I can’t see my back--”
I twirled like a dervish, slapping myself all over, brushing imaginary arachnids off my thighs and head and anywhere I could reach.
DB: “Honey, I think it’s gone-”
Me: “You think? Thinking isn’t good enough! Do you see it? Where did it go?”
Me (still brushing): “What ‘wow’?”
DB: “I had no idea your voice could reach that octave.”
Me: “It’s not funny!”
DB: “Are you scared of spiders?”
The monumental stupidity of what he had just said momentarily distracted me from the fear that the spider was still on me somewhere. He’d said it before, the last time a spider fell on me while we cleaned out my patio closet.
Me: “Yes, I’m afraid of spiders! Everybody is afraid of spiders!”
I began frantically tearing the comforter and sheets off the bed.
DB: “Oh, come on. You are never going to find it.”
Me: “I’m not trying to find it. I’m trying to make sure where it isn’t! You can’t possibly expect me to get back in that bed and try to sleep without making sure it’s not still in bed?”
DB sighed, climbed out of the bed, and began dutifully shaking the twenty-seven pillows I sleep with.
Suddenly, I saw the little bastard, strolling nonchalantly across the carpet at my feet. I shrieked again.
Me: “There he is! There he is!”
Me (pointing frantically): “There! Right there! Get him!”
DB: “Well, hand me something to smash him with.”
Me (throwing a box of Kleenex at him): “Hurry up! Before he gets away!”
DB: “He’s not getting away. There’s no where for him to go.”
Me: “Spiders are crafty bastards! They’re like Houdini. They can always disappear into a crack or something!”
DB bent over and pinched the spider between the tissue as I just stood there shuddering. As he walked past me to the bathroom, he opened the tissue and displayed a tangle of little black legs.
DB: “Oh, look! It’s got a red hourglass on its belly--”
Me (blood draining from every part of my body): “Really?”
DB (grinning): “No, just kidding--”
Me (slapping him on the shoulder): “That’s not funny!”
DB: “Actually I think it’s a brown recluse.”
DB: “I thought you had a catch-and-release policy about spiders? Good for the environment and all that. What happened to not giving in to the ignorant bias against these poor, misunderstood, multi-legged creatures?”
Me (remaking the bed): “Hey, I have a very specific understanding with the spiders. They leave me alone, I leave them alone. And this one broke the pact. He launched an aggressive incursion onto my personal body-- Stop laughing at me!”
DB: “You know, they say a person swallows eight spiders a year while they sleep--”
Me: “That’s an urban myth.”
DB: “Are you sure? My brother woke up once and found a spider leg in his mouth--"
Me: “SHUT UP!”
POST SCRIPT: Later that night I went to the bathroom. Flipped on the light, and there was another spider, sitting on my sink. He died tragically.