Lately I have had some very traumatic experiences at the
hands legs of the dreaded ceiling spider. Three of them, actually. Now, I’m a writer, therefore, my emotions might run just slightly hotter than the average bear. And I mean that literally. (No I don’t.)
Anyway. I may have slightly overreacted.
Most people were quite supportive, but my aunt suggested that perhaps I should calm down. Which, as my aunt, she is supposed to do. However, I got to thinking about the suggestion, and this was my response: Good stories are not made by people who react in a calm and rational way.
The more I thought about it, the more I believed it. I mean, think about your favorite stories. Most of the time, the main characters react in an emotional way to some event, and BOOM. Story.
Now. I could have told the story like this:
On Saturday I saw a spider on my ceiling. When it crawled to the kitchen area, I squashed it with a box. Sunday, there was another one, and I freaked out a little, but got him with a vacuum. Then, last night, a third ceiling spider appeared, and I sprayed it with hairspray and flushed it down the toilet.
Informative? Sure. Those are all the facts. But…it’s pretty dry and impersonal. So, to demonstrate how passion and somewhat inappropriate emotional responses make for a much better story, I decided to recount the events of the past three days in full color. Behold:
He was the third of his kind, and I knew already that he was different.
His first brother had been merely inquisitive, strolling across the ceiling, exploring in that nonchalant way of his. Perhaps my first mistake was killing that one. But you go for my food, and I can’t take it as anything other than a declaration of war. He was dispatched with an empty box, while I stood on a footstool. His body, curled in death, was swept away with the crumbs from my latest cooking adventure.
The second came the following night. He was a little trickier, a little more clever. He did not just hang out on the ceiling, but appeared and disappeared at random. I may have overreacted with him, but, bolstered by my Facebook and Twitter support systems, I faced him down armed with the vacuum hose and the aura of a unicorn. I waged this battle with a war cry, and was rewarded with a photoshopped victory plaque. I was winning. 2-0. Certainly none would be so brave as to confront me again.
Until him. As I said, he was different. He taunted me from his place on the ceiling, clinging the the popcorn surface right above me, and scuttling away when the crick in my neck grew too tight to guard his movements. I’m not going to lie. I was tired. Exhausted from this constant battle. After all, who am I but a two-armed warrior, while they bring the full force of eight appendages, quadrupling my abilities. So I tried to call a truce. He could live on my ceiling, in the corner by the air conditioner, or the one by the lamp. He could eat whatever tiny bugs flew around, and we could coexist.
He had other plans.
He stalked me through the apartment. Wherever I turned, there he was. Watching. Waiting. Biding his time until he could catch me off guard. Too bad for him, I am never off guard.
He made his move while I was in the bathroom, fixing my hair. I glanced in the mirror and saw him stationed above my bedroom door. Feigning nonchalance, I continued with my task. When I looked again, he was gone. I reached carefully for my giant bottle of rarely-used hairspray. It is important to keep such props around, so they don’t suspect the weapons in their midst. Shaking the can with cool calculation, I crept toward the doorway. Just outside the door, waving in a gentle breeze from nowhere, an almost transparent cobweb was strung from the bedroom door to the bathroom. Stealthy bugger.
Taking a deep breath, I ninja rolled out of the bathroom and came to my feet facing the way I had come, spray nozzle at the ready. Sure enough, there he was, a black blemish on the polished wood of the doorjamb. Without hesitation, I sprayed him with the toxic chemical, willing his body to freeze with the ultra all-day hold promise. He fell from his perch, where he had surely been planning to ambush me, but gained purchase a few feet down, clinging to the wood again, no doubt helped by his now sticky fingers (yes, spider fingers. I’ll give you a minute to think about that). With no mercy, I sprayed again, and he fell to the carpet. I continued spraying until I was sure even his ancestors were frozen in place.
With a deep breath, I grabbed a wad of toilet paper and scooped up my foe. Into the watery grave of the toilet I tossed him, and watched his body swirl in circles before disappearing into the black hole.
Then I flushed again.
Just to be sure.
I expect someday I will pay for what I have done, when the mothership comes looking for her lost sons and the heartless beast who took them from her. But on this day…on this day, victory is mine.