In my house, the use of sudden, unannounced lighting while one is sleeping usually precipitates a fight or some dramatic news being announced. I snap awake, bleary-eyed and moaning. I see my wife standing in the doorway to our bedroom, naked and still damp from her shower.
"Sorry," she barks, "but there is a huge fucking spider in the house."
My wife is not the stereotypical woman who becomes a 'fraidy cat in the face of bugs. She has her limits, sure; we all do. But if a bug bothers her she's just as likely to goosh it herself and go on with her day than she is bring it up to me. Unless she's feeling lazy and I'm closer, I usually don't get recruited for bug duty.
And to be honest, I don't mind spiders. I've always said I'd rather have spiders around than whatever it is the spiders are eating. Our back porch is a constant web-building grounds for various fat-bodied spiders simply because of our proximity to the woods. Other than the occasional annoyance of walking through an unseen web, that doesn't bother me. We get the occasional straggling house spider wandering around in the house and nine times out of 10, I let 'em be. I'll let jumping spiders walk around on my hands because they're so neat to watch.
So I dutifully got up and began shaking things out and looking under furniture to appease my wife, fully expecting to run into a larger than usual house spider, maybe one of the black fuzzy guys that sometimes stumble into our house. After a few minutes of cursory searching, I was ready to say this thing just lives with us now.
"Oh my god there it is! It's behind the dresser!" Kat was doing an antsy dance as she pointed. It fell out of my towel. Oh god, get it!" I turned my flashlight on and peeked back behind the dresser.
"Hey. How's it goin'?"
What I saw was not a spider. It was an affront to nature. It was the thing that keeps HR Giger up at night. This was, simply put, the biggest fucking spider I've ever seen. Outside of a zoo or a bug house or something, of course. But your mind doesn't make distinctions like that at 6:15 am when you're in your underwear and there's a spider with a wingspan comparable to a bird of prey skittering up the back of your dresser towards you. No. Your mind just says, That's the biggest fucking spider I've ever seen followed by Run. Run away and never look back. Let the spider consume your wife to buy you time. You'll start a new life somewhere.
I don't even know how this spider could have been living in our house, because we have no livestock on which it could feed. This was the spider to end all spiders. If spiders participated in gladiatorial combat to determine who would rule them, this would have been the King of Spiders. Or Queen. Oh god, please don't let it have reproduced in my house. It walked over a piece of paper on the corner of the dresser and the paper gave and folded. I could hear it. Sweet fucking Christ I could hear its footsteps, it was that fucking big.
"Smash it!" my wife shouted.
"I...I can't get my flip flop back there. And it's not on a flat surface."
"Oh god. You don't want to miss," her tone was deadly serious. I also didn't really want to have to process this. This should not be. This made me rethink the security of my home and indeed my place on the food chain. If spiders could be like this then the world made no sense. And I'm the guy who likes spiders.
"Okay," I panted like we were about to break in to a goddamn bank vault or something, "I'm going to move the dresser. Keep the light on it."
"Okay," Kat gave me a knowing look. A look that said we're in this together, and I don't expect both of us to survive.
I moved the dresser.
"OH GOD IT'S COMING TOWARDS ME!" Kat leapt into the closet while I hurled myself towards the rampaging arachnid like a soldier falling on a grenade. THWAP! went the flip flop. THWAP! THWAP! THWAP! I half-expected Kat to come to me like they do in the movies and hold me, saying, "It's over. It's over!" again and again until finally I could stop thwapping and fall, sobbing, into her arms. But eventually the thing just started to disintegrate into various twitching legs and I figured it was dead. I grabbed some toilet paper and gave it a burial at sea.
"Wow," Kat said semi-sarcastically, "I guess I'm just a scared little woman who needs my big strong man to protect me after all," she kissed my cheek. "Thanks honey. I'm gonna grab some socks and get out of here so you can go back to bed."
Oh yeah. 'Cause I'm gonna fall right back to sleep after this.