This morning there was a spider. It was a brown recluse. Most are. My mother was sitting on the couch, working on her afghan. I was sprawled on a pile of pillows whilst observing a cat. Something skittered across the floor. I jerked up with a startled exclamation of wordless surprise. The spider stopped just in front of the couch.
My mother looked at me. "Spider?" her only, but accurate query.
I nodded, keeping my eyes on the offending arachnid.
My mother calmly moved her yarns and lifted her feet off the ground. "Well? Aren't you going to kill it?"
Right. I looked around the room. In a battle, your choice of weapon is key. Board game box. No, it's too big and flimsy. Yearbooks, Mom would kill me. Coaster. Perfect. Ceramic disc in hand, I faced down the spider. Not big, not small, probably a little juicy. However, while I had the advantage of size and strength, the eight legged menace was close enough to the couch that if I missed, he could easily escape.
"If you can't get to it, get the spray."
I weighed my options. With the coaster, the spider would be gone in a matter of seconds, but I only had one shot. With the spray, I would only need one shot, but my mother has always stressed that if I can conceivably smash a spider, I shouldn't use the spray. One shot. I lowered the coaster in order to run to the spray.
The spider sensed an opportunity and darted under the couch.
I darted to the kitchen, grabbed the canned death of arachnid, and hurried back, but I was too late. I couldn't see it, so I sent a small cloud of poison under the couch and hoped it had been enough.
"Not enough!" My mother took the spider killing fumes and put layer after layer of it around the bottom of the couch, the front, the side, the back, and the other side. A vision of spiders with tiny gas masks entered my mind. Even with gas masks, the poison eats through the exoskeleton, leaving no survivors. I watched my mother, half expecting her to burst into maniacal laughter.
When she was done I asked her if it was a little excessive. After all, she was the one who told me that use that stuff sparingly.
"We sit on the couch and floor all the time. It was called for."
From the look on her face, I learned where my strong reaction to spiders comes from. I can be brave, but if I see one bigger than the tiny carpet spiders, I freeze. Spiders are trying to over take the world. People with arachnophobia just happen to realize how dangerous spiders are.
Nothing with eight legs will survive under our couch for a very long time.