Eight Legs and Cowboy Boots

My muscles were sore from an over-exuberant exercise session. I knew what I needed, but I was out of bourbon. A hot bath was the next best thing.

I drew the bath, pouring in a generous amount of bubble solution. The water frothed and steamed, and I eased myself into its artificial-vanilla depths. I sank deeper, sighed, and turned my head.

There was a spider on the wall. It was large, it was enormous, and it was large.

I am not necessarily afraid of spiders. I think of them as I do people, that is, most are good, and some are venomous (the difference being dangerous spiders generally have clear markings to show they are not to be trusted; dangerous people do not). But I’d never seen this one’s like before.

I blinked at it from my foamy garrison, then shrugged and closed my eyes. I’d deal with it after my bath. But three seconds later my eyes popped open in alarm.

What if when I finally got out of the tub, I found an eight-legged guest in my robe sleeve? Even worse, what if I couldn’t find it at all, and it found me… while I slept? I don’t fear spiders, but that doesn’t mean I want one curled up next to me on my pillow.

I hoisted my groaning ligaments out of the tub and donned my robe and Turbie Twist, never taking my eyes off the spider. The spider was regarding me. I smiled at it, hoping to assure it of my good intentions.

I had a small Mason jar in the bathroom I used to store hair ties. My plan was simple. Coax it into the jar. Run with as little screaming as possible to the backyard. Wish it a prosperous life. Set it free. It was a good plan.

I placed the jar directly under the spider and nudged it with a tube of toothpaste. Instead of obediently walking into the jar, the spider dropped onto my hand.

My neighbors were treated to a shriek and the sound of shattering glass. Now I was sore, wet, barefooted, surrounded by pulverized Mason jar, and being watched by a confused, big-ass spider. I grabbed one of my slippers and placed it over the spider, but now at least one of my feet was in danger of laceration.

I opened the bathroom door and peered out. A pair of cowboy boots stood in the hall outside the door. Keeping my feet where they were, I was just able to contort enough to reach them. I pulled them on, then line danced to the kitchen for the dustpan and broom.

I spent the next hour dressed thusly – robe, Turbie Twist, and cowboy boots – sweeping up shards and keeping watch over a fuzzy pink slipper. But eventually, I had to address the spider. I procured yet another Mason jar (I still thought it was a good plan) and prepared myself, one hand over the slipper, the other hand hovering the jar.

I lifted the slipper the same way a magician would lift a box to reveal something astounding. But at the exact moment the glass dome was to encompass the unwanted guest, the spider jumped straight up.

You with me? The sumbitch jumped. Like a jumpy jumping thing.

But this time I was ready. I waited until it landed, calmly placed the jar over Tigger, then slid the lid into place. The spider moved onto the side of the jar, glaring at me, giving me the arachnoid version of the finger.

I did what anyone would do: I took pictures.

Then I reverently walked it to the backyard, wished it well, and set it free.

With my pictures, I was able to identify its type. It was a wolf spider, and I was glad to learn they lead solitary lives. I didn’t want to meet its friends or family. Also, I was running out of Mason jars.

The bath was cold and the bubbles dissolved into film. I pulled the plug and sadly watched the water drain, then I moved into the living room where I kicked my booted feet up onto the coffee table.

Bourbon would have been good.