This is the “Year of the Spider;” eight-legged invaders are everywhere. A few nights ago, I heard my husband, Flash, making a racket in the living room, including a pounding noise of some sort.
“Oh gross!” You could hear him throughout the neighborhood. The man thinks I’m melodramatic, but he’s no shrinking violet.
I walked in to see him holding a shoe while standing over some small brown spot on the rug.
“What?” I had expected to see something much larger than a dot.
“Well, kill it.”
“I did,” he said, and then he described the horrific scene that had just unfolded before his large-as-saucer eyes.
I feel compelled to share with you, dear reader, the tragic story of the young spider’s journey. Get out your Kleenex tissues.
Hazel had a long history of one-night stands. Every guy she went out with seemed to have eight arms reaching out to grope her.
Nothing ever changed. They all scattered when she shed light on the subject of marriage and children; she wanted a whole slew of kids. Actually, the suitors often fled when light was shed on Hazel. As soon as they saw her in bright lighting rather than in a dimly lit bar, they sprinted out the door. Her edgy appearance was too much for them.
Her approach had to change. She, like her sisters, had a reputation in town. So Hazel reinvented herself. She went to the local beauty parlor - a little hole in the wall. Her hair was dyed to a beautiful chestnut instead of the harsh black she was born with.
The little red birth mark on her back, shaped like an hourglass, was the next thing to go. It was so unattractive; it seemed to repel males. She had an elegant violin tattooed over it.
Rather than being aggressive, her usual MO, she decided to be more subtle. She toned down her demeanor and spent more time at home, becoming somewhat of a recluse.
Finally, the day came. She met the man of her dreams. They were married three weeks after meeting on the World Wide Web.
On their wedding night, they dined on delicacies at the Venus Fly Trap Cafe and danced into the wee hours of the morning. Hazel was floating on air, even though Herb seemed to have four left feet.
They retired to their honeymoon suite and had a magical evening.
When Hazel woke the next morning, she turned to kiss her beloved. He was sleeping so soundly. She nudged him; there was no stirring. Again she tried to wake him. But there was no movement.
A look of terror quickly spread over Hazel's face.
Her worst nightmare had become reality. She had done all she could to change herself, but her destiny mandated by heredity was stronger than her will. Like her mother, her grandmother, and her aunts had done before her, she had killed her new groom while he slept.
At age 25, she was a widow, like all the females in her family.
Forlorn, she quickly packed up to move to another home. She couldn't bear to stay one minute longer and watch as Herb's body was swept away into the Dustpan of Death.
She settled into a house owned by a family of three humans. They were somewhat quirky, with a couple of dogs that never shut up. Hazel knew to be careful around the dogs; one glance at her, and they’d eat her for lunch.
Within weeks she had made a niche for herself. Her abdomen was getting larger; she would soon be a mother. Herb's legacy would live on.
She was making her way across the living room rug one day, towards the door to the backyard. She peered out the window. Just then, out came the sun and dried up all the rain; she knew it would be a great day. The days of "waiting for the other shoe to fall" were gone; things were finally looking up.
Unfortunately, Hazel was not looking up. A huge dark cloud hovered over her, about to change the future of her and her children.
Bam! The other shoe fell hard. A heavy weight smashed down on Hazel’s head and crushed her into the carpet. She never knew what hit her as she took her last breath.
A multitude of babies, about 350, escaped from Hazel’s sac and scattered to the floorboards. They made it to safety. The circle of life will continue until the females of the group one day find love and kill their mates. They too will be black widows at a young age.
I watched Flash as he stared down at what used to be Hazel. His disgust at seeing baby arachnids flee to the uttermost parts of our house was mixed with feelings of regret. I was touched that he was remorseful over his murderous behavior that left so many orphaned. Tin Man did have a heart.
But then he spoke.
“Next time," he said as he reached for a can of Raid Max Spider Blaster Bug Killer, "I’ll just use this.” His only sorrow was in having chosen the wrong weapon of mass destruction.