I recently read a news story about an incident in Australia that sent shivers down my spine. It wasn’t a “new” news story, but it was certainly news to me. Police in Sydney were flooded with calls from concerned neighbors who heard what sounded like a tremendous domestic dispute. They reported and a man shrieking, “I’m going to kill you. You’re dead. Die! Die!” All of this was accompanied by the sounds of crashing furniture and things being smashed. It sounded as though someone was…well, being killed.
That, however, is not what terrified me. I mean, hell, I see that every day on Law and Order: Criminal Intent. It’s what the police found when they arrived. A distraught man who was out of breath and quite flushed opened the door. The police demanded, “Where’s your wife?” He told them that he wasn’t married. “Then, where’s your girlfriend?” He told them that he didn’t have one. “The neighbors told us they heard a woman screaming in here.” The man confessed, “That was me. I was screaming.”
After inspecting the home, the police came out and explained what was going on to the to the concerned neighbors. “It was a spider,” they said. “A really, really big one. And he really, really hates spiders.” The terrified man had been chasing the large spider around, trying to hit it with insect spray, knocking over tables and shelves in the process. He was definitely an arachnophobe. I mean, he is in Australia after all. I think they have more man-killing spiders per capita than anywhere else in the world. Australia definitely produces their fair share of “WTF, stay away from me!” kind of animals.
I am not an arachnophobe. Nor am I an arachnophile. I’m arachno-neutral. Or at least, I was. Till along came the Huntsman spider – which I believe was the culprit in the above-mentioned terror-filled story. Now here is the part of the story that truly reminds me of some of those B-horror movies I love so much and what scared me the most about this story. Huntsman spiders can grow to have a leg span of almost one foot. They are ugly creatures. I mean, I’m sorry, I feel for the poor things, but yeah, they’re not cute. They bite, but only if provoked…which I for one am thankful for — AND they don’t fly, thank whatever God was put in charge of creating spiders. People in Australia have taken to calling them Aragogs, the deadly spiders of Harry Potter fame. You can’t really blame them. If I woke up to find this thing in my house, I think I’d be calling it some names too…though perhaps not such a literary one.
When I first read about the poor man in Sydney who woke the neighbors, I got a good laugh from it. But then, after a little visualization, I decided that maybe it wasn’t quite so funny after all. Imagine walking into your kitchen and finding a fuzzy creature the size of a dinner plate walking across your counter top, and you don’t own a cat (or at least not one with 8 legs). I’m quite sure the neighbors would hear me. Hell, I think the residents of the adjacent states would hear me. So, yeah. Bless the citizens of Australia because if this is the shit they have to deal with, they deserve our awe and our admiration.
Although I do sort of feel sorry for the poor spider…I mean, can you imagine just going about your spider-y life, then mistakenly wandering into the wrong house (I mean, come on! Who hasn’t done that after a full night of carousing and drinking!?) and then having some lunatic chase you around trying to smash furniture over your head?