A skittering noise

I have heard a strange noise in the bathroom. It’s the kind of noise that you’re aware of but is hard to describe. I think to myself that it must have been my pant leg brushing against the wastebasket. I continue to clip my fingernails, a gross detail of this story, but not the grossest by any means.

I am aware of the noise again. It’s a skittering noise. I don’t know the last time I used the word skittering in a sentence, but I know what it means. This is a definite skittering noise.

I glance down at my pant leg, even though a  pant leg couldn’t make a skittering noise. My pant leg is 4 inches from the wastebasket. It’s not brushing against anything and nothing is brushing against the wastebasket. I am so suspicious of these pants, hopeful actually, that the pants somehow caused the noise and my leg isn’t aware of it. When you hear an unnerving noise you try to make sense of it. You try to make it fit into some known parameter so that you can shrug and say “Oh that’s what it was.”

But my pants are innocent so I glance around my little bathroom but see nothing that would explain the skittering noise. I glance at the window to see if there are moth wings beating against it, but there aren’t. I stare at the wastebasket. I’m convinced something is in there. I can’t ignore a skittering noise. I jiggle the liner bag. I see nothing. Then I move the wastebasket.

I scream and leap over the “Holy Mother of God” spider that is planted squarely between my feet. I continue to scream because I can’t stop. This is a huge spider, the size of a decent sized cookie. Not like an Oreo or anything, but like one of those big Archway cookies.

E wants to know what’s wrong. She rushes into my room, sees the “Holy Mother of God” spider and exclaims “Holy Mother of God”.

I am now standing with a shoe in my hand. I make E feel my pounding heart. We are standing there saying “What the hell?” and “Holy shit.” I assess the situation and decide a spider of this magnitude requires spraying. He will be much too swift and limber for me to kill with one blow from a shoe.

E guards the spider while I fetch the Raid. Thirty seconds later we are both staring at the toilet. The spider is gone. E says she saw him climb up the right side of the toilet and he must still there. There is no way he escaped. We decide he is probably under the seat, waiting for me to sit down so he can crawl up my ass. I begin spraying around the toilet, without getting too close. I hope he will come out coughing and staggering, taking a few tottering steps on his hairy skittering legs only to collapse dead in a heap. That doesn’t happen. Nothing happens.I look in the shower, even though it’s implausible that he could have gotten in there without E seeing him. “This is bullshit,” I say.I get a yardstick and attempt to raise the cover and seat of the toilet because he is obviously hiding under there. I am so freaked out by this spider I can’t even lift the cover and seat on my own – I have to use a yardstick so that I will be 36 inches farther away from the spider. It takes me a couple of tries but I use the yardstick to flush the toilet too, in case he is lurking under the rim. Still nothing happens. I get a little closer to the toilet and spray the space between the tank and the wall. He is obviously hiding in there because he’s not under the toilet seat. This spider’s an asshole. Spiders that are assholes like to hang out around toilets.I wonder aloud how and where I will sleep tonight if I don’t kill this spider. I laugh quietly, pretending that I’m joking, but I’m not.

The spider emerges from behind the toilet, the stupid bastard. He heard the laughter. He thought it was OK to come out.  He looks a little wobbly but that doesn’t stop him from leaping against the wall twice. His legs make a clicking noise when they hit the wall. I think he knows he’s trapped and for an instant I feel sorry for him, because I am that screwed up.

I am afraid that some day my fear of spiders might kill me. When I am 74 or 77, I will see one crouching up along the ceiling. I will climb a ladder to spray him because he will be lurking in the corner where I can’t squish him with a shoe or a hammer. As I spray him, he’ll race toward me, maybe even leap at me, and I’ll scream, lose my balance and fall off the ladder. And my heart will race so fast with fear as the spider moves ever closer that I’ll have a heart attack. Or else I’ll break my hip in the fall and never recover from the surgery.  My kids will have to tell everyone how I fell off a ladder trying to kill a spider and it killed me instead.

But tonight I’m not going to die. This spider is going to die. I aim the can of Raid and try to coat him, because this is my method. Then I raise the shoe over my head and bring it down with a “thwack”. E and I scream again, to drown out any possible crunching noise. He is a crumpled mess now. He’s still huge but also looks much smaller in his crumpled state. I try not to look at the stuff on the bottom of my shoe.

I think maybe I should use a paper towel to pick up his dead body because toilet paper might not provide enough of a barrier. But he is dead after all, so I use the toilet paper. When I pick him up one of his legs falls off and this pisses me off all over again.

I throw his dead body in the toilet. When I pick up the remaining leg, I can feel through the toilet paper that it’s stiff like a pine needle. This big spider was so big you can feel his leg through toilet paper. And now he’s dead.

For the rest of the night the bathroom smells like Raid.


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