Our house is on a hill. Off of the kitchen is a second-story deck that hangs on the high side of the house overlooking the neighbors down the hill and our patio and back yard. Our cats hang out on this deck, enjoying the dulcet breezes of summer evenings.
While Angela was in the middle of a sentence tonight, her eye chanced to fall upon a wolf spider of unusually large proportions crawling along the carpet next to the wall, about to enter the kitchen from the living room. Her face contorted and her voice went all gutteral and high.
I saw that her gaze was fixed on a particular spot directly behind me, and the adrenaline began to shoot outward from wherever it comes from into all my limbs. I braced myself for horror unspeakable, maybe the icy hand of Death on my collarbone.
Angela jumped up from her chair, almost by involuntary convulsion, and I turned to see the monstrous arachnid flapping its huge legs as it approached. It was as big as a volkswagen.
“I need a shoe,” I said, looking around frantically, but I was in the cul-de-sac of the kitchen, and we don’t keep any footwear in there. Angela was by the hallway, though, and managed to duck out to fetch a hefty sole. The eight-legged invader came on, threatening to cut me off from Angela’s return route, but she appeared again quickly.
“I brought you two different kinds!” she said, handing over one of her dance shoes and a slipper.
I chose the slipper — more flat surface area, a bit of give for an even slap — crouched low, took aim. You don’t want to muff a shot like this, because these bastards can really haul.
I paused, reflecting on the fact that I was about to terminate a life.
The slipper came down with a sharp, firecracker-like pop. Outside on the deck, our new cat started and fell off the railing. We didn’t see this happen, but no sooner had the slipper slapped the floor and issued its percussive report than we heard a quick and unsuccessful clawing at the corrugated fiberglass deck siding as the cat slid past it and hit the compost bin down below on the patio.
The “orange cat” (as I call him because I don’t like the name he came with which the girls are now using despite the fact that we all agreed to rename him Willoughby) has never been outside the house in the two and a half months we’ve had him. Suddenly he was catapulted into another world. I went down to look for him, and busted him out by the patio furniture. Although the spider did not survive this strange bifurcated event, the cat was fine.
We’ve been breaking out in snorts and chortles all evening over this.
Acknowledgment: The title for this post was Angela’s idea.