There are two things you need to know. First, I built a pirate ship in the backyard. The why is not important. Consider it a promise kept.
The second: I am deathly afraid of spiders. As in, screaming like Bruce Campbell in the windmill in Army of Darkness level phobia.
The sky is clear and it’s a breezy eighty degrees, so tonight seemed like a good night to sit out on the old pirate ship, drink cheap rum, and look at the stars. I started on the rum ahead of time and headed out to the ship when it was nice and dark.
The stars were nice and bright. Crickets chirped. A bat buzzed by overhead, which was pretty cool.
I strolled up the gangplank of the ship and paused. Something wasn’t right. Flicking on the flashlight, I saw the first one and my blood ran cold.
A little gray bastard lounged in a beautiful spiral web of death, right across the entrance to the ship. I tried to swipe away the edge of the web so it would blow away, but he had secured it well and it didn’t budge.
The tiny beast smelled my fear and laughed at me.
“Fine,” I said, moving around to the other side of the ship. “I’ll hop up over here and head up to the poop deck.”
“Heh, heh. Poop deck,” the spider said.
“It’s the second level where the steering wheel is you jerk,” I said.
He kept laughing and pointed to the spot where I was about to climb up on the ship.
I shined the light up to see the spider’s partner six inches from my face in an even bigger web.
“Bastards,” I cried, stepping back.
The spiders nodded knowingly at each other and began ignoring me.
My hand found the hardened wooden fighting escrima I’d tucked into my belt. Not sure why I brought it. I took lessons in stick fighting years ago and it just seems right to carry a weapon when you enter a pirate ship. The rum may have played a role.
No. That’s not it. Somehow I knew the spiders would be waiting.
Two swings of the stick is all it would take. Then I could enjoy my cheap rum and cranberry concoction in peace.
I shined the light to aim my strike. That’s when I saw them: A menagerie of mosquitoes and gnats trapped in the web and waiting to be devoured.
Something else occurred to me. I had not been bitten by a mosquito during my rum-laden spider confrontation. Not once. The little monsters were actually doing something productive.
I shined the light back to spider #2. He covered his eight condescending eyes and gave me the finger. The effort this required was not lost on me as spiders do not actually have fingers.
“Fine,” I said, then downed my drink. I stood outside the ship in the sea of green and watched the stars for a while.
I raised my empty glass to the spiders. “Tonight I let you live, but tomorrow you die.”
The spider spit a fly leg at me. “You’re lucky you’re too big to digest.”
“Your mother was a hamster,” spider #1 said.
“Don’t you quote Monty Python at me,” I replied.
They were still reciting the French castle scene from Holy Grail as I made it into the house.
I sat down on the couch and switched from cheap rum to expensive Scotch.
Spiders aren’t jerks. They are assholes. But, sometimes they serve a purpose.