Tuesday was a perfect Summer night. I'd finished my latest Photo Blog Wednesday and set it to automatically post after midnight, freeing me to relax and enjoy a movie. As I lay in bed, something made me look up at the ceiling. Perhaps the evening's film choice was failing to hold my attention. In any case, I noticed some specks on my ceiling. Dust? Cobwebs? Thanks to the single light bulb in the center, I could see by their shadows that these nearly invisible specks were moving. Uh-oh.

Once before, a horde of newly hatched baby spiders huddled around that light bulb for warmth. I have no idea if the mother spawned them in some dark, dusty corner of my cluttered room, or if they were born outside and crawled in through the open screen window behind my bed. All I know is hundreds of spiders on my ceiling freaked me out, despite their diminutive size and near invisible hues. I think the fact that I could only see them by their shadows made it worse.

As with the incident a few years ago, I grabbed a napkin, stood on my bed, and began squishing one by one, trying not to think of them as babies but as the larger, potentially venomous predators they would become if left alone. Things were going well until a few noticed their brethren being snuffed out. Five or six decided to drop. Specks or no specks, spiders on the offensive made me shriek, especially since I couldn't see them after they'd descended past a certain point. I found myself slapping my arms and shoulders indiscriminately, targeting phantom itches.

This happened a few more times, but soon I'd eliminated the bulk of them. As I moved along the ceiling away from the light, I noticed larger numbers at the top of the wall, skittering out from a massive spider at the center. I'd found the brood queen. I thought of a recent nightmarish encounter my favorite Questionable Content character had with insects, and braced myself. I realized I was going to need a bigger napkin.

Step by step, inch by inch, I made my way to the head of my bed. It was a foul looking thing, and I made my attack quick, perhaps too quick. When tons of little spiders scurried out from under the napkin I recoiled. The mother, still in the corner, plummeted, falling between my curtain and the screen window. “Was that the cat?” asked my mom, who came running when she heard the noise I'd made. I explained the problem, and she shook her head and returned to the living room. Crouching now, and moving my pillow aside, I lifted the edge of the curtain. There on the inner window sill lay the mother's corpse. But was it twitching? I brought the napkin down again for good measure, squeezing my thumb and forefinger to encapsulate it. I lifted the napkin, and she was still on the sill. She darted to the left and was gone, as of Wednesday evening still never to be seen.

Shaken, and a bit itchy, I needed to get out of my room for a bit. I noticed Will Smith was on The Tonight Show to promote Hancock, so I decided to sit. “He got old,” commented my mom as the 39-year-old actor walked out on stage and took a seat. Then she noticed something else.

“He's got an earring in his right ear! Does that mean he's queer?”

“What? No, no he's married to Jada Pinkett.” Being married isn't much of a defense for someone like say Tom Cruise, but this was Will Smith. I doubted he played for that team(not that there's anything wrong with that).

“Oh,” she said, as he turned and she saw his other ear. “He has two earrings. That means he's AC/DC.”

“Um...yeah, I don't think the earring thing means anything anymore; it's just a style. You know, like pirates.”

Will went on to share anecdotes about playing golf with his wife, and his daughter calling to ask his permission to buy a “frog” only to come home with a baby boa constrictor. Once I saw the clip for the movie, I decided to brave my room once more. After eliminating more tiny ones, I grabbed a flash light and checked between my bed and the outside wall for the mother. She had to be wounded after two hits, and my mom kept making jokes that she was hiding and waiting for revenge. I found a different species of spider diligently wrapping up another spider that had died in the middle of a web, but not the source of the invasion.

As I lay in bed, I considered that they were drawn inside to the light for warmth, and with the light out they'd leave. Then I thought about the only other source of heat in the room without that light, and imagined the survivors descending on the 185 pound buffet snoring below. I awoke without any noticeable bites, and as of yet I don't think I have any spider powers, although I did run for an hour on the treadmill after work. When I got home Wednesday night, I found maybe 4 or 5 more on the ceiling, but hopefully I got most of them by now. I guess the moral of the story is to keep the window closed, though lack of an air conditioner makes that an undesirable solution in the Summer. I suppose I could dust every once in a while, but that's just crazy talk.

Wait, I think a shadow just moved. I'll be right b


Blogger b13 said...

I've had those clumps of babies on the outside of my house... BUT INSIDE??? Time for a major clean up MCF.

7/03/2008 12:47 AM  
Blogger MCF said...

I suspect the initial "clump" was probably on the outside wall somewhere but once they hatched, momma and babies made their way in my open window and up to the warmth of the light fixture. There seemed to be a bigger crowd on the window side, and fewer toward the inside of the house, though overall they were gathered in a circle around it. I got most of them, and I'll have to keep squishing and dusting until I don't find them anymore. Tuesday, close to 100; Wednesday, less than 10. Still itchy. :/

7/03/2008 1:21 AM  
Blogger Darrell said...

All I know is hundreds of spiders on my ceiling freaked me out,

Thank you, sir, for an image that will haunt me, lo, the rest of my days.

7/03/2008 6:02 PM  

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