Episode Five – A Freckled Booty Spider
“I LOVE Ireland. Moving here was one of my better ideas. And I didn’t know it when I moved here, but bonus bonanza, there aren’t any snakes on the island. Zero snakes. That is so unbelievable and wonderful.
“I haven’t really encountered many bugs either, a gnat here and there, a horde of fruit flies when I let my bananas get too ripe, and a random spider prancing across the shower door, which I saw when I drank too much and got up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. I pretended I didn’t see it and went back to bed. It wasn’t there the next day and it never came back.
“I wish spiders in the States were as well behaved but they’re not. They are purposely sent to torment me, like when you asked me to take Rachel and her friend to the lacrosse tournament in Virginia because you had a work conference in New York the same weekend. I feel more like her second mom than her aunt, so I was happy to do it.
“Barely 20 minutes into the return trip, Rachel had already found her theta waves, deep asleep in the passenger seat, and her friend was in the back seat with her head cocked to the side and eyes tightly closed.
“I had my music playing and was coasting along the highway at a nice clip. Then, like the close up of the monster in a horror movie, I see a spider waltzing across my dash. Right in front of me. RIGHT in front of me. I started screaming, of course, but no one was moving or reacting too fast.
“Rachel started stretching with no cares in the world, until I accidentally yelled out, ‘We’re all going to die!’ Nothing changes a person’s sense of urgency quite like the spectre of impending death.
She was trying to figure out what the problem was and I couldn’t point since I had a death grip on the steering wheel and I was trying really hard not to completely lose it and crash and kill us for real, so I just said, ‘Spider. Spider. Spider. Spider. Spider. Spider. Spider. Spider.’
“Rachel couldn’t seem to locate it and kept asking, ‘Where is it?’
“‘It’s right where it is. Can’t you see it?’
“She eventually spotted it and attacked it with what? Her pillow. She hit at it several times until I finally had to ask, ‘Are you trying to kill it or have sleepover fun with it?’
“She replied, ‘I got it, auntie. You can calm down now.’
“Calm down? Did she suggest that I should calm down? This same spider had tormented me ten days earlier when I was pulling into the Kroger parking lot. It was waltzing across my windshield on the inside glass. Yipes!
“I’ll confess that I did have a brief moment of panic but then I mobilized myself and fought back, grabbing a pen from my cup holder, and trying to poke it in the eye. It was fast and escaped to the far corner, taking refuge in the trim. I stayed in the store a really long time and hypnotized myself into believing that there had been no spider.
“But then, driving back from Virginia, there it was again. I know it was the same spider because I saw that same freckle on the left butt cheek.
“And what had it been doing for ten whole days? Best not to think about that since the answer might be making baby spiders. It didn’t matter though because it was dead, thank the heavens... except not even an hour later I’m singing Hallelujah! because I’m so happy the freckled booty spider is dead, and then I see the freckled booty spider marching across my dash again.
“This time, Rachel popped up at the first scream (yes, she had gone back to sleep), shoe in hand and started wailing on my dashboard.
‘Oh my God! It’s alive,’ I cried out.
‘No auntie, it’s dead now.’
‘That’s what you said last time.’
“Rachel sighed and said, ‘I knew it wasn’t dead last time, but I didn’t want you to freak so I told you it was dead but I put my shoe here next to me so I could kill it when I saw it again.’
‘But you went to sleep! How were you going to see it with your eyes closed?’
‘Well, that’s okay because you saw it, and I got it. I’m pretty sure I got it.’
‘Like you got it last time? Except you didn’t get it last time and that’s why it came back again and now you’re trying to tell me you got it this time, but I don’t believe you.’
“We came up the next exit and I hopped out of the car. Rachel picked up her shoe. No spider on the bottom of her shoe. She looked around on my side of the car. No spider guts anywhere. No spider leg anywhere. No spider.”
TOMORROW: “I’m used to the rain in Cork going on forever, but these ringing bells are starting to make me think I hit my head on something.”