Arachnophobia in Australia
Once upon a time Down Undah, I woke up in the middle of the night one eve and got out of the bed my partner and I shared. I had to pee, you see.
I rubbed the sleep from my eyes and headed toward the bathroom. Without my contacts, I can barely see as it is and there was only a nightlight in the loo to light my way.
A Trevi Fountain of urine burst out of me and I groggily put my hand out to balance myself against the stone wall of the loo. My eyes finally adjusted to the blue night-light just as I had finished emptying my bladder, and that sense of relief that you feel only after doing so came over me.
I grabbed a sheet or two of T.P. off the roll and dabbed at my Macklemore to make sure he was nice and dry before shoving him back into my britches. Yawning, I flushed the toilet with one hand and scratched my ass with the other. I opened the bathroom door and my eyes again took about thirty seconds to adjust to the darkness. Walking back towards our sleeping quarters, the light of the bathroom night-light cast funny shadows on the wall.
I opened the door to the bedroom and began to walk in when something moved out of the corner of my eye. I paused, too tired and sleepwalk-ishy to be immediately startled, assuming it was shadowing. My eyes went from my hand on the door knob to looking straight forward. There was definitely something moving out of the corner of my eye…I turned to face the door frame and came face to face with my absolute fucking nightmare:
Six inches from my mug was a seven-inch Huntsman SPIDER clinging to the door way!
“AHHHHHH! FUUUUUUCK!!!” I screamed and flung my back against the door frame and away from the hideously enormous arachnid.
“OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD!” I yelled, scrambling as fast as I could to get into the bedroom. Lights came flying on, the dog began barking hysterically, and I was having a fucking panic attack!
“What is it? What happened?” Troy and his dad asked me repeatedly and shook me by the shoulders for the answer.
“There was a BIG FUCKING TARANTULA!!! on the door frame!!!”
I could tell from the eye rolls I received upon announcing what had “attacked me” that Ronnie, the Jack Russell terrier, would be the only other one in the house taking my incident seriously. She began sniffing around trying to locate the perpetrator as the other humans in the house seemed to brush off the occurrence.
Troy’s father took one look at me, then a look at Troy, and under his breath I could hear him say:
“Well fuck me. Fuckin’ Yanks scared of their own fuckin’ shadow!”
He subsequently left Troy and I alone in our bedroom and stormed off into his own. He slammed the door behind him as I kept scouring the floor like it was going to turn into lava or somehow evolve into an insect-covered set like in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
That never happened. Troy just looked at me with a toothy grin and said, “Babe, it was just a Huntsman. Just a normal house spider.”
“Just a Huntsman? Troy it was the size of my face!”
“Well they don’t bite,” he said. “And they’re heaps more scared of you than you are of them.”
“Yes but what if he jumped on me? He could have bit my face. And now it’s loose out there,” I pleaded. Troy began to giggle.
A door outside of our bedroom opened, then I could hear the screen door to the outside open and close quickly. Shortly after, I heard the sound of a lighter being lit. Troy’s dad was obviously out having a ciggie.
“Babe, it’s not funny. You know I hate spiders. I’ll never be able to sleep knowing that thing’s in the house.” I said loudly.
Apparently I was vocal enough for his father to have heard me because Troy’s dad giggled out loud. This made Troy have an outburst of laughter, himself. What at first sounded like his father silently weeping erupted into full-blown hysterical laughter. Troy also started laughing out loud. His father came in from outside, wiping the tears from his eyes: he was crying laughing so hard.
His father stopped in the doorway to our bedroom as both he and Troy continued sharing some secret hilarious joke that I was apparently completely oblivious to.
“Why are you laughing? It’s not funny!” I said, beginning to grin because of how silly I had acted, and was thinking my wussiness must be the punchline of their joke. His dad just looked at me and smiled. Like a school boy first revealing his science project to the world, Troy’s pops gleefully said:
“Your spider friend you saw? We get those bastards all the the time! Probably a Huntsman in the house a day, even!”
I gasped. Not only am I scared to death of spiders, but I had just moved to Australia. And that night, the evening of my first arachnid attack, was only my third night…
more by KOELEN ANDREWS
photograph by Piotr Lohunko
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