In which the black, black widow is sitting in the middle of the web

In a neat confirmation of maybe not my exact deepest fear, but something down there in the well of horrors alongside it, yesterday's spider killing seems to have brought down the wrath of the spider kingdom upon me. I will soon illustrate that, once again, I am vastly overstating the case, but my very-religious upbringing left me with a sense of being surrounded at all times by the just-barely-contained Vengeance of God.

I got to the place I'm house-sitting late yesterday afternoon, and upon letting the dog out, noticed a messy web in a bare corner behind the garage. A closer look revealed a glossy black spider, big as a marble, with wicked tapering legs, poised in the web. I had never seen a black widow before yesterday morning, and the one I did see was relatively small, the body only the size of a pearl-headed pin. So just the pearl head, then. The pin doesn't really enter into the equation. Anyway, even without prior black-widow-viewing experience, it had been clear to me what variety of spider I was looking at, and I felt confident that I never needed to see another again. Apparently, the Universe felt that I should have a true black widow experience, and sent a giant one to clarify the image in my mind. Thank you, Universe! Got the picture!

I have never seen such a wicked-looking creature, and I work in municipal government. This spider was clearly, although through no fault of her own, evil. And although it is just her nature, I felt no great responsibility to leave her unharmed. My main concern is that the dog will run across her and be bitten. Or that she'll turn up in my bed at night and walk on my eyelids. Or my mouth! She could walk in my mouth! I just had to spit, to make sure she was not in there. At any rate, as soon as she saw me head toward her, she drew herself back into a chink in the concrete, and I did not feel compelled to follow.

Stupid intelligent spider.

Anyway, I started to worry, walking up the hill in the gathering dusk that I imagined to be filled with spiders hovering just beyond the gloom, that these things come in threes, like celebrity deaths. Also, I hadn't technically seen the underside of either spider, so I did not witness the red hourglass that confirms a black widow sighting.

Shortly thereafter, I turned on the porch light and there, suspended on a web hanging from a drainpipe, was a little spider. She was upside-down in the web, so when I went to investigate, I could see the red marking on her abdomen. I thanked her for the confirmation as I went to get the broom, but of course, she had disappeared up the drainpipe when I returned. Bitch.

So, having seen three black widows in one day, after a lifetime of encountering zero, makes me think that either I have fulfilled my black widow requirement, or that I have broken the seal on the bottle, and am destined for a life of spider visitation. Over the last several years, I've worked to quell my arachnophobia, but I think black widows still get a pass, as any poisonous creature will.

Is there some kind of anti-spider spray I can get, without calling an exterminator? Or a spell? I'm fine with a spell, maybe a prayer to the Spider Queen, or whatever. I don't care if they're out there, I just don't want them to walk on and/or bite and/or poison me. Is that so much to ask, little eight-legged creature?

Anyway, I realize now, after a little internet research that severely tested my skeeve reflexes, that the pale object hanging in the web was an egg sac. Sorry, Charlotte--I'm coming for your babies.

Star of the day. . .Thor
posted @ 11:32 p.m. on October 02, 2008 before | after


She lay awake all night,