The list goes forever on. And while I may not be a fictional character, I have a truly real enemy: spiders.
These eight-legged arachnids stir fear in the harbors of my heart. No other insect, beast, or otherwise causes me to retreat into the trenches and unload bottles of bug spray within my immediate vicinity.
Perhaps it is their ghastly appearance – bundles of eyes and spindly legs – or their ability to stick to ceilings or perch upon cobwebs like a murderer in an alleyway, awaiting the perfect moment to strike. Whatever it may be, I am reduced to rubble in their presence.
It is a mental war that has been raging for 27 years, and came to a head during the past few days.
The house where I grew up has never been a mecca for spiders or insects – a handful here or there (not counting the Ant War of 1995), but altogether a relatively target-poor environment. Yet this summer there has been an abundance of spiders in the backyard, their webs spanning cables, wires, and the stairs leading to the backdoor.
Blame global warming, blame George Bush, blame Charlie Sheen. Whatever the reason, my mortal enemy has trumpeted for reinforcements and they have answered in kind.
A particular pair of spiders took sovereignty over the spotlights that glare upon the driveway with their dirty yellow light. These were no neophytes, nor were they masters, but twin adepts whose size was considerable enough to warrant my eyes pouring out of their sockets in distress.
I bypassed their webs and watched from the kitchen window as they mocked me with derisive silence. I possessed no weapon to combat them, no means of victory were to be employed that night. No, I was forced to wait. Victory would not be quick. Not this time.
The next morning, I discovered one of the spiders meddling about inside its web. And, like a vampire caught in the sunlight, its death was brought upon by a heavy hand of bug spray and a heavier boot. The second spider was nowhere to be found, most likely watching the death of its partner from afar, planning its own revenge. That evening, I spied the spider inside the web of its fallen brethren, lamenting its death.
The following day and a trip to Home Depot later, I returned with a gallon of Liquid Doom. Dressed like John Goodman in Arachnophobia and wildly smiling like Lindsay Lohan in the cocaine fields of Colombia, I rained down death upon the habitat of my enemy. Not an inch was spared as none could be, and those unlucky few who were napalmed like an innocent Vietnam village will be remembered for their sacrifice.
There has been no sign of the second spider, but I have shifted my pieces across the board, set the traps and called my opponent’s bluff. Now I wait like Dutch in Predator, watching the darkness, calling out to it, “Ca’mon! Kill me! I’m right here!”
Because there’s something out there waiting for me, and it ain’t no man.