We’re in the Southwest a lot this time of year avoiding the snow and general yuckiness of the weather North of I-40. It’s nice being in the warm sunshine when everyone else is freezing their ears off, but when a place has warm sunshine all the time, bugs never die. Consequently, you get giant Mongolian cattle-size spiders because the weather never kills them and they just grow and grow. A 25-year-old wolf spider has an approximate leg span of 40 feet and body weight of 75 pounds. The spiders in South Texas are so big they strap saddles to them and put them in rodeos. Small children who make a scene by screaming for Starbucks in the food court are fed to them.
OK, so maybe not quite that big, but there are some formidable spiders in South Texas.
We spent the night in the desert, and since George won’t let me wear my cowboy boots in the bunk, my toes were an open buffet for any wanton blood-sucking creature that may have happened to lurk into the truck any of the 97 times we opened one of the doors that day.
The baby toe on my right foot was swollen and ouchie the next morning.
“Look at my toe! It’s all puffy and red.”
“It’s probably from wearing cowboy boots all the time. I can’t look at your toe, I’m driving.”
“My cowboy boots fit perfectly, it’s a– OH MY GOD THERE ARE FANG MARKS!”
“Are you sure? You probably just got a little mosquito bite. I don’t think there are fang marks. Calm down.”
“I’m a nurse, thankyouverymuch. I think I can recognize a spider bite when I see one, this is definitely a spider bite and OH MY GOD IT’S STILL IN THE BUNK!!!”
“There’s a rest area in two miles. Just calm down and stay up here. It’s not going to move unless you threaten it.”
“There is a spider, full of my toe blood, lurking on the bunk. I think I’m going to scream. A lot.”
“Do. Not. Scream. We’re almost to the rest area.”
“There’s a spiiiiider, yeah, yeah, spiiider, it wants to eat my faaaaace off, la la la…”
“Why are you singing a creepy spider song?”
“Do you want me to scream?”
“Then shut up and let me sing my creepy spider song. And I hope you know the second you get this truck parked, I’m going to burst forth from it like there was a nuclear reactor meltdown inside of it.”
“Go ahead, I’m parked. Get me a cup or something.”
“A cup? For what?”
“So I can trap it and get it out of the truck!”
“ARE YOU KIDDING ME? KILL IT!! Kill it’s whole family!! Kill it hard! It ate my toe flesh!”
I don’t know what else he said, because I was busy bursting forth from the truck like a nuclear reactor had melted down in it. Apparently, George — friend to the animals and wife-eating spiders — trapped the beast in a coffee cup and turned it loose to violently attack the next innocent toe it ran across.
“You’re going to feel bad when that thing kills a baby.”
“It was just a little black spider. It’s not going to kill a baby.”
“It’s going to write you a letter from prison one day.”
“Spiders can’t write.”
“Oh but I beg to differ. Haven’t you ever read Charlotte’s Web?”
“Yeah, she was a nice spider, right?”
“Well, I’m sure that was highly exaggerated, but she could write, so there.”
“OK, so I’m a horrible person for not killing the spider.”
“Yes you are. And when my toe turns black and falls off, you have to say that to me over and over again.”
“And my toe hurts.”
“You should be. I’m not a spider smorgasbord.”