Some time in the afternoon, my roommate Geoff awoke from a dead sleep and stumbled into the living room, where I was hopelessly engaged in NHL 2K5.
“Leggs is gone,” he imparted.
“Oh no. Leggy?” I sighed, “No. . .”
A few days prior, Geoff had found a spider taking up residence in the corner of his bedroom. Decorated rather sparsely, the room was the work of a hyper-minimalist architect, and we all felt, upon spying the daddy long-legger while he slept, that the spidery presence livened at least one corner. And it seemed that Geoff had enjoyed the company. He’d even taken to bed an hour earlier, as to not disturb his guest. He was really playing host.
“I’d like to think he’s moved on to a better place,” Geoff said, becoming rather choked up. A sinewy tendril tickled the back of his throat. He swallowed and the sensation died forever. A unsettling reality shook Geoff’s foundation. “Dude,” he uttered, “I think I ate Leggs.”
“Leggy?” I whimpered, then yelled, “Where the f*ck are my wingers?” My attention had drawn back into the hockey game. “Sorry man, I gotta go.”
I considered the statistic that any given sleeping person swallows an average of eight spiders per year. A recent sinus infection had rendered Geoff as one of those disgusting agape-mouthed sleepers. Their slack-jawed gasps have been known to drive roommates to insomnia. I know this because Geoff frequently chided me for keeping him up all night with my snoring. I blamed allergies.
Apparently, Leggy had become possessed by whatever primordial mechanism drives spiders into a sleeping person’s mouth. That one last thrust at Geoff’s throat was Leggs’ realization of his fatal folly.
That evening, I found a tree spider casually sipping water from my bathroom faucet. I watched his right front paw come down and draw water into his mouth or fore pincers or whatever. He seemed a lot less docile than Leggy, and, as I was feeling intolerant toward freeloaders, I decided that he had to go. Despite my better judgment, I gave him a name, Butch, and covered him with a tissue. Offering a reprieve, I unmasked Butch on the outside windowsill and shut the screen. No harm, no foul, I thought
A few days later, I sat on my bed and folded laundry. Butch crawled out from the crevice between mattress and wall and came to rest next me. His beady eyes sparkled with affection—or rage, I couldn't really tell. Either way, I scooped him into a sock and deposited him off the balcony.
Now, I tolerate spiders to the best of my ability; in their presence, I an not paralyzed with fear, nor driven to violence against them. I am happy to say that I have never drowned a spider. I try my best to appreciate their gifts to humanity (what with the insect-eating and all) and live in harmony. Still, upon seeing Butch nestled comfortably in my bed, I factored in my tendency to sleep with ‘bass mouth’ and Geoff’s gruesome spider-eating statistic. I deemed it mutually beneficial for Butch and me to never see each other again. If I had to take his little life, then so be it, as an exception that proves the rule. Something told me I had already reached my spider-eating quota that year.