I wake up like a gong, hands firmly attached to my sheets – probably drowning. My eyes are flashlights in the dark of the bedroom, centering toute de suite on a large black spider, mid-leap between the window sill and my duvet. It lands with a soft thud somewhere near me left knee – chef’s kiss!
The only amygdala in the room wisely opts for a violent defensive spasm.
Thusly enabled, I ward off the imminent injection of spider venom via dark oozing fang into my naked flesh and extricate my unarmored body from the death trap I woke up in – all before… all before my lungs conclude the first panicked involuntary inhale after waking up. Isn’t that amazing?
It is, right?
The brain can do amazing things…
That is my second thought; a close second to how bad for you large black spiders generally are in Australia. On my feet, I duck and weave, cut-step-one-two, Roy-Jones-Junioring my way to the door. I’m so scared of the spiders here, I expected it to “throw hands”.
Out. Out. Out. You can’t win against a black spider.
Quick. Quick. Quick.
I’m in the hallway now and quite awake. Careful not to overextend my arm, I flick the light switch in the bedroom.
Naked, but safe.
Nice, nice, nice…
However, I will say this; all my clothes are in the bedroom wardrobe.
And… the large spider… well, it’s in there.
It will be hard to find now…
I can sleep on the couch. Easy.
Oh, no, no, no! The spider could escape unseen into the hallway and then nowhere would be safe!
I should stay here.
I must hold the door.
I can wait.
Maybe the spider will show itself… and with a level playing field… we can do the dance.
The dance of death.
I need to get the spray!
NO! I need to hold the door or it will escape!
It has to come out at some point, right?
Right? Or not? I mean, it’s not like the spider is thinking about what to do about me… or is it?!
The bedroom is dimly lit; the single 60W bulb on the ceiling casting ink-like shadows all over the room that I swear were not there before. It’s muggy. A fog-like glow from the street lights and the neighbours’ house is coming through the open windows.
Is that a house party across the street? That’s where the music is coming from?!
The place his packed.
Are these people looking at me?!
I can’t put clothes on! They’re all inside!
You motherfuckers don’t understand!
Ah, fuck you.
Where are you, little bitch?
A strategic pickle. The neighbours have gathered along the windows, drinks in hand. Surely, the naked guy in the other apartment is up to something.
And I am! I’m just not sure what exactly I’m up to yet. I wished I was. I wished, I…
My lungs, two intricately tied balloon animals at this stage, empty in a sigh of relief. Fixated on the hot zone battleground between bedroom and hallway, a sweaty glance around the perimeter reveals an opportunity to move this stand-off along. It’s just my luck that the built-in wardrobe, stuffed with eclectic sneakers and a selection of hand-made Italian leather shoes, is within literal arms reach, imparting me ballistic first strike capability over my six-legged adversary in hiding.
The plan. Push the enemy from the south to abandon cover with a flanking shot of some variation of Converse’s All Star. Forced into the open field, I then cut it down with a hard-hitting volley of Umbrian pine heels – lovingly put together by Elia Maurizi. The left shoe to maim and immobilise; the right, mercy.
As I’m counting down to the audacious manoeuvre I’m about to execute on the invading species in my bedroom, I realise more people have joined the viewing party next door.
Hold on to your Cab Sav, folks. No more refills, unless you want to miss strategic genius play out in a real world encounter of long-range dominance.
The first CX high-top bounces off the bed head with a violent thud. Having used a little too much force, I fire the other shoe more accurately at the space under the bedside table – the hiding spot I would have chosen.
Still holding on to the nuclear option from Italy, I find a striped John Varvatos chuck, which I really don’t like anymore – Bam! Right under the bed! A devastating power shot. That surely must get its attention.
Fuck it, Italian leather it is!
Over the bed, against the curtains.
Where are you?!
Maurizi again! And this time, I’m just angry. I was going for another long shot under the far side of the bed but instead, I hit the window.
The more tuned in spectators across the street have ducked for cover.
The window is ok.
Oh, god. Thank you.
This is a nightmare.
About a dozen more shots are being fired into vital corners of the room before I finally hear what must have been the second, more intent, knock on the door.
Oh shit. The police!!!
The apartment door at the end of the hallway has two glass panels. I can clearly make out the outline of a dog from the light in the stairwell.
‘Yeah, hello… what’s up?’ I yell from my post down the hallway.
‘The police is up. Could you open the door?’
That dog is trouble.
‘I can’t, I’m sorry.’
‘Well, I’m Constable Grabowski and we received a complaint.’
I know that guy! He once sniffed through all my shit at some fancy bar because the cops thought I was the one selling cocaine. I had no idea police dogs are also taking fucking house calls!? What is it with this guy!? Does he have a hard-on for me?!
‘Constable… Grabowski, right?’
‘Yes,’ he says from behind the door.
‘Constable, I can’t really open the door or get to my clothes because… well, I’m trying to control a large black spider that came into my bedroom earlier today.’
What am I saying?!?
“Came in earlier today?!” I make it sound like the spider and I are friends!!!
‘A spider. I see,’ says the police. ‘If you open the door, I can probably find it and get rid of it for you. I’ve completed special training in QLD to detect spiders, among other things.’
Sure thing! Just like he thought I was hiding drugs in my sneakers, so he can go to work on them outside the Bondi Beach Public Bar! This fucking guy…
‘I don’t think that’s a good idea. If I move from my spot here, the spider could escape into the living room and it will be hard to find in there, even for a trained constable like yourself. Believe me.’
’I believe, I would find it. But ok. Look, I just need you to keep the noise down and maybe put on some clothes if you have to have all the lights on.’
I need the lights to find my enemy, you mutt!
‘Sure. Will do. Thank you, Constable Grabowski,’ is what I say instead.
‘Alright then, I’ll leave you to it,’ the dog says. ‘But, just in case, what did the spider look like? Are you sure it’s even dangerous?’
‘Yeah, well. It was pretty damn big. Black. It jumped from my window sill down to my bed with… some sort of spin-kicking motion… and it was wearing a red bandana.’
Sure that qualifies as “dangerous”, buddy!
A red bandana?
I was still asleep.
The police dog with the shoe fetish now likewise feels like he’s onto something. Something else though. Maybe drugs.
‘Did you say, the spider that attacked you was wearing a bandana?’ asks Constable Grabowski from outside my door.
‘Constable, is it ok to just cancel this whole complaint thing if I’m going back to bed right now?… Ok?’
‘Have a good night. And… remember to keep the noise down.’