There are some creatures that God put on this earth and I’ve no feckin’ clue what he/she/it was thinking.
Wasps for instance… They’re about as useful as my old HR department, and they have the same philosophy – “let’s go annoy people”.
I really don’t like spiders. I appreciate that they are good at catching flies, but this is the 21st century – when I need to dispatch flying critters, I just use my arsenal of toxic chemicals from under the kitchen sink. I sure as hell don’t ask a hairy squatter to do it for me.
I also don’t like the creepy little sods deploying their sticky webs everywhere. The only time ‘web’ and ‘sticky’ is appropriate is when I’m Googling pictures of Kylie.
Spiders generally just make the place look untidy – but that’s my field of expertise, and Angela says I don’t need any help….
Back in the nineties I was single and living in an old house. I had a simple spider rule – if I don’t see them, they won’t turn into a kit…
This worked brilliantly for a while, but then they multiplied, got braver, and started breaking the rules by making unwarranted appearances.
Night after night, I was ambushed by the little sods. I swear they would take it in turns just to see how loud they could make me scream.
New guests to my house often asked why I had ‘kobeeR’ stamped on the walls in red ink. I had to explain that its the brand name from the sole of my trainers spelt backwards in squished spider blood.
I even conscripted my cat into the fight, rewarding him with a treat for every spider he caught. The plan spectacularly backfired when he began bringing live ones from around the neighbourhood and dropping them at my feet.
If you think training a cat is hard – you need to try un-training one!
the dating game
This created a problem. As a single bloke, I used to enjoy the company of ladies. But they weren’t always impressed when I screamed and leapt onto the sofa every time a spider ran by. Even worse, THEY might be scared and expect me to man-up and sort the problem. Sorry ladies – that’s just not going to happen.
The hairy critters had a big advantage too – anti-gravity boots… They used to abseil from the ceiling, then hang around in their little black ninja outfits waiting for me to return home with whichever lady I was with.
Its a well known fact that my girlfriend selection criteria at this time was a little loose; in fact as long as they were blond, female, and had a recent pulse, they qualified.
On returning home one night, I opened the door with a brand new prospective girlfriend, and she screamed – she had come face-to-face with a pair of dangling hairy fuzz-balls, and they weren’t mine.
Needless to say, she wasn’t impressed, and I ended up sleeping alone that night – assuming that you don’t count the gang of hairy thugs giggling under the bed.
I’d dodged two bullets that night: an arachnid ambush, and my latest friend was disqualified as long-term girlfriend material as she clearly didn’t have ‘the right stuff’.
I also updated my dating filter to include the spider challenge…
This was war… and then they brought reinforcements…
They were joined by a few REALLY evil buggers that were as big as Orcs. I code-named these the SAS… Scary Ass Spiders…
They had ‘Who Dares Spins‘ tattoos, and were so big I swear I could hear them marching.
This bunch were braver than the others, often appearing during daytime and taunting me with their ‘now-you-see-me-now-you-dont’ psychological warfare.
They also had a Reebok immunity – even after a full on whack, they tended to fall to floor and just disappear like a Hitchcock murder suspect.
One day, I spotted one in the footwell of my car. I took my trainer off and whacked it, but it just giggled and ran off… I sold the car the next day.
There was another bunch that I had to watch out for… These were big, stupid and used to get stuck in the bath – they were known as the SBS or Scary Bath Spiders.
I tried drowning them, but the little buggers just did freestyle lengths.
Eventually I realised if filled the bath I could sneak up, then drip some 3-in-1 oil in. That would break the water’s surface tension leaving them royally screwed… MWAHAHAHA! Science in action…
But even when dead, they were still too feckin big to go down the plug hole. I had to poke them down the drain with a my ex’s toothbrush before I could get a shower. There was also a risk of fracturing something by slipping in the freshly oiled bath – try explaining that to the paramedics:
Paramedic: [Laughing] Tell me again… You were killing spiders… with 3-in-1… you slipped in the bath… and… got your ex’s toothbrush stuck up your arse… AHAHAHAHA
Me: Shut the f**k up and pull
Clearly, waiting for them to fall in the bath or hopping around the house wearing just one shoe wasn’t a viable long-term plan; I needed to be more imaginative – and invest in some proper weaponry.
These were the days before the Internet, and the only firearm information I had available was a catalogue from Duncan’s Gun shop.
I had browsed their brochure many times, drooling over pictures of their shiny pointy stuff and that things that went bang.
So I went shopping for a close support air pistol.
When I got to the gun shop, I was in my element, right up the the point when the owner asked me what I was going to use the gun for… I panicked – I couldn’t tell him the truth or he would have called Mental Health Services:
Owner: How can we help you today sir?
Me: I’m looking for an anti-spider weapon
Owner: Okaaayyy… [CLICK-CLICK-CLICKING the silent alarm button]
Instead, I muttered something about using it for target practice.
He quickly sussed that I shouldn’t be trusted with anything dangerous, and sold me the .177 GAT. This was my first ‘piece’, (street slang dude) and it was cheap…
There was a reason it was cheap – it was shite… When you fired it, the noise and recoil felt like you were using something that would make Dirty Harry smile, but it was so inaccurate I couldn’t have hit Shamu with that f***ing thing never mind a spider.
In fact the only safe thing in the house were the spiders.
Nevertheless, it was a weapon and I was tooled up!
When I return home drunk – I eat… this helps reduce the room’s angular velocity, and if that fails, it gives me something more solid to throw up.
Many years ago, I made the mistake of putting the chip pan on after a drinking session. The resulting conflagration taught me that the only thing I hated more than spiders is having to repaint a kitchen.
So instead of chips, I now make toast – the process is a magnitude safer, especially when I learned to wait until after the bread is out of the toaster before buttering it… I call it my ‘post beer update’, and it’s as close to cooking as I’ve ever achieved.
One night after a few drinks, I needed to feed. As I picked up the bread loaf, I was ambushed by a large hairy critter the size of a small bear; it slowly crested the horizon on the far side of the Hovis, and then with a turn of speed Usain Bolt would have proud of – went for my throat.
The loaf went airborne, and I reached for my pistol…
Unfortunately, I hadn’t done a Health and Safety assessment, and on this particular drink fuelled night I had decided to carry the gun gangster style in my waistband… In hindsight, that’s not the best move I’ve ever made…
Even sober, my hand-eye coordination isn’t brilliant, but making bread based life and death decisions whilst drunk and busting for a lager fuelled piss isn’t a great combination – I panicked, grabbed my gun, and hastily fired.
There was a bang, then a short delay while my central nervous system worked out the extent of the problem, followed by a sort of muffled gurgling noise as my legs abandoned ship, and I collapsed Twin Tower style in a heap on the floor.
It felt like an elephant had snuck up from behind and kicked me in the balls.
The pellet had exited the scene of the accident via the front of my jeans, whilst the barrel of the gun shot forwards catching ‘the lads’ full on.
As I laid there whimpering, my hands clutched my groin and conducted a stock-take of the family jewels.
My legs and groin were wet and sticky. OH MY GOD – I’M LEAKING…
Only I wasn’t…
After it had left my jeans, the pellet had continued its journey and hit a four-pack of Stella on the floor, and the liquid ‘wife beater’ was leaking all over me…
I’m not sure how long I laid groaning in the foetal position, but it was long enough to complete the overdue Health and Safety assessment. The nights plan had been figuratively, and almost literally been “half cocked”.
I was also disappointed to discover that Stella Artois does NOT work as an anaesthetic when its only on the outside of your body.
The pistol clearly wasn’t up to the job; I had to get so close to my target, there was more chance I would be the victim of a ricochet or flying spider parts.
I was also scared of the wounded ones, they had an uncanny ability to scuttle off even after I’d updated their limb configuration. They needed to be eliminated before they reassembled themselves – Terminator style.
I needed something more substantial than a pair of Marigolds and a Dust Buster to finish them off.
I returned to the gun shop, but this time with a bigger budget.
The owner’s eyes lit up when he saw me. He knew I’d be back for something that did more than just make a lot of noise.
When he asked me how I had got on with the GAT, I thought I’d better not tell him that its most successful mission to date was taking out my bollocks. In hindsight, if I’d known he was only going to sell me something noisy that shakes, I would have employed my gran.
This time he showed me a rifle and assured me it was accurate up to a 100 feet. I didn’t have the heart to tell him the length of my sofa was probably enough.
So I upgraded… This time the little sods would suffer a really severe case of lead poisoning…
The arms race had begun, and I now owned a serious artillery piece. I could bring death and destruction to anything in a 10 foot radius.
The rifle was powerful enough to take out half a brick, which is the spider equivalent of an atomic bomb. When fired, spiders were magically replaced by mushroom clouds of orange brick dust and anaglypta paper.
The telescopic sights were an issue though. Spiders don’t need 20X magnification to look scary.
With the scope zeroed in, I would open fire from the safety of my bunker (the sofa and cushions), laughing maniacally as I picked the little devils off. For a while, life was good…
Me and my adversary did have something in common, we’re both ugly and have hairy legs. They also had a numerical limb superiority, however mine were highly effective in retreat mode.
When ambushed, I could fire off a round and still reach the nearest door in just two strides from any room in the house.
Unfortunately, TV’s, crockery, and ornaments were recycled on a regular basis. The good news was I became a dab hand with Polyfilla and superglue. I also reckon the gun shop wouldn’t have gone out of business if they had up-sold me insurance and decorating services too.
Each time I tidied up, the spent bullets made my vacuum cleaner rattle like a pensioner’s handbag. Also, when I had the flooring replaced, a very confused carpet fitter saw the state of the floorboards and commented that I had the biggest woodworm he’d ever seen. He was also the fastest carpet filter I have ever had, and didn’t seem to want to hang around for long.
But the level of destruction was just too great to be sustainable. I ran out of money to replace stuff, and ended up living in a house with more holes than a Syrian hotel.
I needed a change in tactics…
falling in love
In 1997 I fell in love. She was blond, beautiful, had blue eyes, and released the single “Some kind of Bliss” – it was Kylie.
Oh, yeah… It was also the same year I met Angela.
Angela is weird… really lovely… but weird… Clearly anyone that can tolerate me must have a screw loose. But it’s worse than that – she isn’t scared of spiders… and that’s just freaky.
The first time I suggested we went upstairs for some ‘bedroom action’, she became confused when I grabbed some .22 ammo and my night scope.
Within 6 months Angela had moved in with me… Shes brave… She had willingly entered a war zone with an armed lunatic and a history of self inflicted kitchen arson.
She also came as part of a package – included for the same price was Ross. He was still just a baby, and was at that brilliant age where you could put him on the floor and he would still be in the same place when you went back…
Having a small child around the house was a cracking idea, with luck, my hairy nemesis might start bullying him instead of me.
Hmmm, I might even be able to deploy him as a decoy, and use my sniper skills to pick the little critters them off around him.
Unfortunately, Angela was somewhat reluctant at having Ross used as spider bait, even despite my offer to purchase some Kevlar baby grows.
instead she came up with an alternative idea…
Angela brokered a truce… She instigated a CIA style (Carting Intolerable Arachnids) rendition programme to safely transport spiders whenever they make a guest appearance.
As long as I promised to stop screaming, and didn’t try to vaporise them with an artillery barrage, she would calmly pick the little buggers up and carry them outside.
So, at the end of the last century, the Fletcher/Arachnid peace treaty was signed, and we stopped having to buy new appliances, repair walls, and wear safety goggles around the house.
Thanks to my beautiful wife, an uneasy peace remains to this day.