It's amazing how quickly one's attention at work can be diverted by a shriek.
Even if you're a writer, accustomed to screaming all around you, there's a certain type of scream that comes with terror that cannot be ignored.
Such a scream split the air around me this afternoon when my teenaged daughter frantically demanded my attention, outside my home office. I never allow anyone to pull me out of my home office during work hours -the quality of this scream was clearly out of the ordinary.
As the shrieking escalated, I got up and ambled out -- until I saw what was inspiring the noise.
My eyes widened.
What clearly looked like a poisonous spider was crouched on the back of my favorite sofa and it looked like it was sneering at me.
The thing was nearly as big as my hand. "It can move VERY fast," my daughter whispered. "Be careful."
An unnecessary warning, that last. I rapidly estimated what it would take to either trap it or kill it -- but at least, to find a way to get it contained.
My eyes flicked first to the large blue plastic basin, but that seemed too big. "What if it crawls out from under it?" my daughter said. Good point.
I narrowed it down to a Revereware sauce pot. Spider stew, anyone?
I wondered if I would have to kasher the pot after this -- then discarded the idea altogether. The pot was still too big. Saved by the size.
I realized suddenly as it began to move that I was making a big mistake in my thinking. "I don't want to TRAP it," I thought to myself. "This is the enemy. A threat to my family. I want to KILL it."
My brows lowered, and it occurred to me that a large flat book was much more the thing. Clearing a space and kicking extraneous items out of the way, I prepared to do battle.
The creature's seven legs (yes, seven with brown and black markings, ugly as hell) started picking their way leisurely across the back of that sofa, and then down a cushion and into the seat. Stealthily, I poked the cushion aside.
It raced up the sofa and up to the top of the back, to what it perceived was safety -- right on top of my son's baseball glove.
I struck it dead on, a direct hit. And then another, as its body fell twitching to the cold stone floor, where I stomped on it with a shoe for a good measure.
Eyes blazing, I informed my daughter the enemy was vanquished.
Three hours later, I am still shaking.
I have always hated spiders.