The electricity went out about 1:00 a.m. I awoke to deafening silence and stillness. Not a sound could be heard anywhere. No bahama fans were whirring. No lights from electronics were glowing. No night lights were shining. The glow from the streetlight in the yard was gone. No sound; no light; no air conditioning. Nothing. The complete darkness and lack of sound is the reason I awoke.
My handy hurricane shake and shine flashlight was near the bed. I turned it on and shined it on the floor where I was about to step. Dead center in the bright beam was a spider the size of the palm of my hand. I could see the red in its eyes reflected in the flashlight beam. It was initially motionless, as frightened by the beam of light as I was by its very presence in the spot where my foot was likely to step if I had not turned on the flashlight. I kept the light shining on the spider, hoping it would remain frozen in the spot while I figured out what to do. In Florida, brown recluse spiders are a poison danger. I couldn't identify it in the beam of light in the absolute darkness; but it looked evil as its shadow made it appear even more sinister than the thoughts that fed my fear of spiders.
I truthfully did not want to kill it. Those eyes were so real - more like an animal than an insect. It was also very large compared to other spiders in my experience. I was frightened;yet, I kept that flashlight beam steady and the spider remained motionless.
At last, a brainstorm. I had an empty ice cream bucket nearby in which I sometimes stored extra pens, bits of paper, mail to be sorted and hair scrunchies. I gingerly reached for it while the flashlight beam was still on the spider. I managed to empty the contents on the bed where I was still trembling in fear.
As I moved with the bucket toward the spider, the flaslight beam moved and the spider took off on a dead run to hide under the pillow that was on the floor. I was swift! The bucket landed full over the spider before it slipped away. My heart was pounding and I was in a full sweat, probably double from no air conditioning and the terror that I would lose the spider forever and not be able to sleep for fear of its crawling under the covers.
It was not happy. The bucket was translucent and I could see the full image of the trapped spider running fruitlessly around and up and down the inside of the bucket. It was a sad sight watching what must have been a sort of insect terror at being caught with nowhere to run in that plastic bucket with the flashlight beam still shining.
Next, I piled books on the bottom of the bucket and pushed it deep into the carpet. I thought maybe that big spider might squeeze under the bucket's edge - not this time anyway. Then, I was faced with a next step. Catching the spider in the overturned bucket was one thing; getting rid of it without killing it was another matter. At least I was temporarily released to make frustrated calls to Florida Power and Light where they first said the power would be on by 2:45 a.m. and then by 3:45 a.m. The trapped spider in the darkness was more and more like a horror movie. However, I gained confidence the books would hold the plastic bucket in place. The spider seemed to settle at a spot near the top, under the book, which I noted by crawling on the floor with the flashlight and peering up, into the bucket. At least the eyes were no longer visible, just a shadow in the light of the flashlight, still ominous though definitely trapped.
I decided I'd wait for morning and then find a system of release. I drifted off to sleep until promptly at 3:45 the air conditioning, the bahama fans, the electronic lights, the streetlight and the living room light on a timer now out of sync came on in one sleep ending bright flash and hum. My first awakening move was to look at the spider's enclosure, hoping for its shadow of the "beast" inside. Sure enough, there it was, motionless on the side of the container.
After adding the monopoly game to the top of the container, I turned off the odd lights and tried a little more sleep until the welcome daylight called from the window. I checked the spider hutch again; it was still inside. After dressing, I found some cardboard file folders and slipped them gingerly under the edges of the container. Next, I left my spider to get the plastic cutting board from the kitchen to gingerly slide under the cardboard to give the works more stability.
From this point, my attention to the spider itself gets a little hazy. I concentrated on carefully keeping the container on its platform as I maneuvered into shoes, out the garage door and across to the field where I intended to let the spider face its future in an environment more conducive to its kind. I took one last look at the container before setting it in the field for the planned kick and run to release its inhabitant. The spider was no longer there. It had disappeared into thin air without being released from its prison. The container was empty. Where was the spider?
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