Iím sitting here thinking over all the events of the last few days of this Halloween season. Iím trying to isolate the exact moment when everything started to go wrong. No matter how I slice it, I always come up with the same conclusion. It all started with that god-forsaken spider.
I remember once being an average guy. I had a good salaried job as a supervisor at Pure Sound Audio Systems, a speaker manufacturing plant. I both lived and worked in the metropolis of Indianapolis, Indiana. My life was no better or worse than anyone elseís. But then came that fateful day the spider crawled into my life.
My life is ruined because of the arachnid, and now the horror is going to pay. Thatís why Iím sitting in front of its aquarium cage with a can of gasoline and a pack of matches. Itís payback time.
Before I can torch the spider, I need to put her back in the cage. Iím not ready to do that yet. First, I need to go over everything thatís happened one last time. I want to remember the mad whirlwind of events leading to this moment. During this process, I want to savor my revenge.
Everything started two days ago, the same day I began a newly released medication for my depression. After work that day I found myself in the local pet store. I was standing in front of an aquarium display of tarantulas. Many think this an unusual pet, but Iíd had one ever since my 15th birthday. For the last ten years Iíve kept ďDoc OckĒ as a pet. Unfortunately, he died a few weeks ago. My purpose at the pet store was to replace him.
I didnít shed a single tear when Doc Ock died. I canít get very emotional over a spider, but I did miss him when he went to tarantula heaven. He and I had been through a lot of things together. One of those things was my marriage to my wife, Joanie.
Joanie, who has a rather severe case of arachnophobia, had assumed Iíd get rid of Doc Ock when we married. The spider was our first big fight as newlyweds. I reasoned that since she brought her cat into the marriage, it was only fair that Doc Ock should be able to stay as well. The short version of that much argued event is that both her cat and my tarantula stayed.
As I stood there in the pet store trying to decide on a spider, I can honestly say that it never entered my mind to tell Joanie I was getting a replacement. Why should she even care? She and Doc Ock had always kept a very respectable distance from each other. Besides, I planned to get the same breed as Doc Ock. He was a Chilean Rose tarantula. This breed is one of the most gentle and docile spiders of their kind.
The store owner noticed me studying his spiders and asked if he could help. I told him about Doc Ock and how I was looking for a replacement. Since I always come to his store to purchase cat food for Joanieís feline and crickets for Doc Ock, he was only too glad to be of assistance.
He mentioned a shipment of supplies delivered that very morning. Among the supplies was a spider that had been special ordered by a customer whoíd changed his mind at the last minute. He said the specimen was in the back room and asked if Iíd like to see it. My curiosity was piqued, so I agreed.
In the back room, he led me to a shelf holding a cloth-covered box. He removed the black cloth to reveal a plastic, transparent 12 inch cube. Inside was the biggest spider Iíve ever seen in my life. It jumped toward us as the store owner removed the cloth. The two of us flinched back involuntarily, startled at the unexpected reaction of the spider. We laughed at each otherís nervousness.
He asked if I recognized the species. I did. It was Theraphosa leblondi, a Goliath bird-eating spider, the largest species of arachnid in the world. The monster actually looked cramped in its cube. I knew that tarantulas of this size were very rare and likely to be quite old. Although their venom wouldnít kill a human, they were extremely aggressive. I sexed it by looking at the pedipalps, the two finger-like appendages at either side of its fangs. The absence of palpal bulbs at the tips meant that it was female.
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