Note: My Dad passed away about six years ago. A family member recently sent me some memorabilia, and buried within a pile of photos was this short story. He wrote it back in the early 1970’s while on a job assignment in Australia. I felt delighted to be reunited with this little manuscript, and be able to enjoy my father’s humor again. I thought you might like it too. Here is a true story of something very scary my father encountered, while in the land down under . . .
ROOMMATES I DON’T NEED
There I sat last week, after work, working on my daily reports at my desk in the motel room. It was really hot, and I had all of the windows wide open, trying to capture any breeze that happened along. (The air conditioner is off because of the strike at the power plant.)
Anyhow I’m typing away, and frequently taking a swig out of the ever handy good “Victorian” beer. It’s about 8:00 at night. I reach over and take the last sweet guzzle out of the can, lifting my head up high to capture the last drop, and “JEEEZZZZ” what do you think I see right up there on the ceiling next to the light fixture?
Well, I just happened to gaze upon the biggest, hairiest, SPIDER, I’ve ever seen in my life. I’m not kidding you a fraction, that bastard was as big as my outstretched hand. Big, light brown, and as hairy as a hippie. Well, by God, I don’t mind telling you, I just about swallowed that beer can, and broke my chair at the same time.
Not the same arachnid that my dear old Dad encountered, but perhaps a reasonable facsimile.
So, I made my way to the trusty telephone, and rang up the dainty little receptionist. The conversation went something like as follows:
“Hello there, I would like to speak to the manager immediately, if not sooner.”
“I’m sorry sir, the manager is not in at the moment, can I help you?”
So I commence to describe the situation, and also the size of it, and she very calmly explains that . . .
“It’s just one of our HUNTER TARANTULA SPIDERS, and they are very harmless and only eat flies.” She further exclaimed that she really didn’t care much for them either, so it would be up to me to find my own solution to the problem. She suggested that I just “Shoo” it out with a newspaper.
“Shoo it out with a newspaper,” I said, “Holy Christ, that thing looks like it could eat the damn newspaper right along with my arm!”
Well, no help in sight, so I start looking around the room for some kind of weapon. Meanwhile, this creature is just quietly hanging there, seemingly not moving a muscle! It might be my imagination, but I swear I could see him flex as he breathed.
Anyhow, I spots this pressure can full of fly repellent (probably similar to Black Flag). So, I figures out my strategy . . . (I know the stuff won’t kill him, it would be like trying to kill a horse with a BB gun.)
I go over to the front door and open it wide. (All the time wishing there were more than one door to these damn motel rooms.) Then, I quietly move over to the other side of this monster, so that he is between me and the door. The range of the spray should be about six to eight feet, and I figure maybe I can move him toward the door and hopefully OUT . . .
I get in position, and give a short blast in his direction . . . . . . . “nuthin” . . . . . maybe he shakes one leg a little . . . . . .
I give another blast (a longer one). This time he shakes a little, like a puppy getting rid of some water on his back . . . . . . .
I lets out another longer blast, and he moves two feet across the ceiling faster than a speeding bullet . . . then stops. (At least it was in the direction of the door.)
Well, with a chair in one hand, and the bomb in the other, I gives him a good long dose . . . he kind of weaves a little, like he’s dizzy, then lets go of the ceiling and floats to the floor right side up, just like he had a parachute. He bobs up and down a couple of times like he’s doing push-ups, then starts racing directly towards me.
I’d love to jump right through the bay window, but instead I just hold a steady spray right head-on into his oncoming mass. It slows him to a stop with about two feet to spare, and he starts staggering toward the open door at last . . . . .
Several times along the way he deviates from the path, and tries to head for the bed, but I head him off with a stronger blast in that area.
With a sigh of relief, I finally watch him struggle out the door, and onto the parking lot. Once in the fresh air, he seems to get a second wind, and gain his strength back. He’s making his way across the lot pretty good, so I jump in the rental car, and catch him in my headlights . . . .
I run him down with my first attempt before he reaches the other side of the lot, even if I did take out one row of pansies and a rose bush. That was only because of this damn left-hand drive . . . In order to get him, I had to catch him with the right hand tire.
So anyhow, I come on back inside and get back on the phone. I tell the sweet little receptionist that the “little problem” is taken care of, then I also tell her that if any more little problems develop like that, to tell the manager to rent them their own damn room, or I’ll stuff the next one down his neck, dead or alive. (Probably be dead with tire prints.)
Anyhow, she thanked me for calling about the final developments, said she would pass on the information to the manager, said she would have to hang up, and find out what the complaints were from the guests concerning some NUT out in the parking lot, swerving around with a car.
I wished her luck and hung up.