Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Things That Go Tap in the Night

It was a dark and stormy night. Okay, so not so much stormy as mildly cloudy, but still. It was late, and I still had much work to do. Hubby and the pups were making too much racket for my creative side to be happy with, so I banished them to the top floor of the house while I retreated to the basement.

The air was cool, but the space blessedly quiet. Finally I was able to get into the groove of writing, and before too long I was deep in the story, my surroundings falling away as I immersed myself in Regency England. I was typing happily away when a sudden scratching sound brought me screeching back to the present.

Scratchy scratchy scratchy…

There it was again! I froze, my heart beating in my ears as I evaluated the situation. I knew Kirk and the dogs were still upstairs—the sound of the basement door opening is unmistakable, so I knew they couldn't have sneaked downstairs.

Scratchy scratchy scratchy…

Oh God, there was something down there with me. Right. Behind. Me. I swallowed, my whole body rigidly tense. It was going to be a mouse. I just knew it. I was going to turn around and a freaking little mouse was going to dart away, escaping into some unseen crevasse and leaving me unable to sleep for days.

Scratchy scratchy scratchy…

There was nothing for it; I had to turn around. Without a doubt something was there walking behind me, and be it mouse, rat, or something even more sinister, I had to know what it was. Taking a bracing breath, I slowly, carefully swiveled in my chair, spinning until I could see the ground directly behind me and then…


In utter horror, I flailed around looking for something on my desk substantial enough to smite him from the face of the earth. Generally I prefer the live and let live philosophy, but once you are big enough to wear tap shoes and pound out some Fred Astaire moves, I’m sorry but you gotta die. Immediately.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t wearing any shoes and all I really had on my desk were loose papers. I found a pack of index cards, but I couldn’t risk him bench-pressing them off and coming after me.

Meanwhile, I’m screaming at the top of my lungs, for once in my life perfectly okay with sounding like a six year old girl. I can hear the dogs scrambling down the stairs and pacing back and forth in front of the basement door, but damn if they hadn’t opposable thumbs to open the door and come rescue me. Kirk, however, with is wonderfully dextrous hands and multitude of weapons to choose from upstairs (butcher knife, anyone), is nowhere to be found. He would later claim that he couldn’t hear me, but I firmly believe that he heard the I’m-about-to-be-eaten-by-Aragog scream and decided to sit that one out.

The spider started to move at this point, looking like nothing so much as Thing from the Addam’s family, only slightly more hairy and WAY more creepy. At last my hands find something much more substantial on my desk—my go-to research book, What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew. Its shiny, unblemished cover glinted in the light, and I paused in indecision.

And then he moved again. Towards me.

And I threw the book at him.


So therein ends the tale of the tap-dancing spider and his death by Charles Dickens. I’m beginning to think living out in the sticks isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Overdramatic snakes? Check. Radioactive spiders? Check. Please next time can it simply be an ax murderer or a boogy man – in other words, something less horrifying?

What is your most heebie-jeebie inducing critter story? And really, have you ever in your life heard of a spider so big you could hear him walking behind you?? *shivers*

For today’s recipe, I thought I’d find a recipe both yummy and tasteless under the circumstances. How do you think I did? ;)

Click Here

And because I thought a tribute was in order...


  1. Just reading this post gives me the shudders! Yuck. I think the worst was being awoken at 2am by my parents, on vacation in SC when I was about 12 years old, to them quietly lifting my sheets and searching the room I was sleeping in. When I asked what was wrong, my mom said she had seen a Palmetto bug (read: cockroach with wings) fly in to my room, and they couldn't find it! Not much sleep for me that night, let me tell you.
    And, I have seen this picture from South America, of a wolf spider that was so big, it was hiding behind a wall clock and it's legs stuck out either side. Nightmares, nightmares!

  2. Something tells me you'll really appreciate this comic: http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/03/spiders-are-scary-its-okay-to-be-afraid.html

    I don't have any specific stories, but I have always had an irrational fear of centipedes. As far as I'm concerned, the more legs it has the creepier it is, and those things have WAY more legs than is natural. *shudder*

  3. Oh, Olivia - I almost forgot about Palmetto bugs! *shudders* Yeah, after 5 years of living in SC, I think I just repressed the memory of those things. Gigantic cockroaches with wings? Yeah, that ain't right ;)

  4. I'm still hoping you are over-exaggerating, because a spider you can HEAR walking is too terrifying to contemplate! Yipe!

  5. I thought I should offer up Dakota for your protection from the creepie crawlies in the basement, but then I remembered her first experience with a bug and thought better of it. When she was only a few weeks old, still being bottle fed and all that, Dakota saw a beetle of some sort on the floor by the front door. Bugs are fascinating to cats, you know, and so she darted over to it, staring and following its every move. Finally, she worked up the courage to reach out and touch it with her paw. I don't know if it pinched her pad lightly, or if it just moved and felt funny to her, or what...but she took off as fast as her little three-week-old kitten legs would carry her down the hall, puffed up tail and arched back and all that good stuff. She made a few laps around the house before she calmed down enough to let one of us pick her up and help her relax. Poor baby 'Kota. So based on that, I'm thinking she might not be your best protection from the creepie crawlies in the basement.

  6. And speaking of 'that ain't right,' Ashlyn, I HATE centipedes! WHAT do they need all those legs for??
    And as for your link - one of my favorite of all time. Hilarious! Thanks for refreshing my memory on that one - it was even funnier after this whole debacle ;)

  7. Jessica, I swear on my permanently stained What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Ate book, this post is absolutely TRUE! I'm so glad he's dead - I don't care how insensitive that makes me!

  8. LOL - poor Dakota! Yeah, not exactly the best guard cat ;) I seriously considered getting a cat after this, but Kirk put his foot down. I asked if we could get an exterminator instead, and he said yes. I think I could like having an exterminator for a pet...:D

    Thanks for stopping by Catherine!

  9. Big ewww, ewww and SHIVER!!!!!Spiders are what scare me the most.

    I meant what I said on Twitter; I'm never eating at your house again. hee!

    Or at least not without some RAID or a really big flyswatter. ;)

  10. Duly stocking the house with Raid *salutes*
    LOL - I'm not sure *I* want to eat here anymore, Marquita! In normal situations, spiders don't really bother me, but there comes a point...

  11. Hilarious! You shoulda captured him and you could've taken him on tour -- people would pay good money to see a talented spider like that! He could've starred on a double bill with that frog that always sings "hello my baby" in old cartoons!
    That tap dancing video made me smile and wish so badly that I could tap like that. Delightful, thanks for posting it!!

  12. I had a water moccasin fall on my head in the barn once. Yep. On my head. I did not want to be wondering where that sucker was at every feeding time! I managed to maintain enough sanity to kill it before it got to the giant stack of hay.

    Then...I ran crying to the house! LOL

  13. Oh. My. God. Yeah, Mari - you win! I'm so proud of you for taking care of the slimy monster before falling to pieces. Go you!

  14. Too funny, Kara - I can totally see them hitting it big! Maybe, just like the frog, he's only *playing* dead. Um...on second thought, I don't think even all the King's horses and all the King's men could put that dead spider back together again ;)

  15. HaHaHaHa...what a marvelous development of a story from your Twiitter and phone call! LMAO! Your "throwing the book at it" was hilarious! Maybe it was just wanting a cameo in one of your books...back when its ancestors didn't have to deal with with pesticides and throwable books ;-D. I was going to share my "Death-of-a-rattlesnake-by-a-scared-shotgun-toting-Army-officer-in-the-dessert" story, but Mari's water moccasin story way beats my snake story...I would have been trading places with him in the rafters on that one while yelling "FIRE" at the top of my voice to get help (I'm sure if I yelled "SNAKE", no one would come to help...lol) GR8 blog and comments!