Last night at about 11 I was tucked neatly up in bed, buttoned into my onesie and about to fall asleep on my book, when Kate shouted in alarm from the hallway that There Was A Spider.
I got up. I am the fuse-changer, computer-fixer, spider-wrangler and de facto man of the house. I went into the hallway to find Kate staring at the ceiling in terrified fascination, where a Spider Battle was taking place!
A biggish black spider had wandered into a daddy long-legs' web and was now struggling desperately to free itself. (A struggling spider is a horrid thing to watch - the way they scuttle is un-nerving in itself, but they become at once creepy and pathetic when they're waving their hairy legs about trying to get out of a death-trap.) The big spider was kicking about and spinning around in circles, trying to free itself, while the daddy long-legs sat back in the corner and watched and rubbed its legs together in anticipatory glee.
(Aside: imagine how much more creepy kidnapping would be if you were tied up with string that came out of your abductor's ass.)
"Mum," said Kate, "Come and see! It's like having the Discovery Channel in your own house."
Mum had a brief look, said, "Very interesting, girls," and went back to bed.
Eventually the big spider went still. I felt a bit sad for it. Kate took a step back and clutched her blankie to her mouth. I took a step forward and peered up at the battledome. The daddy long-legs scuttled down to the big spider and poked it with glee. The big spider came back to life and kicked the daddy long-legs in the nose! Serves you right, you little fucker, I thought. The daddy-long-legs flailed about a bit, frantically trying to tie up the big spider, and the big spider kicked it again. I said that I felt sorry for the big spider, approved of its fighting spirit, and wanted to set it free. Mum and Kate said No.
I sulked and became bored and went to bed, leaving the spider to its fate.
About ten minutes later I had snuggled my face into my book and was about to go to sleep, when Kate came in and announced loudly that "the spider is gone." I sighed. "Do you want me to come and find it?" "Yes! I do."
So I got up again and went into the hallway, to discover that the big spider had Escaped! Good on him, I thought. I crouched on the floor, having first flung Blankie onto Mum's bed (nothing worse than getting a spider in your blankie) and looked around for him. I found him, still alive, hiding underneath a cardboard box! As I coaxed the spider onto a bit of paper and opened the front door to put him outside, the daddy long-legs looked down from his corner with a miffed expression.
Suddenly, Kate looked at my spider and shrieked, "It's a white tail!"
I looked at it. It was.
I said that even thought I knew he was a Bad Spider maybe it would be OK if I could just put him in the garden anyway, being as he had fought so valiantly for his life (in my mind this spider had assumed epic, almost heroic proportions) and should be allowed to go home to tell his tale of valour. Unfortunately Mum and Kate shouted a lot about how he was Evil and should not be allowed to live, and was a House Spider and would Just Come Back In and MUST DIE.
And so I dropped a book on him, and threw his corpse in the garden.
And that is the end of the story of the Spider Fight.