She found me in the shower and peeled back the curtain.
"I need you to take care of something," my wife said, "and you're not going to like it."
I've seen big spiders, but this one, clinging to the ceiling like a bat, stole my breath. This sucker could have popped the top off a can of Crisco. We stared at each other for a second. I could almost see myself in its thousand eyes.
I grabbed a completely inadequate 2-quart Pyrex measuring bowl that I'd use to escort the beast outside.
This is my house. I must defend it.
Feels like I've said that a lot since we moved six years ago to this jungle of a state, where the landscape is always in flux, where man carves out his plot then fights like hell to keep it.
Fights against those snuff-can-sized cockroaches that Florida markets as Palmetto bugs.
Fights against the roof rats, which my wife likes to think of as a family called the Rattersons. I sprinkled fox urine around the house and bought industrial-sized traps and murdered enough Rattersons to make a hat.
Fights against mosquitoes that could kidnap a child, and black snakes that like the cool under our old bungalow, and opossums the size of toaster ovens that mess with my dog, the Honey Island Swamp Monster, all night.
Now this huntsman spider splayed across the ceiling — this invader — wanted a piece of me.
My wife, predicting hilarity or death, pulled out her iPhone and captured the ordeal on video.
Bless her heart.
If this digital evidence did not exist, I might tell you I frightened the spider out of my domain, drawing yet another line in the Florida sand between man and nature.
Alas, Little Miss Muffet dropped the Pyrex bowl, eeeked something nasty, tripped backward over the armchair, somersaulted across the living room floor and scurried away, bath towel flapping.
Which I'm certain frightened the spider away.
Ben Montgomery, Times staff writer