When I was ‘growing’ up in California on good, red-letter days, I would capture a jumping spider. Having caught same, I would place her into a mason jar with wood chips. You see, jumping spiders do not build webs (this makes them ideal pets, by the way); they like to live in caves made by little boys using wood chips. Well, that is what I always heard. And my experience bore that out.
Anyway, once I moved to Texas, I missed my spiders. Not that Texas has a spider shortage, mind you. I just did not know where to look. “Looking for Spiders in all the wrong places.”
One day, lo’ and behold, I found a jumping spider which looked so much familiar to me,
“Natasha! (I have always named my spiders), Natasha! did you walk all the way here from California?”
“Of course,” she said, “Yes.”
I gathered her up and placed her into my mason jar. I did not ask if she wanted to be my pet. I just assumed.
Months later, I announced to my Grandparents:
“My spider is gonna have babies.”
“Lance, Son” my Grandmother informed me, “There is no daddy spider in there. Your spider cannot possibly have baby spiders.”
(“What a stupid bitch!” I thought to myself. “Of course she can have baby spiders ‘without a daddy’ Spiders are like guppies: they store sperm until the time is ‘just right.’ But how could this old Tennessee-Baptist-In-The-Rough-God-is-Great woman even wrap her mind about such things Darwin?)
About two weeks later, I was up to my ass in baby spiders. I did not even show grandmother the offspring. She would have told me it was just yet another example of God’s Work: “The Immaculate Spider Conception.”
My Lady Spider was a huntress. She needed something more than the flies I would daily cast into her mason jar. These were just food. No thrill in the chase.
“OK Bitch! I will give you something to sink yer jaws into,” I told her one morning.
Under the eaves of my Grandfather’s shed lived a troop of Black Widow Spiders. I knew this because I was a Spider-Geek. However, Black Widows never intriqued me as pets, mainly because they needed more than a Mason Jar for accouterments. Or habiliments, Or Lodgings.
Pissed as I was at Sadie, (or whatever her name was) I captured a Black Widow. I took her to Sadie’s Mason jar and threw her in.
“OK, Sadie. Run tell this!” I said.
Sadie looked about at her new roommate. Then she looked at me and said,
“I never thought we would come to this.”
“Sorry, ol’ Gal; this is the part where the cowboy rides away. Catch ya laters. Good luck.”
I was curious and in fact, had nothing but time on my hands (as I was waiting for my golf green to repair itself). So, I hid my face and watched to see how Sadie would deal with her Roommate.
The Black Widow was wily. She taunted Sadie. Sadie jumped at her and missed! A rare swing an’ a miss from my ‘Sadie, Sadie, Married Lady’ (Sorry Barbara).
Black widow took the opportunity and captured Sadie. Black widow began to wrap Sadie in a web, presumably to eat at her leisure. Black Widow made one fatal mistake:
She wrapped Sadie’s hind legs (all four of ‘em) first, leaving her front legs (all four of ‘em) free. Well as Black Widow was nonchalantly wrapping up Sadie, Sadie grabbed her with the front legs and planted a big wet kiss into her thorax. They held this embrace for Thirty minutes. I know; I was there…
Once Black Widow was now herself, quite dead, Sadie dropped her.
“Sadie,” I said. “Your indentured servitude has ended. Let me help you with that.”
I stole some tweezers from my Grandmother’s “Lady-Bag” bag and meticulously pulled all the Black Widow silk from Sadie. Then I opened the mouth of the Mason Jar and set in on the ground.
I came back to it the next day. There was no Sadie: just a note written in Spider’ease which read:
“Thank you for allowing me to save myself. I will always love you. If you ever make it back to California, Here is my email addy:”
“Spider On! Y’all!” She wrote. That was how she ended it. Took me three days to get the webs outta my brain.
“I still miss you Sadie,” I said to no one in particular.