Last year we discovered that lanky spiders will stand their ground against a smaller, stockier challenger. Previously on this battleground a long leg was flicked in the general direction of the approaching threat and that was enough to make them turn and scarper. This time it was more brutal.
The smaller, fatter spider, lets call him Eddie, had been living peacefully where wall joins ceiling for a week or so. Every now and then he would pop out for a bite to eat, maybe have a look out the window, then go back home. Then one afternoon after a nice trip down to the carpet it started a climb up to have a nice rest, but could see something wasn’t quite right. Sometimes if you’re walking towards your car across a large carpark you squint slightly, just to check your car is ok. Are those windows smashed? Does that tyre look flat from here? Is that a much taller, thinner, slightly geeky looking spider in my seat? As Eddie got nearer the ceiling he slowed down and stopped. His beloved space had been taken. He couldn’t believe it. Looking down, unconcerned, was one of the long, thin, sleek wallcreepers who have taken over my house recently. Lets call this one Syd. Syd was too busy making small web adjustments to take much notice of Eddie approaching from below. Every now and then the legs stopped moving and he leant down to see what this annoyance wanted. But Eddie was still. Thinking. What did he want? That was his house. His wall. His ceiling. Remnants of his web were still visible. He couldn’t just walk away and leave this again, could he? He’d been kicked around the ceiling from corner to corner already this year. Now he had a home, was he going to give it all up once more because a lanky git had moved in? Was he heck as like! (That means no, dear overseas readers.)
So Eddie started his final ascent towards Syd. He could feel the adrenaline pumping through his heart. He could sense some sweat dripping from his forehead and started to shake at the thought of this confrontation. He stopped to wonder why he was the first spider in history to have these physical reactions, and the mental capacity to think about them. But then onwards and upwards, towards this homestealing beanpole. Syd readjusted his body and looked down towards this sweaty rotund annoyance. Who does he think he is, barging into other peoples webs like that? Eddie just about opened his fangs to ask if Syd would be so nice as to kindly vacate the premises when a foot swished in nowhere and smacked him in the face. Syd extended his leg with a slow flourish after it had made contact, and like a proud batsman he watched his shot as it rushed to the boundary. Eddie woke up on his back, legs curled up to his chest on the edge of a pile of CDs on the floor. This was not his home. This place would never be his home. Home means not having to look over your shoulder every second of the day. He couldn’t stay here. He slowly turned his aching body over and crawled into the dark corner behind the bookcase. A home could be taken from him. His death would be his, forever. I never saw him again.
Eddie, 2. I liked Eddie. He was a cheeky little fellow, with his chubbyness and funny outfits.
Syd, 8. Not much to look at, but doesn’t think twice before kicking you in the throat.