One of seven black widow spiders I found along the back fence of my house.
Black widow spider venom is fifteen-times as toxic as that of the prairie rattlesnake. This is why yesterday I was somewhat alarmed to find seven of them (black widows, not rattlesnakes) building a cobweb amusement park along the back fence of the Dead Rooster Mansion.
They are resistant to all non-flamethrower style insecticides, so the only way to get rid of them is to physically smash them with a proper black widow extermination device. My personal favorite is the handle of a TaylorMade r7 CGBmax 5-iron golf club. The correct method for using this high-tech instrument is to hold the club-head in your hand like a pistol grip while pointing the tip of the long handle a few inches from the offending creature, then smoosh.
You have to be quick though because black widows can sense danger and vanish quicker than Dick Cheney’s signature on a charity donation. They escape into knot-holes, under loose boards, or worst of all—and this is where I learned that wearing nothing but short pants and a t-shirt while trying to slay highly-poisonous black widow spiders with a golf club is not such a great idea—they can leap onto you.
I squished the first six spiders in heroic fashion and without a hitch, but the seventh one, obviously skilled at club-handle evasion tactics, unwittingly managed to become part of the meanest hoax ever foisted upon me.
I blinked and she disappeared. I can only believe it was an elaborate prank of nature when, at the exact moment the spider vanished, it was precisely the exact same moment in which an apple blossom drifted from a nearby tree and wriggled its way down the back of my t-shirt.
OK, as you can imagine, my reaction was elaborate. I could feel what I thought was a black widow spider—probably with newly sharpened fangs dripping with highly toxic super-venom—jump down the inside of my shirt!
I could feel its spindly legs; I could sense its anger; I could hear it breathing!
But fate was not satisfied with the intensity of this cruel practical joke. No, it had to do more; it needed a witness.
It turns out that while this nightmare was unfolding for me, my brother, David, had stopped by for one of his surprise visits. When he couldn’t find me in the house, he walked out into the backyard just in time to see me lurching around the lawn wielding a golf club as if I were trying to slay an invisible dragon.
Thinking I was goofing around, he said, (and I believe this is pretty close to the exact quote), “You look like you completely swallowed one of those poisonous frogs that, when you lick’em, cause you to hallucinate.”
“There’s a black widow down the back of my shirt!” I screamed.
After seeing the genuine look of terror on my face he decided that maybe he should try to help me.
Cautiously, he pulled back the collar of my t-shirt and took a look. After seeing the apple blossom, but without passing up an opportunity to further torture me, he said, “holy crap! There is one in there…and, it looks totally pissed, like it wants to bite you!”
The blood drained from my face.
David, who by this time could not contain himself, began laughing hysterically. “No, man, I’m just messing with you—it’s just a flower or something.”
I felt the golf club in my hand, gripped the handle tightly, and brought it up to the “swing” position.
David stopped laughing.
I never did kill that final spider, but I know the general area she’s hiding, so eventually she’s a goner. Right now I’m off to get some margarita mix…and, possibly a beekeepers outfit.