Don’t Look Now!

here I come says the spider

Of course sometimes when you look up you’re sorry you did, like when your older sister has you pinned to the ground and is lowering a long drool of spit onto you. (I know, I know. You’ve heard this tale from me before, but some things are hard to put behind you, ask any younger sibling.)

This post follows that ethereal set of jottings from yesterday. I mean the lovely thoughts of the person manning that isolated webcam had, about airplanes passing high above us.

Some things you don’t WANT to see coming. Henry the 8th had his wife Ann Boleyn beheaded with the sword and not the ax because it was a swifter and more merciful death. Additionally he had the headsman wear soft little slippers so the blindfolded queen of England would not hear his spinning approach.  (That’s how they did it according to Hilary Mantel, Booker-award winning author of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies: The guy got a running start, swirled like a dancer executing a pivot and delivered the blow with all the energy that move delivered.)

You also don’t want to look up in the morning and see a spider right over your bed when he too is lowering something onto you, namely his furry many-legged self.

In fact they say all kinds of critters trundle around on us as we sleep, even if the mattress is vermin-free. What about all those dear little ladybugs that appear everywhere the minute there’s a warm day? They don’t check into a motel when the lights go out. Just like your cat or dog, they too probably like to curl up pressed against warm sleeping You.

The chimneys in this house are well-traveled highways for things from the sky: birds, squirrels, though God knows how they get their fat little fat hips down the flue, and also bats.

The worst are the bats, because here they suddenly appear out of nowhere, in their jagged stitching flight.

We once chased a bat all over this house, tennis racquets in hand, until it made its way clear to the third floor and hid behind the big oak mirror that hangs over a low chest of drawers. (Well, I wasn’t actually holding a racquet. I was mostly holding the totally enraptured children who were shrieking like banshees.)

My old man, Old Dave was holding the racquet, making wild swings whenever the poor thing swooped by.

“Let’s just shut the door to this room” I called to him in that third floor room, thinking, We never have to use this room  again.

He said nothing. He knew that was no solution.

He thought a minute. He looked at his racquet.

He looked at the mirror.

Then he went up to it and pressed it, slowly but firmly into the wall, and the dead bat dropped like a heavy little purse, down on to the floor.

I felt a little badly of course but then thought what I still think today: If only more of what ‘befalls’ us could be dispatched with such ease!

bat in flight

Author: Terry Marotta

I am syndicated columnist, blogger and author who loves any chance to give talks about the ease of first-person writing.

2 thoughts on “Don’t Look Now!”

  1. I don’t know if it is true, but I once heard (when we were going around the castle of the Dukes of Burgundy) that the original purpose of curtained or canopy beds was to keep insects from dropping onto sleepers at night.

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