Archive | September 2013

Murder in the Bedroom

Dressed only in my nightie, I was brushing my teeth. Why did I turn? I don’t know. But when I did, I saw……a huge, brown spider, at least 1 1/2 inches big with long legs. It was crawling in under the closed bathroom door. For a moment, I was fascinated by the size of the creature, until….I realized I was barefoot. Suddenly, I felt extremely vulnerable.

What kind of spider grows so large? Should I be scared? Yes! I was scared. It stopped in its tracks. It studied me. I grabbed a magazine and waved it menacingly at the critter, shouting: “Shoo! Go away! Out!”

What do I know about spiders?

What do I know about spiders?

The spider didn’t react or budge. It was determined. Did it move closer? Oh, oh..maybe it did. What do I know about spiders? Nothing. Would it bite my bare foot? Would the bite be dangerous? I didn’t like the situation. I handled it wisely if not with dignity. I ran out of there as fast as I could without rinsing my mouth, slamming the door behind me. (Not that the door had kept it out in the first place, mind you, but in panic mode, don’t expect me to think rationally.)

After rinsing my mouth in the other bathroom, I crawled into bed and lay there thinking. Spiders can climb, can’t they? I got up and checked all the blankets to be sure none were touching the floor. Okay, I admit that was silly. Beds don’t float in space. And, the useless exercise didn’t make me feel any better. I wrapped myself tightly within the blankets. It was too warm. Which would you rather, a big brown spider as a bedmate or a little discomfort?

It was Sunday. Every Sunday night 101FM replays old radio shows, like “The Shadow”, or “The Inner Sanctum”. These radio shows fascinated and terrified me when I was little, and I enjoy hearing them again. On this particular night “The Shadow” was on. What do you think the story was about?

A lonely, desperate, murderous madman lived in a small, dark room full of spider webs with his only friend and companion — a huge spider. What a coincidence. How could they do this to me??? The story was actually silly, but that didn’t make me feel any better. The spider was so large the Shadow had to use his gun to kill it. At any other time, I’d have been amused, but on this night with my own huge spider lurking about, it was somewhat disconcerting.

After a restless night, I arose and carefully donned slippers (which I don’t usually bother with) to get to my bath. I carefully studied the white tiled floor in the bathroom and checked the bathtub before I climbed in. Back in my bedroom, I dressed, shaking each garment out first — just in case, and then checked each shoe and shook it upside down before I put it on. I was thinking spider, spider, spider…. I went out for breakfast.

The daily local newspaper “24 Hours” had an article by Chris Campbell, on Sept. 2nd. The headline read:  “Expert Says BC Spiders Invading Homes for Sex.”

Male spiders enter homes looking for sex, honest....

Male spiders enter homes looking for sex, honest….

Honest. Would I make this up? You can check it on the Internet. Apparently this is the time of year spiders are the largest, and it is their mating season, so the males enter homes looking for lovers. And, our province has more than 900 different kinds! Yikes!

A few days after first meeting my uninvited roommate, I was going through my new, careful, obsessive early morning routine when I spotted, on the carpet right in my bedroom, that same huge spider. He had crept silently into my oh-so private space and had the audacity to sit there on the carpet as if he owned the place. Absolutely unafraid, he watched me dress. How dare he! A veritable arachnid Peeping Tom!!

Enough was enough. With  vengeance in my heart and murder in my mind I attacked the intruder.

Enough was enough. With vengeance on my mind and murder in my heart I attacked the intruder.

Enough was enough. I had had it! With vengeance on my mind and murder in my heart, I picked up a shoe I was sure could do him in as big as he was. I attacked the intruder who had managed to alter my life for days and ground him mercilessly into pulp. He is no more…..

This was not the first time I had an adventure with a spider, though the previous event was not as frightening and that spider wasn’t as large. I had just moved to town and celebrated the finding of my first job by buying myself some expensive, luxurious bubble-bath. I like bubble-baths and am convinced that if there is a heaven, they have them there. I poured the rich, blue liquid into my bath, and was just about to step in, when I noticed a black spider floating on the bubbles. I hesitated but a moment, then decided to take my bath with that spider. Later I  wrote this silly poem to remember the occasion.

My Bath with a Spider

My bath with a spider

My bath with a spider

Early this morning

I took a bath

with a spider.

It was not my intention.

What I had planned

were some bubbles,

a cup of coffee,

leisure and relaxation.

I turned on the faucet,

poured the rich, blue

foam from the pretty jar

and felt like — Cleopatra.

Too late I saw

the little creature

frantically trying

to escape the swirling water.

I could think of no way to save him,

so I just continued with

my morning ritual,

and took my bath with a spider.


Caution: May Contain Peanuts — uh, Breasts. (Reader discretion is advised.)

They’ve been talking about hula hoops on the radio these days. They’ve even planned a big event in town for hula hoop fans to enjoy. I didn’t get to go, but I would have liked to see it. Kids played with them when I was young, but I was never able to do it successfully. Can you? They provide great exercise and I have a dear friend who uses one for that purpose. She can do it very well and I’m impressed. However, a hula hoop is not the only thing I never mastered.

Most children can do it, but I couldn't

Most children can do it, but I couldn’t

Some young people have admirable aspirations. They want to be astronauts, artists or writers. Some aspire to making changes in the world for the benefit of all mankind, like finding a cure for a terrible disease. But, there are also people like the beautiful Esther who was in my exercise class — and me.

Who would have thought that when the oh-so sophisticated Esther was young, this soft-spoken, attractive woman would have desperately wanted to learn how to juggle. She confessed that although she practiced

Beautiful Esther always wanted to be able to juggle

Beautiful Esther always wanted to be able to juggle

again and again, much to  her despair, she never became proficient at it. I found it somewhat amusing that she would have spent so much time and energy wanting to learn how to juggle. What’s so special about that, I wondered — until I remembered my own fruitless efforts with the tassel thing.

Two of us had traveled from Montreal, where we lived, to Syracuse, N.Y., to spend a weekend with a friend whose family had recently moved there. Our friend arranged dates for us for Saturday night and we all went out together. The young men thought it would be fun to take the visiting Canadian innocents to a strip-tease show. I was only 17, but they didn’t know that — I liked to think I looked older.

I had never seen anything like it in my life, nor have I seen one since. Strip shows probably existed in the Montreal of my youth, but no one I knew ever went to one — or if they did, they never told me. You can imagine how intrigued I was with the goings-on onstage. I stared. I gawked. I was stunned. The young man who was my “date” was thoroughly amused and spent more time watching me than watching the show.

The very famous Gypsy Rose Lee. Even I had heard of her

The very famous Gypsy Rose Lee. Even I had heard of her

Stripper Evita Mansfield,  tassels and all

Stripper Evita Mansfield, tassels and all


“You can close your mouth now,” I recall him telling me with a satisfied grin on his face. It was true. My chin had dropped of its own volition; I wasn’t even aware of it. Nor did I care. The

three young men were just delighted. They felt they had come up with a winner for the

evening — and they had. For them it was a hoot, and I was too amazed at what I was seeing to care that they were laughing at me. Besides, they were good-humoured about it and not insulting.

It wasn’t the strippers dancing and taking off some clothes that fascinated me so much — I thought anybody with rhythm could do that. Also, they didn’t really take everything off anyway. It was the gal with the tassels. The tassels were attached to her pasties (Now, how in the world do those stay on?) and she made the tassels turn in the same direction in time to the music, and then in the opposite direction. To my astonishment, that wasn’t all, she was also able to make the tassels turn in different directions at the same time! Can you do that?

We could hardly wait to give it a try. As soon as the two of us got back to our hotel room, we tore our clothes off, threw them wherever they fell — to see if we could. What a sight! We stood bare-chested in front of the floor-to-ceiling mirror, and tried — and tried and tried again. Well, I’m here to tell you it isn’t that easy!

We worked hard. We wiggled, we jiggled, and manipulated our shoulders. We tried bending this way and that, then bent right over thinking maybe that’s how to begin to learn how. We stood there like two idiots turning every which way without success. Can you just picture it? It was so hilarious and we looked so ridiculously silly, we could not help but howl with laughter.

Illustration of successful twirling of tassels?

Illustration of successful twirling of tassels?

Watching ourselves was uproariously funny.

It was well after midnight, but we were young and having so much fun, we didn’t pay attention to the time. We made so much noise with our giggling and laughter, we disturbed our poor neighbors. Someone in the room below started banging on the ceiling in an attempt to get us to quieten down. It was difficult to stifle our laughter, but we had to reluctantly give up and crawl into bed — still giggling, two absolute failures. Perhaps if we had persisted…..

Although I never saw another strip-tease show, through the years I have tried again now and then to do the tassel thing — always without success. It is one of the great disappointments of my life.