Spiders in Space

Part of my domestic duties as a father involved spacing spiders.

Not Daddy-Long-Legs. In time I learned they were harmless (they were a deterrent to other spiders). Like Jupiter and most comets. So left them to orbit just as they pleased.

Photo by Filipe Resmini on Unsplash

Nope. The other breed. Huntsmans: the definitive scary out of this world Aliens versus Predator monster spider.

Long legs. Hairy. Bigger than your hand. Same dimensions as The Thing from Outer Space.

brown spider on web in close up photography
Photo by Florian Schmetz on Unsplash

And my weapon of choice: the kiddies Bug-Catcher. Which actually resembled a space station.

It was topped by a removable plastic lid which served as a dock. Underneath was a plastic cylindrical neck which served as a crawl tube. Underneath that was the spacious oxygenated solar powered arachnid astronaut living module.

At the bottom, in case of disaster was a removable plastic lid that served as a space lifeboat (only required in case of emergency re-entry).

Purely designed for catching, keeping and releasing creepy crawly terranauts. Not big Aliens 2 space monster huntsman spiders.

The alternative of course was using fly spray. Nobody does nukes in space anymore, do they? But the fly spray would leave me gasping for breath which is the same as what happens just after seeing the thermonuclear flash.

Besides the spiders knew what was coming. And reoriented their trajectory accordingly.

First I would slowly, quietly and unobtrusively approach the spider. And convince myself that I was spacewalking in a weightless vacuum. Yeah right.

Easier said than executed. Usually they were three quarters up a wall (equivalent to the Karman line). And at that height my shadow falling, chair or ladder scraping was enough to make them scuttle and disappear. I thought that nobody could see or hear you fall upwards let alone scream in space. I was wrong.

spider web in close up photography
Photo by Olivier Darbonville on Unsplash

Until said spider settled in another semi inaccessible location (the Andromeda galaxy) this would require the chair or ladder to undergo a trajectory redirection. By now in exasperation you’d really be wanting nukes in space. But I was dedicated. So I kept playing spider galaxy quest.

I’d remove the top lid air lock (or bottom one depending upon size) and dock the bug catcher over the spider. And wait. Sometimes they needed encouragement. A tap on the outer lock door might just be enough. Just like astronauts coming back from their first space walk. Yeah right.

All I then had to do was tip the bug catcher up, slide on the lid and seal it shut. Yes perform an adjustment burn whilst slamming the air lock shut at the same time. Just like Buck Rogers.

Usually more often than not they’d escape. And yes rarely I would spray them. Or I’d wield my left shoe. Attempt an asteroid impact. And usually I missed. Which meant Earth stays safe yet again. Just like the movies.

NASA astronaut performs extravehicular activity
Photo by NASA on Unsplash

Then followed the spacewalk. Also known as catch and release. I’d open a window. Next I’d open the bug catcher from the bottom. Now that the secondary air lock was opened, the spider would automatically return to outer space.

Unless said spider escaped. That would be because the orbital window had closed too quickly. Which meant said spider had successfully performed a re-entry. Leaving me with the only alternative. The shoe. Asteroid impact successful. Just like that movie, where everybody dies.

Until that fell day arrived. Either the bug catcher was too small, the spider too big or the huntsman hunter way too scared. That’s when I escalated. I used a lunchbox. Moon shot.

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