It’s 6:30 in the morning and my eyes are gluey. As I swing open the back screen door to go free the chickens and shut up the roosters, I hear a sound of tearing silk threads – that surprisingly audible rip – the one that says you have just walked through a spiders web. Curious, once through the doorway, I turn around to look to see the home I inadvertently destroyed.
Instead I see her. She is directly above the middle of the door – black with a brilliant stripe of red – as militant looking as Hell’s Angels but tiny and silent. I utter a fervent “Holy Shit!” and then, after a second of staring, continue on to the chicken yard, not yet sure what I will do next.
It’s a threatening morning, warm but windy with a sulky western sky. The chooks scuttle out without much comment and today the puppy lets them go unexploded. I pin their yard gate open knowing I have to face her now.
I carefully open the screen door but she’s not there. That’s even worse! What now? I stand there for long seconds straining my eyes into the cracks and crevices around the door. Just then she appears, wobbling out along an invisible line. The movement is horrendous and my body shivers involuntarily. I pride myself on not being a squealer and no sound comes out. But I know I can’t walk under that poisonous red & black Christmas berry. And anyway… what about the kids?
Instead, I go around the side of the house and open the gate. Puppy does his customary jubilant leap up the few steps to the garden. I swing hard right and head for our bedroom window which (thanks to the warmer weather) is open. I call to P “There’s a red back above the back door! I don’t know what to do!” I don’t quite hear his reply.
P knows I’m not much good at killing things. Not even things that can kill me. As I head back to the door, I imagine him dislodging the cat who is snuggled onto his shoulder and swinging his legs over the bed.
He appears in the kitchen and brings over a chair and a shoe. I hold the screen door open and turn my back. Like the spider, he is silent but deadly. I don’t hear the end. I don’t feel good about it.
We still haven’t decided how to deal with our two noisy roosters who haven’t sold and won’t be quiet and who scare our kids with their spurs.
“Grow up!” I tell myself. “You eat chicken!” Huh. And you are chicken. Ironic.