Birdie’s mailbox was infested. And not just with political advertisements. There was a spider lurking in the back of the box. Not a Charlotte’s Web type of spider, either. An Arachnophobia type spider. The kind of spider that jumped at you and ran toward you. A spider with way too many legs. One with vampire teeth and a harpy’s laugh. One that wore disguises–was black one day and orange the next.
Birdie discovered the unwelcome resident on a day when she had routinely gathered her mail and climbed back into her car. Spidey appeared, crawling out from between the letters on Birdie’s lap. Fortunately, Birdie hadn’t yet closed the door of the car, so she jumped out, scattering the mail on the ground and allowing Spidey to escape and retain possession of the mailbox.
Birdie didn’t know why she hadn’t sprayed something in the box to exterminate Spidey. Probably because she never thought about Spidey until she was reaching in to retrieve the mail. Birdie always pulled down the lid and peered in as if she might be able to see Spidey lurking in the back of the box. But Spidey was really good at blending into the background, so Birdie had to pull out each piece of mail, one at a time, and beat it against the mailbox to dislodge whatever might be creeping among the day’s correspondence. It looked like some strange ritual. “Thrashing the mail to exorcise bad news.”
One day, Spidey took the offensive and rushed at Birdie when she opened the box, running toward her on the open lid. Birdie was able to knock Spidey to the ground, where she disappeared into the gravel and leaves below. This time Spidey was orange. She’d always been black before. Perhaps Birdie had interrupted a disastrous hair coloring experiment, and Spidey was in a bad humor. Or maybe it was a different spider altogether. Whatever it was, a bad hair day or a visit from Spidey’s aggressive Aunt Velda, it was scary. There’s nothing like a territorial orange spider to get your adrenaline pumping. So far, none of Birdie’s mail had been worth it.