Santa’s Little Helpers

The kids were anxious to get the show on the road. They’d waited all year for Christmas to come back around, and they were nagging about all things Christmas. “Let’s hang the stockings!” they shouted. “Put a wreath on the door! String up outdoor lights.” They cried. “Let’s get a Christmas tree!” the screeched in union.

“Hold on, hold on.” I said, making a patting gesture with my hands. “You know how this works. We decorate the outside then inside and we don’t get a tree until Christmas is five days away. ”

“Can we get the decorations, Daddy? Pleeeeease!” they begged.

“Ok, we can get the decorations out, but let me do it. They’re all in the garage stacked up with and behind lots of other stuff.”

“Woo!” The yelled and then followed me like lost dogs as I made my way into the garage. I carefully climbed up on stacks of boxes and pulled out the ones marked XMAS and handed them down. The kids would each grab a box and go tearing into the house to stack their box in the living room. Before long, all of the stuff was ready to be opened and inspected. Bad bulbs would be replaced, icicles would be added to and plastic evergreen sprays would be washed off.

I moved on to the lights and turned their box over and dumped them on the floor. The children started screaming and I stood is shock as  hundreds of large brown spiders darted out of the piles of coiled light wires. In three seconds my wife, my children and I were outside, the door slammed behind us. “Holy crap!” I exclaimed. “Where did they all come from?”

“They probably nested in there through the year, breeding and growing.” replied my wife. I stomped back to the garage and searched the shelves for every can of insect and spider killer I could find. Determined to kill them all, I let myself back into the house while the children clung to their mother, wide eyed and fearful for me.

I stepped in the door and was immediately amazaed at how far they’d scattered. There were spiders on the walls, the ceiling, and I could see their shadows moving in the overhead light fixtures. They were perched on all of the furniture. As I stood there taking it all in, a spider dropped from the ceiling and landed on my head. I furiously brushed it off and stomped on it as it tried to skitter away. I aimed my can of poison at a few trying to camouflage themselves in the carpet and was rewarded by a slight drool from the spray nozzle. I dropped that can and grabbed another and again sprayed the carpet spiders. A bright red mist whooshed out of the can and I realized I had grabbed a can of paint in my panicked shelf search for insect spray. “Dammit!” I yelled. Four bright red spiders hot across the room and zipped under the couch.

I went to claim my phone from the kitchen and as I walked there, gingerly stepping and looking for arachnid ambushes, I discovered that I had three spiders on my pants. I jumped up and down, trying to dislodge them. It didn’t work. I grabbed the closest weapon I could get my hands on and began slapping my legs with a spatula, still greasy from breakfast eggs and bacon. I managed to kill the unwanted hitch hikers and grabbed my phone from the counter. A smartphone, I asked it for pest control companies nearby. It listed a few and I tapped the first one in the list.

“A-1 Pest Control.” said a bored voice on the phone.

“I need someone to come right away. I have about a zillion spiders in my house.” I said, breathlessly.

“Ah, they were nesting in the Christmas decorations, right?”

“How did you know?” I asked.

“We get a few of these every season. What kind of spiders are they?” asked the pest guy.

“I have no idea. They’re brown and aggressive. The damn things are attacking me.” I looked down and saw that a few more spiders were trying to ascend my pant legs. I whacked them with a spatula while I shouted some impolite words.

The guy on the phone was laughing now but asked me for my address. I gave it to him and he said he’d be along in fifteen to twenty minutes. Shoving the phone in my pocket I ran from the house through the back door so I wouldn’t have to pass through the infested living room. “The pest control guy is coming right away,” I reassured my family. The children started screaming and pointing at me. My wife’s eyes opened wide and she grabbed the spatula I was still holding from me and began beating me on the back, shoulders and head with it. With each blow an eight legged corpse fell from me. The kids took great delight in stomping on the fallen spiders, making sure that they weren’t just dead, but completely and irrevocably dead.

We stood shivering in the front yard for nearly twenty minutes before the man from A-1 Pest Control arrived. He got out of his van and moved lazily to the back doors, opened them, and pulled out a tank with a hose to a pumper handle. “This is great stuff. It kills them instantly and will kill spiders who walk across it. I don’t even have to spray them directly. You don’t have any pets do you?”

I said no. My daughter explained that we were getting a dog soon, that maybe Santa would bring one. My wife interrupted to say that right at the moment, all she wanted for Christmas was to have the huge population of immigrant spiders eradicated from her house.

Mr. A-1 nodded and then suggested that we might want to go somewhere for a few hours. Once the pray had settled it was okay to be in the house, but so long as it was airborne, it could make us sick. We were about to hop in the car and go visit friends when I realized the car keys were on the hook in the kitchen. Mr. A-1 said he’d go grab them for us. Sliding a respirator into place he stepped into the house. Even with the respirator on him and him being indoors, I heard him say “Holy shit!” A minute later the front door opened and he tossed me the keys. “Man, you have a serious lot of spiders in here!” he said, closing the door again.

We came back at three o’clock in the afternoon, giving the spray five hours to dissipate. With great trepidation, I opened the front door and peered in. There were still a lot of spiders everywhere, but none were on the walls or ceiling. All of them were on the floor, table tops, the fireplace mantle and shelves. They were unmoving.

It took my wife until 9 at night to vacuum up all of the spider corpses. She did the kid’s rooms first so they could watch television or use their computers. At six we sent out for pizza. I spent the time before dinner shoving boxes of decorations into garbage bags -outside, of course. I took the garbage bags into the kitchen and microwaved them for 15 seconds before taking them back outside to inspect them for spiders. I found some, but they were done in by the microwave, which also had a negative effect on some of the decorations. The angel that sat atop the tree had been turned into a hunchback and other plastic goods suffered as well.  The following day we made  a trip out to buy some new decorations.

When the day came to buy a tree, the kids gleefully ran around the lot inspecting the trees. They had it down to a choice of about twenty when my daughter shrieked and ran to me and held my leg. She was shaking and wide eyed. She had discovered a spider in one of the trees she’d looked at. An hour later, we carried our brand new artificial tree into the house to set it up.

These days we pack our decorations carefully sealing the boxes we store them in completely. We also spray them with insect spray before we close them up. It makes for a much merrier Christmas that way.