Monday, May 21, 2018

A Learning Experience by Katherine Pym


Daddy long-legs cluster

My primary time frame is 17th century London. It’s difficult to write of it and not go textbook, something I hated as a kid in school. What I’ve learned over my career is to fill a story that resonates with human interest. History does not change, only the names and circumstances, although even then, too much of the past rings the same in the present these days.

But I digress.

Take idiocy as a human interest story. Most people don’t like to admit to this, but it happens on an almost daily basis. Husband and I had one of those occasions this last week.

Close Look at Cluster
We have daddy-longlegs spiders. Lots of them. Hundreds of them, maybe a thousand (kidding, but not far from). They don’t build cobwebs of gossamer that spread across the house façade as if we were in a terrible fairy tale. No, they cluster in the eaves above our sliding glass door. They foul the clapboard with their poop, fall on our heads as we come and go. It’s creepy and annoying. We can’t sit on the patio because of them. People from miles around hear my screams, night and day as I take our pup out for her potty rituals.

Last week, Husband wearied of my constant screeches, my jumping about and shaking the bugs from my hair and down my collar. He marched outside and grabbed the garden hose. Like a soldier ready to forge into battle, he sprayed the spider clusters with steady jets of water.

They plopped like giant, wet shaggy balls onto our patio and lay there stunned. In an angry zest of nature, they freaked out, separated into thousands of crawly things with unnatural long legs. They ran up the wall, the sliding glass doors on both sides of the screen, stalked into a window corner and stayed there. Now, no one could come or go at all. Should we open the slider, an arachnid cluster would scurry into our house.

On that note, many did find their way into our house, (I know not how because it is a tightly built structure), and settled on the walls of our bedroom. Outside, the entire wall was covered with them, all vibrating up and down as if in a macabre dance.

Macabre dance all over our wall
As the days blurred by, they took to their clusters again, but not just one gigantic one. In their mindless fervor for revenge, several clusters evolved, from over the sliding glass door and down the underside of the eaves of our house and patio.

Now, we’ll have poop paths that run the full backside of our house.


As a human interest story, I hope you felt what I felt, panicked when I did. That’s what I learned from years of writing. Don’t tell these things. Show them so that the reader stands with you, witnesses the horrific skin crawling insect moments that I did.

PS… No spiders were harmed in the telling of this tale. 



Many thanks to Wikicommons, public domain.


  1. Hilarious and creepy. When I was six we visited my great aunt and uncle on their farm in Arkansas. I picked up something and beneath was a bright orange spider with the longest legs. I screeched, my brother wanted to play with it. My uncle laughed and said, "It's a Daddy Longlegs." I'll never forget those endless legs.

    1. They are long, aren't they? Light to the touch, bouncing when alarmed. A lovely play thing. :D

  2. Replies
    1. And now we found them clustered in a corner of the front door, spiders falling onto the threshold. We're prisoners in our own home. Eeeek!

  3. Good grief! We get them here, they like to come inside and are harmless, but only one or two thank heavens. Well told, Kathy!

    1. Thanks so much Maggi. They are harmless but I must say I do not do well with SWARMS. Eeek.

  4. Hee hee, great atmospheric post! I have two rooms that resemble Miss Haversham's (Bleak House), and the attics are a nightmare.

    1. I think I'd have a hard time going in those rooms, Francine. Too creepy by far. And the ghosts. What about the ghosts who couldn't move on after the ECWs, the restrictive Georgian times. Worse methinks.

  5. I don't envy you the spiders but a very good analogy. Your new book looks intriguing.