Tag Archives: brown recluse

I’m Ninth on the List for a Crotch Transplant

15 Nov

My alma mater was notorious for horny pinup girls and American football worship. A decade ago I graduated from a college in a state known as the penis of America. Shortly thereafter I felt the need to detox in a solitary and profound way, so I decided to live in the unfinished basement of a Midwestern duplex. My family begged me not to do it, they knew how intensely boring middle-America was and thought it might be contagious. Despite their concerns, I was very happy with my decision as I had the basement all to myself–except for a water heater that I festooned in tin foil to make it look like one of the robots from the vintage Battle Star Galactica.

“I’m leaking retromutagen ooze!”

The basement wasn’t quite as nice as my college apartment, which overlooked a swimming pool filled with buxom, unattainable coeds, but it cost me $200 dollars a month and included my very own phone-booth sized bathroom/standup shower, a laundry room about three steps from my door (rarely used), and a full kitchenette just upstairs. The allegorical symbolism of living in an unfinished basement perfectly represented my humble station in life at that time. A subterranean dwelling made sense. It served as a reminder of how much work I had to do if I hoped to live above ground one day on the steam of my own lower-middle-management salary. It was a time when the future was as vast as any distant galaxy and as promising as any hair-brained idea hatched while chugging a bottle of bottom-shelf mescal.

Late one night after a shift as a saucier at the local BBQ shack, I sought refuge on a plaid recliner in front of the tube, which was playing (on a loop) a suggestive infomercial about a high-suction hand-held vacuum. Pondering a late night phone purchase, I sipped water from an over-sized Hurricane glass that I stole from the local TGIF. After deciding I needed some rest, I tried to take one last sip from the Hurricane glass, but stopped short when I felt a small bug tap dancing on the tip of my tongue. Though not fully awake above the waist, I spit the water back into the glass. I then placed it on the windowsill next to the recliner before stumbling down the steps into the darkness, tripping over my own feet and cursing the fact that I had to work late into the night as an apprentice saucier in a neighborhood where elderly church-going women packed heat whenever they left their homes. That night I muttered in my sleep about quitting my job at the BBQ shack, and opening a pool hall/bordello in the basement.

“Hey, break it up! I’m not paying you ladies to play pool.”

In the morning I heard the effeminate cries of one of my neat freak roommates upstairs, “Who left their glass on the sill? Not cool, man. How about showing some consideration for others!” I recoiled into my dreams of wearing a top hat while being the most pleasured john in my own basement bordello, but knew I had to clear up my mess in the living room if I was to keep the precarious peace in our duplex chateau. Upstairs I examined the Hurricane glass in the sunlight and saw a small brown spider suspended in the water, tumbling end-over-end. I watched it spin like a slot machine reel, exposing the yellow violin shaped mark on its belly again and again. I waited a few minutes until the crying roommate left for work, then went to use his computer–he had banned me from doing so earlier that week because I had spilled an entire can of corn onto his keyboard. My suspicions about the spider were confirmed on Altavista (it was 2002 after all).

Though the Midwest is home to many arachnids, one of the region’s most feared and poisonous is the brown recluse–easily identifiable because of its color and the violin like birth mark. This attic and basement dweller had enough venom to kill children and the elderly. Just a year before, when moving into my last college apartment, a one-footed painter was putting the finishing touches on my room, “I got bit by a brown recluse,” he said scratching his mullet, “If they didn’t take the foot, it would’ve spread to my leg and I would have lost that too!” An online gallery showed pics that looked less like spider bites and more like the festering sores of those who had been mauled by a zombie. Huge, flesh rotting bites! Disgusting necrosis fused lesions!

“Doctor, am I going to have to skip Tough Mudder this year?”

I thought of the painter’s amputated foot, and wondered if I would still be a prize among women and a chum among men if I was missing my chin and tongue. What if the little recluse had bit my esophagus on the way down? Might I have had a neck amputation or better yet, a neck transplant? How long would it take to see the light of day on one of those transplant lists? What if it had bit my hand as I took hold of the glass? Would I have ended up with a hook, or one of those over-sized wooden hands with non-pliable fingers? I probably would have opted for birch or cotton wood if that was the case. A Terminator hand would have been out of the question as the BBQ shack only provided a PPO. Looking back on that night I’m not sure I realized at the time how close I had come to serious disfigurement. Later that week, before jumping into my murphy bed, I shook out my sheets and another recluse fell to the floor and scurried off into the shadows. Naturally, I assumed this one had been sent on a revenge mission to bite my crotch. Again, a narrow escape! Life as a eunuch would have been unpleasant. There are really very few harems to guard in the western world, and I heard those that are hiring may be going to a voucher system for their healthcare benefits, making success unlikely buried at the bottom of a crotch transplant list.

“You would look much better without a left hand, or with only half a face. I can help you with that.”