Out to clean the gazebo.

Sweep the screens and with a stick, swipe away the five spider egg sacs clinging to the underside of the eaves.

On a chair’s mesh seat, a spider rests. Whoa is that alive? The diameter of its leg span has got to be three inches. Bump the chair. Note it’s a stiff corpse.

Run into the house. Grab a see-through plastic container, and a cardboard ad from a stack of mail.

Return to the gazebo. Tip the mouth of the container onto the chair, over the spider and slide the postcard under the rim. Flip it all over. Voila. One very dead creepy carcass, preserved for mischief.

Our adult kids are visiting soon.

Place the eerie arachnid on my 31-year-old son Luke’s nightstand near the lamp-cord switch.

Tell my other son, Adam, and daughter-in-law.

Await reaction.


Next day. Steal into Luke’s bedroom to assess the situation. Determine the scary crawler needs to be closer to the bed. Move it slightly.

Still, no reaction.

Watch husband, John, place soft, smooshy, fake gray rat under same son’s pillow.

At breakfast – nada, zip.

Confront son, “C’mon you must have seen the spider and felt the rat!”

“You guys are too much. I just want a comfortable night’s sleep. Is that too much to ask?”

“Where’s the spider now?”

“In the trashcan where it belongs.”

“Damn. So unrewarding.”

Kids go home. Days pass. In the bathroom before bed, I decide to use one of my facial scrubs, pick up the jar, open the lid, and scream bloody murder. Yup, there’s the spider sitting on a white pad in all its freakiness. Way to go Luke! It’s called karma, and “a good-get.”

One thought on “The Life of a Dead Spider by Beckie O’Neill

  1. Reminds me of the tricks members of families play on one another. I used to unscrew the handle on top of a sugar container and return the unconnected handle to its customary place. My mother would go to get a spoon of sugar — often after I was gone — and shake her head that I was still doing that trick after all these years. And where did John get a dead rat? Just asking…

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