The following is a excerpt from one of the chapters in a book I'm writing about my life events. This one takes place in Costa Rica and involves an uninvited guest.
After checking in and downing our welcome cocktail, we were escorted to a beautiful room high on a cliff overlooking an endless ocean. It was stunning. The rooms are all separate and connected by a wooden walkway. I immediately put my survival package of M&M’s in the safe. I had a fear that chocolate may not be readily available and decided at the last minute to purchase my fix from the airport in advance. After acclimating us to our room and the resort, Jaffit, our bellman or as I like to call him, my Sherpa, made certain we knew one of the resort’s most important rules-don’t leave the lights on at night for very long. “You see, bugs are attracted to the light and because of their natural curiosity may find their way into your room.” With that he bid us a farewell and we were on our own.
We enjoyed our first afternoon in paradise by relaxing on the balcony. I began a great book while Anthony started work on his watercolor.
Before we knew it, it was time for dinner. Before leaving the room, I wanted to create a little mood lighting for when we returned. This is something I always do, I think it’s nice to come home to a warm, welcoming place, especially in the middle of the jungle. There was a dim light about three feet above the bed that was angled toward the ceiling. It was perfect, just enough glow so we could see when we come back, and not too much to attract bugs. Satisfied by my lighting design, we made the journey to the dining room.
The walk to dinner was romantic. The sun was just starting to set and with the ocean on one side and the rain forest noises on the other, I was really starting to love it here. The dining room was a large, open air cabana that had just enough seating for all the guests. The best part was that they let us sit by ourselves. Another concern conquered. I hate when I’m forced to eat with people I don’t know. The food was much better than I expected, the drinks were strong and the wait staff was very friendly. This was going to be a great week.
When we finished our after-dinner drink, we began the stroll back to the room. “Boy, I’m glad I left that light on”, I said “it sure did get dark”. I mean darker than dark. You couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. Part of our pre-trip planning was to bring these “headlights”. They sort of looked like those lights that minors strap on their forehead so you can have the advantage of both seeing in the dark and the use of both hands. Perfect for mining or in my case fighting off dangerous animals.
We were both exhausted from the long day of traveling, the shaman incident, and our cocktails. The bed sounded so inviting. As we were both getting ready for bed I don’t know what possessed me to look up, but I’m sure glad I did. The fact I didn’t faint is beyond me, because the “bug” I saw attracted to my mood light was a spider the size of my hand-and that was just his body! His eight furry legs were about four inches long and I could literally see him catching little gnats and devouring them RIGHT ABOVE MY BED! “Ahhh, ahhh, ahhh, I, ahhh, think we have a problem” was all I could muster. With a shaky point of my finger I guided Anthony’s eyes up to this hideous monster. I admit, from time to time, I can over-react, but not this time. Anthony just said “oh no, that is not acceptable”. We quickly put our headlights back on and walked briskly down the path that now didn’t seem nearly as romantic. The charming sounds of the rain forest from earlier now sounded like background music from The Omen and the ocean now resembled nothing but a black hole ready to swallow us up. When we finally arrived back at the Dining Room, we paused. This was our first night, we did leave a light on after being warned not to, and we were in the middle of the rain forest. “Let’s not make ourselves look too sissy-ish”, Anthony said, “let’s gather our senses and be calm”.
The only two people left were my Sherpa, Jaffat and another guy. “Hi, Jaffat, you know, we really should have taken your advice about that whole ‘don’t leave a light on thing’, but we thought what could one little light hurt”. He immediately knew what was going on and said, “you have a visitor?” “More like an evil, uninvited guest” I replied. With that, he could tell by our drenched foreheads and quivering voices that he needed to come to our room and check things out. He grabbed a broom, which I knew wouldn’t be sufficient. “You may need something bigger than that” I said, “like a gun”. He dismissed my attempt at Sherpa humor with a laugh and shrug of his shoulders.
Arriving back at the room with our savior, I had this horrible thought, “what if the spider wasn’t there”. It would be like in the movies when the bad guy gets killed and when the hero returns, his body is missing. You know he’s still alive and he’s going to make a surprise attack.
As Jaffat opened our door and bravely entered first, I whispered “up there”. I don’t know why I whispered, it’s not like the spider from Hell can understand English. Our hero slowly walked toward the thing that I swear had gotten even bigger from our first encounter. He examined it for what seemed an eternity until Anthony finally said “Well?” Jaffat’s only determination was “not good, not bad” Whatever that meant, I told him he wasn’t leaving until this “not good not bad” creature with multiple eyes and legs was destroyed. The Super Sherpa took one fall swoop with his weapon and knocked this animal to the ground. He then said “good night”. WHAT? This thing was somewhere on the ground behind my headboard. I wanted evidence that it was dead because if it wasn’t, it was now really mad and I knew it would demand revenge. Jaffat took his broom and swept the carcass out from under the bed and across the floor. “Oh, look”, he said, “the unts are doing their job”. “Unts?” I questioned, as I turned to see what he meant. These unts were actually ants that apparently were hiding in the walls, watching and waiting for the American tourists have their Sherpa kill the grotesque, man eating insect, so they could have their meal.
As soon as Jaffat left, I somehow leaped into bed without touching the floor, grabbed the once charming mosquito net and wrapped it around my body so tight, I was slowly mummifying myself.
When the sun finally came up in what seemed like a decade, we both looked over at where we last saw the spider. It was gone. It seems the unts did indeed do their job.