close up photo of a spider web

Boris The Peeking Spider

I woke up staring at a spider on my wall. It was huge, even by my standards, at least the size of the palm of my hand. I stared at it. It stared at me, high up out of reach on the wall. We observed each other. He – and it was definitely a dude. I swear I saw him cock his back three legs to take a piss- looked legitimately horrified as he saw me get up out of bed. Maybe it was the alarmingly creased face of a woman past her prime which made him startle. I suspect the ‘morning sun when it’s in (my) face really shows (my) age. It is his own fault, he crawled in through my window. I used to have guys crawl outta my window, now just i just creepy crawlies crawl in through it. I will never be anyone’s Maggie May, not even Boris’s. Creep.

I ran to the kitchen to grab a mop, being vertically challenged I would never reach him up there in the furthest corner of the oriel window. Climbing up onto the slippery window seat didn’t feel like the best idea, falling out of an upper story window into the Tenderloin through ancient plate glass was not how I wanted to start my day. So I did what any good feminist would have done: I went and found a man. Poor Boy was sleeping when I shook his shoulder, “Dude! Doood! It is huge, like a tarantula! Come kill it for me! Come on! There has to be benefits to being taller than me now!” He stirred and looked at me blankly. “You need to kill Boris the Spider!” “Ma…Why did you have to name him! Poor little guy…”


He brushed the spider down from the wall with the mop and grabbed him in a tissue, evicting him onto the window ledge. I would much rather he had sent Boris for a dirt nap, but I get it, I dig. Don’t eat animals, don’t kill the spider either. Even if it was being a peeking Boris, leering at me and judging the morning pillow creases on my face.

The Boy went back to bed. I sat on the window seat and stared up the street to the crossing. There was no point in going back to sleep, or even trying to. I made a cup of tea, turned the side lamp on and looked out through my net curtains spying on early morning San Francisco streets. A man was sitting just outside on the curb shooting up, failing to find a vein and inspecting his leg with one trouser leg rolled up. Ain’t it just the way. Old faithful, that he was clearly trying to find and failing to hit, a once big juicy spider leg of a vein now shriveled up and useless. A bit like me. Reduced to digging around his legs on a street corner. Not a great way to start a day.

I used to be a pretty good ‘nurse’ – it is not a bad way of earning a bag here and there, getting a little from people in exchange for helping them when they can’t inject themselves. The girls who insisted on using super fine U50 needles and behaved like scurrying shrill mice, begging for a taste or a bag or a baby baby anything for you baby, disgusted me. They couldn’t even hit themselves, instead would turn away their heads scrunching their eyes shut and making more of a fuss than really is necessary even for the greenest mainlinerina. I don’t know why some people even start on the needle when their reaction to it is somewhat like my reaction to Boris the Spider. I can’t stand spiders. They make me feel kinda sick and weak at the knees. Huge spiders like Boris actually give me The Fear. I go out of my way to avoid them. I guess some people still want the rush of mainlining but that never gets to the Pavlov’s dog situation of salivating when they see a needle that I ended up in. Mainlining unicorns, or else…they don’t really like to get high.

I loved the needle. Forget sex. Ask me if I would rather have some punk boy cutiepie or lean limbed riot grrrl in my bed, or a fresh U100 and a bundle, and somewhere safe to hole up and get high, and I would chose the damn needle every time. Still would given half the chance. Good job that the shit that is out there is creepier than any arachnid. Fentanyl – and it is all fentanyl – is unsurvivable. Death gives me the willies. That cold creep up my back. I have tangled with death enough. I want to live. I didn’t fight this hard to get taken out by fentadope.

Still that spider crawls in through my window and observes me closely, and I still can’t kill it. I can evict it, I can tred down that need, that burning desire, that feeling of mothers milk comfort until it becomes a background hum, a photo on the screen, but still, like that chick from Juon (The Grudge), it comes wetly crawling out of the glass and frame, heading in my direction, limbs akimbo, head swiveling, making a beeline for me with murderous intent. To be frank I just want to get it over and done with, run towards the creepy blackness and stare into the three eyes, throw myself onto the long spindly legs and embrace The End with all the bravery I have left in me. All that nihilistic grudge that I can muster that says ‘life is shit and then you die’.

Like The Meat Puppets sang in Plateau, ‘There’s nothing on top but a bucket and a mop, and an illustrated book about birds…” It is either fly with the Angels, or time to clean up yer act when you reach the top, the pinnacle, the plateau. When you push a drug habit to what you think is the outer limits, to the top of the mountain you leave yourself nowhere to go but down or …up, whatever up means. You don’t need a meat puppet to tell ya, that you have to find out for yourself, anyone who has already smelled the rarified air of a plateau would have no interest in telling another soul how to keep on that high wire, to balance that act, to keep it together and not end up having to pick up that bucket and the mop and start scrubbing a body and soul clean. I used to look for clues to tell me how to proceed in songs and the eyes of those who survived. There is one thing I learned: there is no rhyme or reason to survival, or to functional addiction. Those who have more money and therefore access to clean drugs, and no feast or famine mentality tend to survive. Those whose supply is not of a good quality, who have periods of too much, and periods of nothing at all, or too little, and so binge when they get a decent quantity, tend to not make it.

The most dangerous time for any junkie is after they have kicked down their habit a little and then decide to go get high. Their tolerance has been shot to shit, and their desire is bigger than their ability to survive it. Like a starving man faced with a heavily laden table, they go all out in a heroic binge. And then they die…eventually.

The ‘head outside was cussing quietly. blood running down his leg, and still no joy. Using the wingmirror of the little Honda parked outside, he shot a vein in his neck, didn’t cough up a quaalude, gave that little gasp of success, got that metallic flush, that taste right in the back of your throat of some really good speed travelling through the blood and hitting all the right synapses. Lucky bastard.

The spider tried to crawl back inside my window, tapping on the glass with his little tiny tap dancing shoes, and begging for just a little of my time and the shelter of my window. I let him keep knocking. He can’t come in. Not today.


  1. Time Traveler of Life

    You have an interesting life. I have never seen a spider that big. A trantula, maybe or a what we used to call a “daddy long legs” and I am a total wimp when it comes to insects. I am allergic, to insects. I keep a Epipen close. Wasps are the real bad asses.

  2. rebecca+s+revels

    We get some huge spiders creeping into the house, but my house does sit in the woods so its not unusual. My son doesn’t kill them either, catch and release back into the woods. But, I haven’t named any of them..

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