Fright Night: The Arachnid Anglers
We were ready to settle in after a long day’s journey. I had picked up my brother Tom at the Dallas-Ft. Worth airport after his plane had arrived and then made the drive to Emory, Texas, for our stay at the Lake Fork Lodge. “Let’s go to the restaurant, have a burger and a couple of beers, and try and get some sleep before we fish one of the best bass factories in America,” I suggested.
Lake Fork is one of the premier largemouth bass fisheries in the world where catching a double-digit bucketmouth is a common occurrence. Japanese sportsman travel half way around the world to fish these waters and I was lucky enough to have the lake located less than two hours from my home. Tom and I made it point to fish Fork for a week at least once a year, with visions of “state record” dancing in our heads. (Lake record: eighteen-plus pounds.) Our sabbatical was about to begin but before we retired, we would break bread, drink beer, and trade fish stories.
We made our way down to the restaurant which was decorated with many of the huge bass that had been caught at Fork. Many of these fish were so big that they could inhale a duck. We stared in awe at the decorated walls as we did every year between sips of beer. “Let’s get back to the room and watch the basketball game,” I said. “We need to wind down and try to get some rest before tomorrow.”
I paid the bill and we walked back to our room in the pitch black darkness of East Texas. Entering the room, I turned on the lights, put on my sweats, and flipped on the Dallas Mavericks game. Both of us sat back on our twin beds with a pillow behind our heads and finally began to relax. “Turn off those lights,” Tom said, “so that we can try to get sleepy.” I flipped off the lights and my eyes began to become weary. I was just getting ready to nod when I noticed something odd on the television screen. “What’s that big black mark in the middle of the picture?” I asked my brother.
“I don’t know, but it’s screwing the game up ─ I can’t tell what’s going on.”
“Either that spot is moving or I am hallucinating,” I said.
“That’s weird; it does seem to be moving,” Tom concurred.
“Get up and fix that ─ the game is just starting to get good.”
“You get up and fix it; I was just getting comfortable,” he said.
“C’mon, give me a break. I have been driving all day.”
“All right, you big baby; but you’re turning the set off when we go to sleep.”
When Tom got up and approached the television the black spot jumped off the screen. “AAEEEEEEEY!” he screamed. “WHAT IN- THE- HELL IS THAT?”
I jumped out of the bed. “Where did it go?”
“It ran under my bed.”
“Where’s the flashlight? “I asked.
“It’s over there on the desk.”
“Give me that, you little weenie.”
I took the flashlight and peered under the bed. The critter’s red eyes were glowing in the dark and we had an arachnicide face-off: Who would blink first? “AAEEEEEEEY,” I screamed, as a gargantuan, black, hairy tarantula scampered away into the dark recesses of the room.
“What the hell is that?” my brother asked.
“It’s a friggin’ tarantula.”
“You got to be shittin’ me.”
“Where did it go?”
“It ran away.”
“What do you mean it ran away ─ it’s not a friggin’ coyote; we got to get that thing.”
“Get the other flashlight and we’ll find it,” I said.
We searched high and low but found no spider. “It’s almost two in the morning,” I said. “We need to get some sleep.”
“I’m not going to sleep with that thing in the room ─ we need to kill that hairy bastard,” Tom said.
“That spider can’t hurt you; just go to sleep.”
“You go to sleep,” he said. “Could you image falling asleep and then waking up with that thing on your face?”
“You got a point there; let’s take another look.”
Just as I peeked under the bed again, I heard Tom scream, “There it is!”
“Where?” I asked, jumping up from the floor.
“It’s on the wall,” he said, while pointing to the back of the room.
“Throw me my boot; we’ll see how that sucker likes a mouthful of Timberline.”
I took the boot and slowly crept up on the monstrous arachnid. “Your days are done Bonzo,” I said to myself as I cocked my arm back, ready to deliver the death blow. I coiled up and delivered a direct hammer-like jolt to the spider, which dropped it to the floor motionless. “Now we can sleep,” I said. “Throw that thing out.”
“You throw that thing out. I’m not touching it; besides, it’s your turn”.
“All right ─ give me that piece of paper and I’ll pick him up,” I said.
I approached the spider and reached down to sweep him up, when the eight-legger jumped up and ran back under the bed. “AAEEEEEEEY,” I screamed, “that sucker was playing possum ─ it’s like that creature from the movie, The Thing.”
“How can that be?” my brother asked, “that boot-shot would have knocked Mike Tyson out.”
We did another exhaustive search and came up empty. “It’s almost four o’clock in the morning,” I said, “Let’s get some rest ─ the sun will be rising soon.”
Sitting with our backs to the wall on our beds, we both sat wide-eyed until dawn.
“I’m going to take a hot shower,” Tom said. “Nothing is going to keep me from fishing today.”
“Go ahead; I’ll get the gear together.”
Tom went into the bathroom, closed the door, and turned on the water in the shower stall. I was gathering up the tackle when I heard a blood curdling scream reminiscent of the shower scene call in Pyscho. “AAEEEEEEEY!”
I guess Tom found the spider.
From G.O. Fishin': Tall Tales from the Tackle Box
Available at Amazon.com/books/garyocallaghan