Sometimes reality is just so much dern better than anything you can come up with on your own … I swear.
Yes, this is a true story. This happened this summer at our writer’s retreat.
This is what I would consider a very un-edited first draft. I just wanted to get the story down, so please forgive the blatant tell and other errors. I’m just writing this for the fun of telling this story… and it’s a good one.
So, it’s like this… We’d been in the car for six hours, driving out into the middle of East Jabit in the country for a nice, quiet Writer’s Retreat. We get to the house at 1:30 in the morning, and we call the girl in the other car to find out where the key is. Now, this wouldn’t be all that big a deal, but she is several hours behind us, and no one wants to sit on a porch for two hours at that time of night.
Keep this in mind. We NEED to find this key.
Anyway… She says finding it will be easy breezy. There are four grates in the center of the gazebo. Pick up the one on the right, and the key is in the far back corner under the right hand side hanging on a nail. No problem, right?
Well, it wouldn’t be a story if it was all that easy, would it?
Now remember…we are out in the middle of the country. We were warned about bears and other little critters. We were warned that we might have to fight through giant spiders to get to the door… and it is PITCH BLACK.
We didn’t hear any growling, so we were feeling safe that we wouldn’t be eaten. I’d forgotten about the spiders until I leaned down to pick up the grate. Let me tell you, a giant spider can make one heck of a big web… and it doesn’t feel all too good when one wraps around your face.
I backed up, and decided to be a good girl and wait for Krista to bring the flashlight.
So, we got the grate up, and shined the flashlight into the deep scary pit of despair.
Ya gotta be kidding me.
We took off the second grate, and the third. No key. Ugh.
We whipped out the cell phones, using them as lights. Everyone is holding the lights two feet or more from this massive hole in the floor of the gazebo. A four foot drop loomed below.
I finally realized that no one was going to stick their hands in this freaking hole. So I look on the right hand side, where the key is supposed to be, and there is a huge thick spider web covering the right corner.
Must be under there, I thought.
Marie volunteered to go find a stick to clear away the webs. Oh course, she can’t find one. We’re in the woods, and no stick. Go figure.
I found a planter that looked way too healthy for such a hot summer. I grab a flower.
Yes!—fake. I yanked the stem out of the planter (sorry for the vandalism) and used it to clear the spider webs.
You gotta be kidding me.
By now, everyone is keeping far away from this hole. I didn’t know about them, but I was freaking tired. I stuck my head in the hole. Once I was down there, and realized how wide and deep the expanse was beneath the gazebo, I decided sticking my face down first was not the greatest idea.
“I’m going in,” I announced.
I think I heard a “better you than me” mutter.
I held my breath, grabbed on to the sides of the opening, and eased myself in.
Sitting on the damp earth, my eyes just at the level of the flooring, I reached up, and someone handed me a flashlight. Let me tell you something….. Sometimes you are better off NOT KNOWING.
I flashed the light under the crawlspace, and there, inches from my face, was a huge circular web. Its owner, a hairy white spider THE SIZE OF MY HAND stared at me… fangs raised.
I suppressed a screech. “If I pretend it’s not there it will go away,” I whispered.
“Why?” Someone asked. “What’s there?”
“You don’t want to know.”
Realizing that I had just missed the web when I scooted under, I tried hard not to move. I scanned the flashlight around the opening. NO STINKING KEY.
I slowly crawled out of the hole, doing my best not to tick off the tyrannosaurus-rex keeping guard under there. “Guys, there is no key under there.” They pointed their cell phones on me, checking to make sure nothing was crawling on my back, my legs. Eeewwwww!
Another call to the owner gives more direction. “You need to reach underneath, around the corner, and run your fingers across the right hand side until you feel a nail.”
What is this, National Treasure? Mission Impossible? Indiana Jones? Come on!
At this point, I’m the only one who KNOWS what’s down there waiting to eat us. Guess what… it didn’t matter … no one else was volunteering to go near that hole. Hey, I don’t blame them. They now knew I was stupid enough to go down into that dark pit of terror… why should they do it?
“Oh, Alright,” I said.
I leaned down, said a prayer, and started feeling my way along the beam. Tangles of dead bugs decaying in spider webs tickled my fingers… and mind you… I’m feeling my way around inside this hole… I cannot SEE what I’m about to touch. Remember that T-Rex? Gads!
“There is no nail!”
“She says it’s toward the back.” Someone relays from the phone.
Okay, spidey. Just let me take the key and I will leave you alone.
I punched my hand through the gads of sticky, nasty old dead bug-carcass webbing and reached the back panel. I ran my fingertips through bumps and snags of God knows what.
Boom. I hit something metal. “I found the nail!” I walked my fingertips further in, my shoulder now completely enveloped in the hole…
with the T-Rex…
in the dark.
Something made a delightful tinkling noise… the keys!
“I got it!”
I jumped up, grasping the magical prize in my hand, and ran to the front of the house. I ducked under a four-foot round spider web to get to the keyhole.
Inside, I turned on the lights, and the girls graciously gathered around me, picking off all the nastiness that I just didn’t want to know about.
Whew. We were in.
We moved quickly, unpacking the car and choosing beds. I didn’t care which bed. I just wanted to sleep.
Krista walked into the kitchen, and flipped up the handle on the faucet.
“Umm,” she says, “where’s the water?”
You gotta be kidding me. The knob to turn the water on is WHERE?
I swear I felt things crawling up my back as I read this! You are one brave lady! 🙂
If I EVER need to go into a dark hole, looking for ANYthing, I’ll know who to call: Spider-Buster-Jennifer. UGH! You’re brave. I’m impressed to the max. Zowie.
Not really afraid of bugs
Never seen ones this big though
YOu always have the best titles, lol, crazy lady!
I would have claimed a spot back in the car and stayed there until someone else unlocked the place! I could never star in my own Arachnophobia movie!
You are one brave soul! I would have had nightmares about that scare beast after that. No thank you. But what great stock for your writer’s experience bank. 🙂 Hope the rest of the weekend went well after you found the knob for the water. LOL. 🙂
I definitely know how to describe the feel of spiderwebs now. Icky!
Oh hell no! My skin is crawling just reading about it. Yuck!
You’re far braver than me, I’ll tell you that.
Ha! One day your kids will need help and you’ll go into a hole like that it’s a mom thing.
Good gracious–after all that it’s a wonder you could focus enough to get any writing done.
It was actually a really good writers weekend. I got a lot of work done. Thank goodness there were no bugs in the house!
OMG, loved this! Too funny. I don’t think I would have gone it the hole. You’re such a daredevil! 🙂
I was just really tired and I really really really really wanted to go to bed.
Jen, I was laughing so hard when reading this. It brought back pleasant memories of the retreat. And for all Jen’s followers, I want you to know that she is not exaggerating about the size of those spiders. One spider whipped out a cook book on how to saute humans.
And there was another one with a t shirt that said “make my day,” an then you ran into the graveyard after being chased by the bull…
I did warn you about the spiders…and to bring a flashlight 🙂
Ha! I forgot about the bull and the graveyard. Maybe another day.
I wish I could have gotten some of the pictures out of my phone!
Hey you didn’t tell me about the cookbook!
good one jenn. great setup to create that ending. i also loved the “easy breezy.” my daughter n law told me over the weekend about a white spido in her van. i’ve never seen one yet.
Lara Croft, eat your heart out!
OMG, Jennifer you are so brave! ARGH, I am arachnophobic, this freaked me out just reading it – plus I almost fell off my chair laughing, LOL! T-Rex spiders, that is just too hilarious … and scary! You’re right, reality can sometimes be so much more … fascinating … than fiction! OMG, lol. 😀
Not brave just tired and fed up.