The Tarantula Story

by Lil Red about a month ago in humanity

or, How To Really Piss Me Off

The Tarantula Story
Texas Tarantula (Aphonopelma hentzi)

I met my future ole biker dude in late 2010, and we hit it off really well. Soon we decided we’d meet each other’s friends, journey around the countryside on his bike and see where things would lead. In July 2011 we rode his Harley out to a place called Rolling Thunder Bar and Grill, a biker hangout south of Fluvanna, Texas, planning to camp out for the weekend with a couple of his friends I’d only met once before ..… Rolling Thunder is a pretty cool old place, way out in the middle of nowhere, in a wild-ish desert scrub landscape. It’s a nice little ride getting there, especially if you meander along the Caprock.

They have a great outside Pavilion with live bands, good ones, every Saturday night, a cool and inviting pool, with campsites available for 10 bucks with a delicious free breakfast to boot! Clean restrooms and showers are close at hand and the sky… well you just can’t beat the starshine! Just about Biker Heaven!

However…. There are creatures that dwell out in the desert scrub...snakes, lizards, spiders, scorpions and all manner of creepy, crawly bugs… so be aware. I like photographing critters and bugs so I’m cool with them, as long as they aren’t in the tent with me *shudder*. _Over there_ works just fine for me…

So anyway… we get to Rolling Thunder, the old biker dude and I, along with his friends that he had known for a while but whom I’d just met once before- Bob, a big guy with a ready smile,(he’s about 6’5”. I’m 5’ nothing, btw) a former LEO, Colorado Mountain Hunter and Guide, Canine Trainer, and Harley rider, and his pretty arm candy, Connie Baby. Boy, it was a HOT ride that day, and we were ready for a frosty beverage, and a swim in that cool blue pool, but, the best philosophy when camping, especially in desert scrub, is: set up the tent sleeping quarters FIRST and then party k - cause ya gotta have a safe place to crash – ie with no bugs!

So the guys are setting up the tent and Connie Baby starts unpacking their bike and cooling off, and I’m doing the same and I suddenly I spy a HUGE tarantula moseying along, but still at a fairly good rate of speed. It was big, hairy, scary and cool as tarantulas are; and it was a perfect time to get its picture, there was nobody but us on that side of the camping area. Did I mention I’m into photography? I carry a camera everywhere for just such an opportunity. I have all kinds of spider photos, but at that time I had no photos of Texas tarantulas. I grabbed my camera, and I realize the tarantula is heading right towards our tent setup operation. Not good. So I spy a tree branch and I get it to crawl on it, and then it jumps off and starts scurrying faster. Uncooperative spider. I get it on the tree branch again and this time it LEAPS out and scurries as fast as it possibly could right towards the tent raising operation....the guys are putting it up and they stop and ask me: what the hell are you doing? I say: I wanna take a picture of this tarantula and I’m trying to move it _over there_ [and I point to an area to our south, where there were no tent raising operations occurring] so, as my old biker dude is shaking his head, and smiling, indulgent as always about my photo mania, Bob [did I mention this guy is like 6’5” and wears about a size 15 boot?] steps over towards me and says: “I’ll move that spider for you”. And just as I’m about to open my mouth to say “thanks Bob”, because I’m thinking he has some sort of magical spider-calming ability or something, and he’s gonna pick it up all lovingly and carefully and take it over and set it gently down so I can document forever its stark, scary beauty, he reaches out with his big-ass boot and STOMPS on my tarantula. Right. In. Front. Of. Me. OMG. I almost choked to death. I stuttered, I stammered, my mind starts racing – what the f**k did Bob just do, [how bad do I not want to jack up our fun Rolling Thunder weekend] [what the f**k did Bob just do?! Dude, did you see what BOB just did, omg he killed my tarantula and it’s all my fault!] [how bad do I not want to jack up our fun Rolling Thunder weekend?], and [omg I’m gonna have to suck it up, dammit it to hell, ‘cause he’s too big for me to really kick his ass] and, well, I was just immediately and completely pissed OFF! The ole biker dude is standing there, keeping busy with the tent, and he kept looking over sideways at me, like, so now whatcha gonna do, sister? He knows I’m pissed, and he’s trying to judge if he’s actually gonna have to peel me offa that giant tarantula killin’ friend of his, and he’s thinking oh hell, here goes our fun weekend. Well… after an eternity of all that shooting through my mind it ended up that all I said was, and just as sadly as I could, “Bob, I can’t believe you just killed my tarantula. I just can’t believe you did that. I don’t like killing anything and I wish you hadn’t done that.” And then I turned and walked away, wiping the tears of sadness and anger off my cheek. So, our weekend was saved, I’d said my piece, and we actually ended up having a good time. But, the poor tarantula, who had been minding his own lil tarantula business, was stone cold dead, and, although I was pretty upset about the whole thing, Bob ultimately became a very good friend, and nowadays I love him to pieces, so he was eventually forgiven. He even went on to let other tarantulas live another day. See that photo? Yep, right on Bob’s front walkway. How cool is that?

yeah.. I know... I'm a tree huggin', critter lovin', bleeding heart individual but really I just believe in live and let live. I think I'm gonna create a Tree Huggin' Harley Rider sticker with a big, hairy tarantula on it, to stick on our new trailer.

Thanks for reading - peace y'all 🙂

Lil Red
Lil Red
Read next: Calling All Wannabe Pet Owners
Lil Red

See all posts by Lil Red