It was the last few lazy days of summer. The morning had been spent packing up the truck, and in the melee, she had made a run to the store for slurpees.
Hers was Coke flavored, all frosty and ice cold. She sipped it on the lawn as she sat with the four year old, stroking his blond hair and reading him a book to keep him busy.
Daddy was loading up the camper.
"Hey hon, give me a hand," he yelled, so she carefully set her icy drink down on the lawn and joined him to lift, pack, and organize supplies for a weekend at the lake. Their last summer weekend. The kids would jump off the dock into the icy waters, they would build roaring campfires and roast sticky marshmallows, bugs would be caught and released.
Fish would be caught, cleaned, and fried up for supper.
Frog's croaking voices would fill the air at night, serenading them as the children slept and they held hands, sipping wine and enjoying the evening view.
The truck was packed, the kids piled in and buckled safely, she rescued her drink from where it perched on the lawn and joined them. As they pulled out of the driveway, and bumped on down the road, she played with the straw a bit before taking a long, deep, sip. The cool, sweet drink washed over her tongue. She held it there for just a second, enjoying it's icy bits before swallowing.
And then again.
There must be a chunk of ice here. Stuck. Lodged in the straw like a plug.
Suck harder. That will dislodge it.
Before she knew it the chunk came free and it flew past her lips and teeth, her tongue, and was now in her throat. It felt a bit curious; not like ice, but something different. There was no pain, just a strange feeling that something was sitting there, waiting to be swallowed. She stared into the cup in her hand, slightly perplexed, stirring the icy contents with her straw, as if searching for a stray icy chunk.
Then the strange thing in her throat did something that nobody in their right mind would ever expect it to do. Or want it to.
Suddenly the realization dawned on her that she had not swallowed a piece of ice but instead some sort of living creature, and she coughed violently-panicked, almost, trying to dislodge it from her body as fast as possible. Up and out her mouth it came, into her outstretched hand.
A fat, black spider stared back at her, all eight legs poised to take flight.
Her scream was one of complete, heart stopping terror as the slurpee went flying through the air, and she contorted her body to get that thing, that horrible thing that she almost swallowed for God's sake, off her hand, her leg, her body, for Christ's sake, just GET IT OFF ME NOW!
"What the HELL?!" He barely stopped the truck in time before she leaped out her door, away from the spider, the slurpee that was now spilled all over the truck interior (and her children). She jumped and continued to scream, shaking her hands and wiping at her body as if to be removing multitudes of ferocious man eating insects that were about to devour her.
Finally, at long last, her panic subsided. The renegade spider was squished, the slurpee cleaned up, and they were once again on their way to the lake for the last weekend of summer.
For weeks later, she could feel that tickle, that slight wiggle, in her throat as if the spider was waiting to be swallowed. She coughed, and wondered. Did she really get it out? Was there more? Did it lay EGGS?
Maybe it was still there, after all, looking for a fly.
This story is based on an account told to me by a co-worker, who had a friend that was about to go camping, left her slurpee on the lawn, and when drinking it later almost swallowed a spider. She coughed it up and then reacted like most of us would-by freaking out.
I suppose it goes to show that it's not a good idea to leave you drink unattended..even in the backyard. I'm told she never drank another slurpee again.