CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- So I'm sitting at my desk in my little home office with the window open and a nice breeze blowing. All the furry creatures in the house are present and accounted for. Cats to the right of me. Dog at my feet. Teen texting on the futon.
And a spider half as big as a plate at my elbow.
He's furry. I'm not kidding -- this dude has more chest hair than Tom Selleck.
He's wearing a gold chain. Has a tattoo.
If this big boy could speak, he'd sound like Boris Karloff. But he doesn't talk. Is content just to wave. I suppose the waving could be considered friendly, especially since he's waving two legs at once, but it doesn't feel welcoming. It's more like he's practice boxing, throwing jabs at the air. There's a defiance to his moves. Like he's giving the spider equivalent of a thumb-to-nose, "Nyah-nyah."
He senses my fear. Makes these cocky little moves toward me. One, two, three -- stop. One, two, three -- stop. More fist pumping.
I'm being called out by a bug.
I grab a nearby glass, planning to slap it over top of him, except he quickly spreads himself wide and lifts those two arms even higher. Rears back. And then he makes the most effective spider move there is -- he jumps. It's just a little jump, but it's a jump nonetheless, and there's enough athleticism in the move to suggest he's capable of both distance and aim. That he might even be equipped to launch.
I put down the glass and raise my hands, palms-forward, hoping it's a cross-species sign of surrender. But the spider does not flee. Instead, he settles himself back a few steps, spreads out flat against my desk. Watches. Occasionally waves.
It feels like he's taunting me.
Without fully looking away from my new officemate, I begin searching the Internet, hoping to identify his species. The irony of looking on the Web for a spider is not lost on me. I want to identify this heavily muscled arachnid to determine if his bite will be lethal. Considering his size, if he does bite me, perhaps I could ride him to the emergency room.
The closest thing I can find online that matches my new companion is called a wolf spider. According to Wikipedia, wolf spiders are robust and agile hunters with excellent eyesight that live mostly solitary lives and hunt alone.