Joey’s New Pet

By R.G. Ramsey

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How big will it get?

The Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan was comparable to the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in Russia, although many claim the nuclear power plant disaster in Japan in 2011 was a much bigger disaster.

Joey was about to get an up-close and personal look at this disaster as a young and naive volunteer who was given the task of examining the after-effects of the nuclear disaster on the environment in Fukushima, Japan.

Joey was using a handheld Geiger counter to measure radiation levels in different areas near the power plant and record them. Cacti and other vegetation were planted in the area because of their known ability to absorb radiation from the air, he had to monitor their condition as well.

While doing his research he noticed something moving through the weeds the size of a large rat.

He looked down and saw the biggest damn spider he had ever seen in his life. It wasn’t a colorful spider with red, blue, or yellow markings that seemed to be Mother Nature’s warning label to let us homo-sapiens know to stay the hell away from it, it was a dark brown spider with two golden rings around each leg.

Most of us humans are wired by instinct from birth to avoid the arachnids who first bared their fangs about 380 million years ago. That’s about 150 million years before the dinosaurs ruled the earth.

Joey wasn’t sure if this spider was similar to an American tarantula that many people kept as pets, or more like an Australian funnel-web spider known for being highly venomous, and could chase the brashest alpha-male out of his own house screaming like a little girl.

Even Australopithecus, the first hominins that existed in Africa approximately three million years ago, give or take a million years depending on which anthropologist’s dissertation you relate to the most, were wise enough to avoid arachnids at any cost.

Joey would like to think he had a little more wisdom than the primate-like creature that preceded him a mere three million years ago. That being the case, he decided to slowly back away from this potentially deadly creature.

The spider looked up at Joey and started dancing by lifting two of its hairy legs up at a time before placing them back down again and lifting two other legs up which brought a smile to Joey’s face.

He turned and walked away from the amusing yet overly large creature who seemed docile enough, but for all Joey knew the spider’s dance moves were kin to saying grace before a meal.

He continued doing his research and inspecting the plant-life some of which had grown to huge proportions until the evening. As Joey was leaving the area to return to his accommodations, he heard the sound of leaves crunching as if a snake or something was moving towards him.

Joey quickly turned around ready for anything, there in front of him was his arachnid friend he saw earlier, or so he believed.

Removing all doubt the large hairy spider went back into its dance routine making Joey laugh. The spider seemed to notice the pleasure it brought to Joey and started bouncing up and down as well.

Joey dropped to his knees and slowly reached out to stroke the back of the spider which was easily the size of a kitten. The spider seemed to enjoy the massage it was receiving, it arched its back and raised its front two legs.

He pulled back his hand, then held his hand out towards the spider. The spider crawled up Joey’s arm and stopped on his shoulder.

“I think I will take you home with me, you will make an interesting companion,” Joey said.

Joey brought the spider back to his rented home but didn’t bring it inside. He wasn’t yet sure how safe such a large spider would be and thought the spider could find something to eat out there, or even leave if it wanted to.

Joey went outside the next morning to check on his new friend. He was greeted by a dancing spider that seemed happy to see him. He gave his new friend a back rub, before leaving for work with a smile on his face. Who couldn’t be happy all day after being greeted by a dancing spider?

When he returned home he had fresh beef from the butcher shop with him. He wasn’t sure if the spider would eat raw meat but thought he would offer some to the spider. The spider sank its fangs into a chunk of raw beef that Joey offered to it.

“I need mine cooked,” Joey said. Before walking into the house.

This routine was replayed every day, and Joey started noticing two things. The most noticeable was the growth of his spider friend. His new companion was growing very quickly.

He also noticed his spider friend was carrying the chunks of meat to the back of the yard, and then laid motionless just waiting. It didn’t take long before a rodent came to eat the meat, and the spider had a fresh rodent to eat instead.

“Smart spider.” Joey thought, “Better the mouse dead outside, than alive inside. “

The first big rainstorm was going to hit Japan one evening, and Joey was concerned about his spider friend being outside in it. By this time the spider had grown to the size of a large dog. Joey brought the spider inside his home to ride out the storm.

“Welcome inside the house my friend,” Joey said.

The spider started doing its trademark dance as soon as it got inside the house.

Joey sat down to relax on the couch while the spider explored his new surroundings, that is until the first crack of thunder sent the scared spider over to the couch. The second boom of thunder sent the spider climbing on top of the couch with Joey.

The spider laid the upper part of its body across Joey’s lap and Joey stroked its back.

“Who knew a spider the size of a large dog would make such a great pet,” Joey thought.

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