A pepper flake. If I had to compare it to the size of something, it would be roughly the size of a piece of black pepper, churned out of a grinder. Except, you know, plumped up. With legs. 

I had picked up my toothbrush to find him splayed out against the porcelain. He moved drunkenly from one corner of the dish to the other, poorly escaping my police raid in the bold bathroom light. 

He didn’t move with purpose or hustle and for that I felt a kinship. Also I found him next to my toothbrush and not inside my toothbrush and for that I felt an absence of vomit, which is next to kinship in the Rules of Spiders. 

Found elsewhere in the Rules of Spiders, if one were to fall on my head, get tangled in my hair or otherwise hide on my person, all fucking bets are off. 

“What’s going to happen when you live on your own,” my parents asked me as I cowered in the corner of my bedroom, away from the short end of the slanted ceiling where a spider 347 times larger than a pepper flake taunted me by dropping low and piking back up again like some psychopath circus performer. “You gonna call us to come over and kill bugs for you?”

“No. Just kill this one and we’ll work out a plan,” I said. 

I read somewhere that our fear of things like spiders and snakes is innate because we are programmed to move away from things that posed a predatory threat back in the day, and these are two examples that have historically been pretty bad to us. There are some holes in this theory, which might be because I have butchered this information, but I don’t recall the article explaining how snakes and spiders were so different from, say, lions or bears, by which we, as humans, are routinely fooled into hugging for photo ops. 

How much of our fear is truly instinct, and how much of it is a poor arachnid public relations team?

Eventually, I began to learn the art of squishing bugs on my own. Mostly I prefer to sweep them outside, or, truthfully, to ignore them until they realize the shower isn’t such a good place for a tiny, non-waterproof hut. Sometimes I stare them down and reason with them. 

“Where are your friends? I think they’re looking for you, let’s go.”

“This towel has nothing to offer you and plus it’s mine.”

“PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD IT’S 4 AM. If you just move away from the toothbrush I will forget all about you I promise.”

This was last night. 

It is now tonight.

And I did, in fact, forget all about the spider the size of a pepper flake, small enough to hide in the bristles of one, Oral B toothbrush, and which now no amount of inspection will be thorough enough for me not to have nightmares about spider eggs in my teeth for all of eternity. 

Sweet dreams, everyone.