It crawled over me, one tiny tickling step at a time. I froze, gritting my teeth as sweat prickled my forehead. I stared at the long jointed legs lifting into the air and descending in slow motion as they sought a path across my skin. My breath stopped while my mind raced, searching for an escape from this torment. How did I get into this situation? I looked around, desperate for release.
My friends stood nearby, rigid, their eyes locked in horror at the tarantula as it halted mid-way up my forearm. Suppressing a groan, I released a slow breath as the feelers waved. Was it going to bite? Determined to stay calm I tried to recall the little I knew about the spider. It had a painful bite, but was it poisonous? The seconds passed with painful slowness as the answer eluded me.
The spider moved again with slow deliberate steps and at last, slid off my arm and crawled beneath the leaf litter. I withdrew my shaking hand from the enclosure, barely hearing the applause and the announcement: “You’ve won thirty dollars for three minutes!” That ought to buy me a good stiff drink.