The night was warm and so damp I could feel my balls sweating through my pink thong underwear.
But that was Florida in June for you. Mere moments after arriving and leaving the cool air-conditioned comfort of my sister's van, my body had broken out in what the doctors like to call a full-body sweat. I was perspiring more fluids per minute than most firehoses can gush to put out forest fires. But i'm a man. I can take a little excess moisture. My sneakers squished when i walked, and whenever i turned my head, droplets of salt-soaked brine flicked away into the blazing oven of death that the air had become, then immediately turned to steam, adding to the ambient humidity. Humidity. What an understatement. If I had squeezed the air I could have drunk it like a wet bar rag, much like that time I had nothing but Ice beer at 3 different bars on a warm summer night.
But that's another story.
I slipped on my goggles. No, they weren't night-vision, just an old pair of dusty aviator's goggles I found in our garage. But my night vision is excellent. Just in time, too as a wicked flash heralded the arrival of another storm cell. Thunder crashed immediately afterward, and I squeezed my impressively meaty butt cheeks together so as not to soil myself again. Carrying a large dufflebag across one shoulder, I headed for my sister's front door, and immediately tripped over a brick lining the pathway, sprawling into the underbrush of the front garden. I glanced about, but the foliage managed to hide both the light from the front doorway and the nearby streetlights. I was lost. I felt something dripping down my forehead, but as I went to wipe it away, i realized it wasn't sweat, but something huge and dark and foul, something spawned in the depths of the undergrowth, something that preyed on weary travelers who didn't quite make it to the relative safety of the front door. I threw up my hands and moved them rapidly to and fro in an aggressive kung-fu-like gesture, screaming my battle cry (which only sounds like a little girl's cry of fear to those who don't understand the ways of a true warrior such as myself), and turned to charge in the opposite direction. Slamming facefirst into the wall of my sister's house, i rebounded instantly and fell onto my back. My fierce howl of bloodlust, or the sight of a large fat man in aviator goggles must have terrified the foul beast enough to make it flee, or I had simply squashed it between my nose and the rough brick of my sisters' house. It was hard to tell, since the impact had numbed everything from my neck up, since true men such as myself do not feel pain the way that other mortals do. Another roll of thunder reminded me that I was still lost, and a flash startled my sobbing into silence. I had to be quiet. Crying like a small baby might bring other foul denizens of the forest, or worse...
My flesh crawled at the very thought of them. Creepy, inhuman things tromping about with 8 legs, multiple eyes and the unfeeling flesh of an exoskeleton. Steel-like strands of spider silk catching the unwary with deadly accuracy, binding your limbs and holding you fast until their wicked, curving fangs pierced your quivering flaccid flab and pumped gallons of venom deep deep into your nervous system. But not killing you. Oh, no, that would be too easy. Spiders, that very essence of unadultered evil, even worse than the bits of ash at the end of Time Bandits, didn't want you dead. Like the vampires of myth and the fantasies of teenage girls everywhere, spiders liked to suck your pre-digested juices right the hell out of you, leaving you a semi-living husk of paralyzed beef jerky, just like my buddy Rich.
But I must not succumb to fear! Uncurling my massively thick body from the fetal position, I did my best to stop my trembling form from becoming another human sacrifice to the unclean gods of the woods. I pulled myself to my feet, wiping the emotions from my tear-streaked cheeks, and began forcing my way through the dense foliage. I was determined more than ever to make it to my sister's front door! I briefly considered abandoning my dufflebag to the various creepy crawlies that had infested my sister's front garden, but alas, it contained fresh underwear, that very essential ingredient of not only survival, but the very thing your mother told you to always have on in case of an accident! The sheer weight of it nearly dragged me to my death, but I fought on, through the deep puddles of stagnant rainwater, infested with god only knew how many seething mosquito larvae, nearly drowning several times as the dufflebag nearly pulled me under, but I prevailed! Another flash of lightning showed me, off in the distance, like a bright ray of sunshine highlighting the wings of angels, THERE WAS THE PATH!
I cried out in a mixture of unbridled joy and orgiastic relief, and began to waddle as fast as I could for the rain-slogged concrete. But before I could get there, there was an almighty shout that pierced the deepest depths of the darkest shadows of the mist-fogged forest of my sister's front garden.
I nearly died of fright. And I thought spiders were evil. The very concept of a large, hairy gorilla-like thing stomping around in the black greenery with me was almost more than i could bear, and much more than my bladder could handle. At least my sweat-soaked shorts couldn't be any damper. I tried to turn my head in every direction at once, but immediately stopped when the aging vertebrae of my neck crackled like machine gun fire. There, deeper in the forested garden, was a brightly-clothed man with night vision goggles on his head, screaming his head off about having sighted bigfoot! I was terrified. I followed the direction his outstretched arm was waving at, and realized with an audible shudder that he was pointing my way! I gasped in terror, sucking in a small bug and choking suddenly on its seemingly enormous girth now trapped in my airway. Coughing futilely, I managed to avoid asphyxiation in time to realize I was in mortal danger!
There was no time to look around for the source of the man's shout. Sasquatch, that mythological beast, slayer of whole tribes of american indians and terrorizer of the european pilgrims of Plymouth rock, was near me! I fled as fast as I could in the last known direction of the path. Mighty warrior I may be, but this was no time for heroics! I would gladly have faced one, no, TWO small kittens in brutal no holds barred cage wrestling match rather than face a spider infested sasquatch-wood! Waddling as fast as my enormous hindquarters would allow, bouncing my lovehandles off trees and bird baths, gasping so hard my lungs extruded from my body in an effort to get more air, I fled. The brightly colored man ran after me, nightmarish flashes that I thought were more lightning only served to disorient me as I realized he was trying to take pictures. Pictures, can you imagine? Here I am about to get mauled by a rampaging mythological beast, and he wants to catch it on film! And I couldn't even see the thing! His night vision goggles must have been able to pierce the dismal gloom slightly better than my aviator's goggles, because he kept ranting about bigfoot and taking pictures of something that must have been behind me!
I whirled around, then back, but couldn't catch sight of the thing, finally turning back at him and screaming WHEEERRRRRRREE? but I think in his heightened state of fear, my words failed to reach him, and the terror of spiders and sasquatch got the better of him. he fled deeper into the garden as I stumbled out to the relatively calm concrete-lined walkway of the path.
I stuffed my overwrought lungs back into my body and tried to regain control of my wildly flailing limbs. The bright glow of the porch light was full in my face as I realized I had made it to the front door. I laughed hysterically, to the point of madness. I'd made it! By the grace of all the gods of light and dark working in some sort of unholy conjunctivity of cooperation, I'd made it to my sister's front door! I turned my face upwards, rain sluicing down my face, and shouted a wordless cry of victory as my sister opened the front door of her home.
"While you're out there, can you bring in my stuff, too?" she asked.