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I first saw the spider running for the safety of my icebox as the clock chimed eight in the morning. I grabbed my fly swatter and the chase was on. The creature was black, hairy, and had the crooked legs of a mangy street dog. The spider darted under the icebox just as my swatter went “smack” on the floor. Lucky stiff.

My name is Matt Saticoy and I’m a detective for the LAPD. I joined the force in 1941, the year DiMaggio set the record, and I’ve spent the last ten years wearing blue. I can handle a crook pointing a .38 at my noggin, an angry woman flashing a stiletto, or a jealous husband wielding a baseball bat, but I lose my marbles at the sight of a spider. My shrink says I have a “phobia,” whatever that is.

I didn’t need more stress. Yesterday, at the precinct house, Captain Mulroney barked, “Saticoy, get your hump over to the sewage treatment plant. There’s a corpse stinking up the joint.” That sewer plant is a spider-infested hellhole and no way was I going over there. I got out of the duty by telling Mulroney I had sepsis on my meniscus. The lug was too dumb to argue about it.

I picked up the phone. “Operator, get me LUdlow 8623… is this Home Defenders? Say, doll, can you send a guy over pronto to get a spider hiding under my icebox? Thanks.” I poured myself a double and waited on the couch. I calmed down. Maybe spiders aren’t so bad after all. I calmed down some more.

Suddenly, I saw that spider charging at me like a Plymouth on the Pasadena Freeway. It bolted up my leg as I screamed, “Don’t kill me!” but the dirty rat sank its fangs into my jugular. On the brink of the big sleep, I awoke to a life-saving knock at the door.

Damn rotgut.

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