Everyone loves to bring home souvenirs, don't they?
A Costa Rican Surprise
"Daddy! Daddy! Help me! It hurts!" fourteen-year-old Carlo DiSanti screamed early Tuesday morning.
Lorenzo and Sofia, Carlo's parents, were jolted awake from their deep slumber by his screams. They both bolted up and scrambled around to find their robes and slippers. Lorenzo was the first one out of the bedroom, and he rushed into Carlo's room. He switched on the lights to find Carlo tangled in his sheets, poised in a fetal position, and with his hands thrust between his legs. His son's sweat-soaked face exhibited a measure of pain and fear he'd never seen before.
"What's wrong, boy? What hurts?" Lorenzo asked as he reached for Carlo's shoulder.
"God, it hurts! It won't stop! It won't go down! Owww!"
Sofia entered the bedroom, still tying her robe, while Vianca, Carlo's eleven-year-old sister, stood at the doorway with wide eyes.
"What's the matter, Carlo?" Sofia asked as she sat next to her son while he continued writhing.
"Carlo, what hurts? Tell me," Lorenzo demanded.
Carlo looked up at him with tear-soaked eyes and said, "It's my penis! It won't go down! It hurts so bad!"
Lorenzo frowned at first, but he understood the pain his son was in. He looked over at his wife, who already stared back at him.
"Come on, Carlo. Move your hands so we can see."
"No. Not with mom and Vianca here."
"Dammit, Carlo!" his mother said. "I'm your goddam mother!" Her gaze shot over to Vianca. "Vianca, go back to your room now and stay there."
Lorenzo turned to see Vianca's shocked expression before disappearing into her bedroom. His son's moans caught his attention again, and he tugged on Carlo's arms to see what he complained about while Sofia helped remove the sheets from around her son's body. Finally, Lorenzo parted Carlo's arms and saw his erect penis through his shorts.
"Carlo, it's okay. You're just going through puberty. That's all. It will go away in a few minutes."
"No! No! It's been like this for over an hour. I can't make it go down."
"That's not normal, Lorenzo," Sofia said, and Lorenzo listened because his wife was a nurse. "We should take him to the emergency room. I'll find some loose shorts he can wear." Lorenzo covered him back up, then his wife screamed.
Lorenzo jumped back and yelled, "What? WHAT?"
"My god, look at the size of that spider!" She said as she backed away.
Lorenzo felt overwhelmed. He stepped around the bed and gawked at the enormous spider which sat reared back with its front two legs hoisted high above, its arms swaying from side to side. Lorenzo was unafraid of spiders, but he never saw one this big. His wife screamed again while his son continued crying and moaning. His wife had to go.
"Sofia, leave the room so I can kill that damn thing. Shit, he's big. I don't know what I can use to kill it."
Sofia backed away towards the bedroom door. "I'll see if I can find something. Hold on."
"Hurry, Sofia! Hurry!"
Lorenzo gazed over at his son again, but he didn't want to forget about that spider. It had lowered its front two legs and took a couple of steps forward. Where's Sofia? He needed something to kill it. Then he heard footsteps scampering closer.
"Here, drop this over it," Sofia said. "But let me get a picture first." She handed him the heavy wooden box she kept beneath the bathroom sink to hold her knick-knacks. He was hoping for something to kill it, not capture it.
"What? A damn picture now? Why?"
"In case it bit Carlo."
It was the most asinine thing he'd ever heard, but Sofia passed behind him with her phone and took a picture as the spider reared back into an attack position again. Lorenzo leaned forward, his hands unsteady as he held onto the box. He barely breathed as the spider's swaying hypnotized him with fear. He took a single step forward, and the spider backed away.
He dropped the box over the spider, but instead of landing squarely on the floor, it bounced twice, allowing Lorenzo to see the spider trying to escape. He jumped back, heard his son moaning louder, but he never took his eyes off the box. He trapped the spider.
"What type of spider was it, daddy?" Vianca asked while sitting between her mother and father in the emergency room at the local hospital.
"I have no idea. Dammit, I wish that doctor would let us know what's happening." Hospitals made him nervous. No telling what invisible killer floated in the air. He leaned forward to see if someone was in the corridor. It was empty, so he turned to his wife. The bags beneath her eyes gave him more to worry about. There had to be a reason she wanted to take a picture of that spider.
"Mr. and Mrs. DiSanti," the doctor said, who startled Lorenzo enough to cause him to stand.
"Is my boy alright?"
"Yes. He's fine. First, I need to ask you some questions."
"No! First, what's wrong with him?" Lorenzo's voice sounded demanding.
"I'll tell you after you answer my questions. Has your family traveled out of the country lately?"
"Yes, but what does that have to do with anything?"
"Where did you go?"
"What? We went to Costa Rica. Why?" He heard his wife stand.
"That explains it then. Looks like you may have a bigger problem."
Lorenzo's blood boiled. His wife clutched his hand. "What the hell are you talking about, doctor?"
"A Brazilian Wandering spider bit your son. It's highly poisonous and can kill a human. Your son didn't get a full dose of venom, but he received enough to cause priapism. A possible symptom from being bit. We've given him an anti-toxin, and he's back to normal."
His wife yanked his arm and said, "Priapism is when the penis is engorged with blood for a very long time. It can become very painful. That's why Carlo was crying. Doctor, I took a picture of the spider."
"Let's see it." She pulled out her phone and showed it to him. "My god, it's big."
Lorenzo asked, "So what's the bigger problem?"
"There may be more of them in your home. Did you store anything without checking it when you returned from your trip?"
Vianca spoke up. "Mom, remember the coconuts we brought back. They checked them at customs."
Lorenzo felt an internal alarm sound. He'd stored the coconuts in the closet beneath the stairs.
"Check for a small dead spider wherever you stored them. If you find one, you'll probably find a white egg sack nearby. Destroy it," the doctor said.
This was unbelievable! A crazy-ass spider causing all this commotion. His mind drifted back to the spider beneath the wooden box. "How do we get rid of them?"
"It best to place the glue traps on the ground. A lot of them."
"Glue traps. Got it. Can we see Carlo now?"
"Yes, you can go see him now and take him home."
Back at home, Lorenzo laid glue traps around the wooden box in Carlo's room before lifting it. He snatched the box away and jumped back. The spider reared back, then made a break for it. Its legs became trapped and Lorenzo left it to struggle once it rolled on its back, right onto another glue trap.
His wife called him from downstairs. It sounded urgent. He hurried down the stairs and found her standing by the open closet beneath the stairs. She pointed, then said,
"Look. Just like the doctor said. A dead spider. We gotta move this stuff out to find that egg sack."
His nightmare came true. They began removing items from the closet's floor. The shadows cast by the overhead light made anything white look suspicious. He slid the box of coconut out and doubled up on the number of glue traps around it, then told his wife to get back. Using a crowbar, he loosened the top and stood back as he lifted it off. They wrapped the coconuts in newspapers. He used the crowbar to shift the contents from side to side and waited.
A small spider climbed over the newspaper, onto the box's wooden edge, then down the side. Lorenzo was sure they would trap it. Once the spider placed a leg on it, it held fast. Another spider breached the box along with others. Lorenzo stood back and watched a small hoard of the eight-legged devils climb down the box, each becoming entrapped. Everything was under control he and walked away briefly. When he returned, he spotted a spider climbing over the trapped spiders and onto the floor. He'd underestimated how many there were, so he got his family out of the house and phoned for a professional exterminator.