Arnie and Dave thought they lucked out when they were told of their relatively safe assignment in Iraq. Relief soon turned to boredom, and they made bets to pass the time. Arnie bet that before they rotated assignments they’d find a camel spider, a legendarily huge arachnid that clamped underneath camels and grew large sucking their blood. Dave said it was a rumor, that the spiders were only an inch or two long, and technically not even spiders. Arnie said he had seen a picture online, so he knew they got big. Dave countered that if Arnie could find himself legendary foot-long spider, he’d pay him $100 and spend an hour lie buck naked out in the sun. Arnie went out walking after that, by the rocks where the camel spiders were supposed to live. He came back empty-handed, but with a smile on his face, humming a strange song. “You’ll have that camel spider in a week,” Arnie said vaguely. On patrol the next few days, Arnie was slow, dropping tossed water bottles and shuffling his feet when approaching a truck to check bills of lading. But he kept his monotone humming going. More of a lip-smacking sound, which became the worst sound in the world around day eight. He even did it at night: was it a sinus condition? One particularly loud smack around three in the morning on day nine made Dave calmly rise and calmly wallop Arnie in the gut. Arnie’s stomach writhed and pulsed under his sweaty t-shirt. Screaming, Arnie sat up and pulled off his shirt. There on his belly was a dead camel spider, ten inches across, attached like a lamprey. “I was two inches away from winning,” Arnie said.