Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Five Years: Solitary Spider

The first showcased piece of The Very Best of Tornado Slide's Five Year Retrospective is a bit written September 5, 2006. Although it received only one approving comment (from Heather), I recall an additional kudo or two outside of the internet. Let's enjoy it once more:

Spidey Senseless
The first spider was unremarkable. It wasn't large, it wasn't small, it wasn't brown, and it certainly wasn't reclusive. It was Spider Edmund Hillary, the first to reach the second floor master bathroom ceiling. It clung there, and to the higher portions of the supporting walls. Showering did not disturb the spider, and neither did I. I respected its achievement, and left it alone. But my mind pestered him.

"Spider," my mind spoke, "I respect your achievement. You are the first. But surely you must see that this isn't the right niche for you. Do you see any food around? Any flies? Any sort of buzzing insect at all? Of course not. I keep a clean home, and you are only an exception. How are you going to sustain yourself?"

Days passed, and I grew more concerned. "Spider," I thought, "this is becoming absurd. Why don't you feel the need to sew a web? Even given the unlikely event of a fly intruder, you are unprepared. The fly would circle around your position on the wall, mocking you. Where are your instincts? Aren't you getting hungry?"

Seven days into the ordeal, a breakthrough -- the spider moved to a much lower position on the west wall, flanking the toilet. The bathroom was still devoid of any silky webs, but it was clear that the adventureous arachnid was planning something.

Another day went by.

And another.

And he died.

But not before giving birth to two more spiders.

One tiny spider took to the corner of Shower and West Wall, while its sibling stayed at Door Frame and North Wall -- a spot located just above his mother's dead body. Upon discovery, both had already built pathetically small, uncomplicated webs, and were perched among the invisible strands, hovering a few centimeters above the white linoleum.

Still, without so much as a single ant in the environment, the webs remained bare. The first spider disappeared after two days, dead -- or, in the spirit of his mother, exploring uncharted territory.

The second remains in place, without food for nearly a week now. Perhaps it is as optimistic as ever, sure that an insect will be trapped any moment now, anticipating the deadly dance that will ensue, and the succulent meal that will result. Still, it would be easy to forgive a gloomier mindset. The young spider lives in a strange world, dark for all but 30 minutes a day, the only other sentient occupant a six-foot-tall mammal, its deceased mother's shriveling corpse always within view, an ominous harbinger of a likely and terrible future.

No comments: