21 October 1992
Dear Mr. Spider,
I see you there in my bathtub - yes, I do. I see each of your eight bristling legs poised for any threat, any attack. And I know you have more eyes than do I. Do you see me?
If you do see me, what are you thinking this very moment? Are you taunting me, knowing my fears of the smaller hardened, creepy-crawly things with many legs and many eyes? I would bet you are, because you've probably seen me before. No, I haven't seen you before, I don't look for your kind.
No, you haven't seen me before, you say? Ah - but I have proof for the pudding (as They say), yes I do. And I ask you now, what of those strange, itchy-burny bumps (more than just bumps) with which I have awakened more than once? Surely those were not resultant of my activities during the night. And I don't think She would do something like that. No, surely not. If She did something, it would be far worse than just an itchy-burny inflamed bump. Yes, far worse.
I'm sorry, have I strayed? So many things on my mind tonight, and now I type so fast even the keys stick. I believe we were speaking of your knowing me. You still insist you do not? Perhaps one of your brothers or sisters knows me (knows my blood), is this possible? Yes, you say. Then I present a guilty verdict by association.
A protest! I see it in your nonchalance. You've not moved, obviously you taunt me. Yes, you must be guilty. And the guilty must be punished. Further, you are insignificant, hence your punishment must be great. The word "capital" does now spring to mind.
Have I been too harsh? Again you've not moved, so obviously something is wrong. Yes, of course something is wrong. One may feel it in the very air this night, and it has been a strange day. She has added to this strangeness.
There I've gone again getting excited. The keys are sticking everywhere and I'm not typing correctly - what a shame. I must be calm about this. To be so, I shall now reflect.
It is much later now - later than the incident with you; it was a messy incident. Now I sit here in front of my seemingly (realistically) ancient Royal typewriter. Yes, you do know of what I speak! I am delighted, for it is only more of that strangeness.
Here I sit at this Royal typewriter, a portable maybe from the 40's - something belonging in a museum for the lost and removed generations. Beside me squats a flashy, noisy (even when off), demanding, modern day computer. To this other machine I and my generation, to some degree for the better but mostly for the worse, have sworn our allegiance.
You know not of such modern things, do you Mr. Spider? Crawling inside my Royal you have probably mastered every mechanism within it. Certainly not a difficult task, after all the ancients created that Royal. But computers - now that's an entirely different bag of wax. No mechanisms there. Just circuits and wires - nothing concrete. And it all depends upon electricity - something else you know nothing of. If you did, you'd probably be dead. Instead, you sit in my bathtub and taunt me. Mr. Spider, I will not stand for that.
I have been taunted many times in my life. Most of the time I do not allow it (She is the exception), and I certainly will not now. Are you showing me your tongue? (Do you have a tongue?) If so, I taunt you back with the fact I can not see it. I will not say if I could see it, I would probably be sick and run in fear, for you would take advantage of that weakness and taunt me further. I am sure your tongue is disgusting - what do you do with it? Has that tongue found my vein? But I cannot see it - I now taunt you.
All this, and I have not faced the main issue. Mr. Spider, why are you here? Why do you torture me this way? You know that by sitting (sitting?) there in my bathtub that I cannot use my bathtub. You, Mr. Spider are denying me of my rental rights and are in violation of the law! I demand my rights as an American citizen!
Another question now raised : Mr. Spider, to what nationality do you hold alliance? Are you an American spider? Are you French? Perhaps and hopefully Iraqi? Do not just sit (sit?) there Mr. Spider, please answer the panel and please face the camera when you do. I am the press and you are the victim. Submit to my petty taunts and meaningless questions right away or face an immediate and forthright excommunication from the international media circuit you have ten seconds please answer Mr. Spider face the camera smile speak clearly and use your hands.
Mr. Spider, I seem to have gotten carried away - it is election season you know, and we all do have our rifles ready. Back to the subject : why are you here? I see no web, and there is no food. It is raining outside, so why a need for water? The answer is simple Mr. Spider. You know it, I know it. You are here to taunt me. I will not stand for that.
I suppose we've now settled the issue of right and wrong. It is really very simple : I am right and you are wrong (what She says). Why, you ask? Why not? You have eight legs, are immensely ugly, and go creepy-crawly in the night. Good enough for you? She would say so. Yes, definitely She would.
So now the trial ends, and since we have no due process, the punishment must begin. Or is my courage simply momentarily peaking? No, it's definitely the due process (or lack of) and I cannot admit to a failing courage - not here.
No, I am sorry Mr. Spider, but you are not in a democratic territory. You are in my bathtub and may not at any time express your feelings. I may not be the most courageous creature when dealing with your kind, but I do make the rules here, and you will abide by them. So please wait while I prepare the punishment in which you may have no say.
I now hold in my hands (my shaking hands) a KS-1, .22 caliber air rifle of Chinese origin. I purchased this gun, this rifle, this instrument of immediate and impending doom, at a gun show in San Francisco - my home so far away from this place, this bathtub, this spider (and of course She). I bought it with forty-five of one hundred eighty five stolen dollars after dealing for about one half of an hour. A good purchase considering.....
I have never killed any living being with this metal stick-of-death in the four years I have owned it. You, Mr. Spider, shall be the first. Please feel privileged.
A lead pellet (the most common projectile for this tool) would definitely not suit my (or your) needs here. No, the tub is plastic, the rifle is powerful, and I'm sure the landlady (old as she is) would not appreciate a hole. I shall use my secondary projectile (officially designated by myself for indoor use only).
Many people (even in our techno-society) use them every day. You may even have crawled over a few of them Mr. Spider. I bet you never thought you'd feel threatened by one, eh?
And how about you Dear Reader, do you use them? Oh, you probably do now and then. If not for one thing then another - possibly even sexual. Did you ever think a Q-tip could kill you?
It slips easily into the breech and I lock the barrel into place - ready to go. You see Mr. Spider (you too Dear Reader), the Q-tip is a wonderful projectile, if you're into that sort of thing - I am. I shan't explain it, just try it (not you Mr. Spider). In fact, while you're at it Dear Reader, why don't you try putting soy sauce on top of shaved ice to make a snow cone? Let me know how it turns out.
My front sight fell off the other night when I was trying to adjust it - silly me. It's accurate now, at least for a couple of shots (which is all I shall need here). Mr. Spider, I now center that sight on your body.
Did I mention just how large you are, Mr. Spider? You wouldn't know of course, nobody has schooled you in the concept of relative measurement. I would say that including your powerful, bristling, creepy-crawly legs, you are about the size of an old-fashioned 33rpm long play record. Okay, an exaggeration. My fear is beginning to show through. In all reality (whatever that is) Mr. Spider, you are about the size of an American fifty cent piece. Imagine that : larger than the coin, yet worth less than its ancient and failing (not to mention fictitious) value. You poor beast, I'll be glad to end your obvious misery.
Looking through the target-type sight (originally a long-distance military design), I feel Her within me. The anger begins to well up, trust in all which surrounds me fails. Mr. Spider, you are now as good as gone. She will never let you survive. More than that, you will suffer - I am no longer in control.
I was four years old when my grandfather (of mother's side) told me about guns. I had an innate curiosity stemming from nothing more than the huge, obviously very powerful rifle lying in the rack above Grampa's bed. I did not see it very often, even though he lived in a mobile home (a ridiculous oxymoron), for I very rarely ventured into the aft sections.
Without removing the rifle (just an old .22 I later learned), he taught me just how to properly pull a trigger. I held his finger in mine (his finger which gnarled under from too much tennis) and jerked it. No, no, he said, you squeeze it. Do it slowly, like this. And he showed me. I still do it the very same way.
The trigger jerks. I am no longer in control, I told you that Mr. Spider, She has hold of my spinal synapse. The gun jerks also and sprays a mist of cotton into the air. I cannot see, but eventually make out through the not so natural anger and bitterness a larger than normal creepy-crawly thing in my bathtub. Yes, Mr. Spider, you have been struck.
Do you hurt Mr. Spider? I see you move, but it appears only six of your legs work. What else is damaged? Has your hull been breeched? Do you now spew your innards (as small as they may be) upon my bathtub bottom in a feeble and valiant attempt to escape? Mr. Spider, how do you feel?
Oh, why do I even ask such questions. I feel Her in me (usually the other way around) and I do not care about you Mr. Spider. The fact is you are still alive, and that is totally unacceptable. Mr. Spider, you must die.
The second Q-tip is a difficult fit to the barrel (strange incongruities in a mechanized industry). I work it in, creating a more aerodynamic projectile by twisting the rear end to a point. Do not ask, Dear Reader, I have studied these things in a place called college, and I know.
A left handed shot this time, I must be careful not to catch the rebounding Q-tip in the face. Yes, She is here with me now - most definitely. Only the anger and eminent bitterness carry me through.
The trigger pulls more easily and though I move quickly away, I know my shot has struck its mark. I dare not look though, these things (these creepy-crawly things) often make me queasy. I must allow my courage to return.
No time! Mr. Spider may be escaping! Panic overtakes the anger, my fingers deftly work the rifle's breech. Mr. Spider, you are in the wrong. Prepare to meet your maker and face your sins. I now cast you into the timeless and fire-ridden abyss of death. Amen, hallelujah, and all that shit.
The sights fall to your head now Mr. Spider, and I must pause for a moment (but just a moment). Yes, you are still alive, still trying valiantly to escape. I see a trail of juices behind you, perhaps an inch (you've not had much time to go places), and I know you are in pain.
Why do I stop now? I must finish the job. What is She doing to me? Is this Her method of torture-at-a-distance? If so, then why? Why now, at the obvious and labored expense of Mr. Spider, now in the timeless throes of death? What sort of beast lies within you my Dear, that you may control not only my action, but my mind, at distance and at will? Is this my failing, or your exceedence?
Get out of my mind! I demand you do this! I am not this sort of person! I am not bitter, I am not angry, I am not vengeful! How may I feel these things when all I really want to do is take a shower?
Mr. Spider, before I bid to you a farewell and everlasting goodbye, I must thank you quite honestly for the look at myself which you have given to me. It is something more valuable than I can measure and my only way to repay you is in death. You suffer now, in your own disgusting, bristly way, and I must end it. No anger, no bitterness, no vengeance. Only pity and acceptance are present here. No Mr. Spider, you no longer feel the pain. Your transcendence is beyond.
I have squeezed the trigger expertly now, just as my late grandfather taught me. The Q-tip has struck you Mr. Spider square in the back just below the cephalothorax. As if in slow motion, I see your body pull apart from the force of the cotton and spread the area of the tub. A leg here, something else there. Is that your head, Mr. Spider?
Looking into the tub I cringe at the sight. A grizzly effort I have made, as well as quite a mess. Mr. Spider you had many more parts than I knew. I suppose only one question now remains : will you fit into my drain Mr. Spider?
The hum of the refrigerator pacifies me now. The tapping keys serve to amplify that hum, supporting an even greater serenity. Mr. Spider, you are now gone from life and from mind; this testimonial is the only evidence that you ever existed. I shall preserve it in memory of you.
A ticking, scratching sound behind me now. Is that you Mr. Mousie? I turn and see the twitch of a cardboard box. Yes, Mr. Mousie, I know you're there. Do you know of me?
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