Authors: Susan Wingate
Delilah noticed first. Did I tell you about her? Oh, yeah, I think so. Let me check...
Did. And, no, I will not stop saying pussy because pussy wasn’t always a bad word and I reject that meaning therein. I’m also thinking about going into law. Pussy, initially, was used in-tandem with cat, pussy cat, to mean a sweet fuzzy four-legged lithe mammal with stellar qualities.
Remember, I’m also a word FREAK!
But, it was Delilah first who noticed the change. In me. My super human change. And, after the spider, basically, knocked me down onto the floor and I finally woke up again, I looked at my finger. I realized it might’ve also bitten me. And, upon further inspection of my finger, there appeared a small red dot on its tip and a little white pustule had grown up on a pinpoint of whitish pink bump.
Did you bite me?” I shrieked, and, when I looked up at the ceiling, the spider was still hanging from its web. (Good thing, too, because if I had screamed “Did you bite me!” to no one there, I might’ve also become a candidate for the loony bin.)
The spider did not answer, as one might guess. Instead, she just recoiled slightly within her happy haven website.
Website. I love that.
And, she continued to gather silk threads, knit one perl two, and to move to the next obtuse angle for the next knitting session.
She ignored my question entirely. The snot.
So, of course, I stuck my finger—pustule and all—into my mouth and scraped it off with my teeth, swallowing it completely and there, I believe, my problem began to take form. Or, should I say,
It was like...
TWO - Transformation & Invasion
The air felt crisp and rustled my spiky leg hairs as Delilah galloped along the streets, me hanging onto her like a cowboy holding onto the reigns of his trusty steed. Finally, we reached Morlson's home.
Delilah jumped up high to the dumpster there behind Morlson’s bedroom window. Then she launched herself, I nearly fell off but a spear of silk shot out, like, automatically, and attached itself to her ear. Delilah caught the edge of the fire escape ladder, me hanging off as if I were the next great Flying Wallenda!
But. Are you hearing what Delilah did? I mean, she got up to the ladder! That's amazing. Azin' amazin'!
Cats astonish me. They can get anywhere they want.
Without silk rope to do it!
Still, I had turned into this black hairy-headed, lanky, spiky black body-suit-wearing, wall-climbing dynamo! I could hear and see and feel and taste and smell and sense every miniscule thing around me.
But, even though it was me, it wasn’t, ‘cause I had shrunk to the size of a nickel! It was as if I had become some ultra-athletic gravity-defiant whiz of a teenager who could leap and scurry and had the strength of fifty teenagers all bundled up into one, me, the magnificent, you guessed it...
The soft distinct cadence of a saxophone hung loose in the night, like someone dancing under the stars the way mom and dad used to, on top of their roof, listening, perhaps to John Coltrane... possibly the greatest, most incredible sax player out there! I nearly forgot the task at hand when pussy hiked her way to the top of the ladder, like a lion scaling the side of a mountain.
Then there we were. On the landing. Outside Morlson's.
Holy Fish Lips!
And, there she was,
, lugging around inside her apartment, vacuuming, hair in curlers, SMOKING a longer than normal brown cigarette, like something a Frenchman might smoke.
Every so often she stopped, took a puff, drawing the cloudy air into her lungs and holding it. When she couldn't hold it any longer, she'd open her lips into a big round circle and poke out a series of wobbly smoke rings, like, thirteen of them! Ghastly. The rank odor wafted its way through the window where me and pussy watched. I coughed a tiny little spider cough and pussy sneezed. Morlson turned to the window although the vacuum cleaner still sputtered away.
We ducked lower than the sill to avoid being found out.
When we resumed our position, Morlson's cigarette hung off her lower lip, all slack, like.
Her level of toadiness just ratcheted up about four trillion notches on the scale of toadiness.
"Wait here, pussy."
Delilah sat and began washing her face with her hands. I knew I'd best be moving to avoid being washed off her ear and into her kitty mouth. Horrors of horrors.
crawled up the front of her brownstone and in through
the window where we'd been staring at the QUEEN OF TOADS.
Everything felt so incredible as if my entire body could sense every tiny fissure of the hard red clay of the brick wall. Every microscopic sensory nerve ending seemed to be on high alert, like how ex-President George W. Bush was with the Iraqis and the Afghans.
when in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout!
A bit high-strung. That was me that first time out as Susi Arachnid.
After slipping through the crack in Morlson's window, I ventured down the wall onto her baseboard and waited for her to stop vacuuming. She was heading through her bedroom door and into the larger expanse of the apartment.
Looking around the room, the colors of her furniture, her shag carpeting, her linens, and the wall paint exhibited tones in varying shades of cigarette ashy-ness. As I was focusing on the boring qualities in her home, she lumbered back into the room withOUT the vacuum cleaner. And, this time, instead, with a glass of whiskey, it looked like to me. The cigarette had been puffed down to a mere inch from its butt and looked as if she were going to get all of its worth out as she pinched it nearly flat between her thumb and index finger, the way I'd seen some of the stonies at school do with
I wondered, right then and there, if they made teeny spider-sized cameras that I might snap a pic or two of our lovely teacher so that I might plaster them all over Facebook, MySpace and Twitter! Te he! Wouldn't that be funny?
Definitely the stuff of losing votes for Teacher of the Year Award! W
T. And, just as I had begun to fantasize about all the possibilities of inventing a camera for spiders, she plopped into bed, adjusting the pillows behind her like the back of a chair, picked up the remote, turned on Biggest Loser, tapped out another ciggie and began to down her cocktail of choice.
It was a sight to behold. Stunning.
As she watched TV, every minute or so she'd utter, "Mmm. Mmm. Mmm," in diminishing chords, and wipe a tear from her reddened eyes. After about three times of her doing this I simply got fed up with her, and, if a spider can roll all four eyes together? I did.
I'd had enough.
She deserved a great big smack down.
THREE - A Good Nap Ruined
When I got up from my afternoon nap that day, mom was baking a pie. The smell of it all buttery and flaky brown, dragged me from under my cozy-dozy blanket like two fingers up my nose pulling me out and down the hall, drooling all the way, and led me like a sleepwalker into the kitchen.
There mom stood, in her smart not-so-tight khaki denims, a blue and white picnic table plaid long sleeve shirt, and a stained up white cotton apron tied around her waist. She wore a pair of regular old tennis shoes, the ones she liked to take walks in, their color, if you must know, is a creamy dingy shade and desperately needing a go in the old washing machine--as did her APRON!
Innocently, I said, “Hey, mom,” hugging her from behind, “what’s up?”
First off, let me explain something.
I LOVE Justin Beiber
. It’s actually more than love, deeper than any love ever felt and wider than any cosmos out in any of the billions upon billions of universes out there. My love for him is galactical. I mean, I cried when he broke his foot.
Ouch. Poor Justin.
See, and don’t get grossed out here but this is the total truth. I want to kiss those pouty Justin Beiber lips of his and have about fifteen thousand little Justin Beibers all who we’d name “Baby Beibers.”
So, last week, when this freaky kid moved into the house, number 11, across the street, bringing with him his single dad, I barely noticed. God. And, when my mother decided she wanted to take the dad a pie, “or something nice to let him know we welcomed him to the neighborhood.” Lord. I nearly choked on a tuning fork when she asked me to go too, “since he has a son about the same age as you.”
Why not. They look like nice people.”
What about Justin?”
Mo-therrrr.” I extended the second half of ‘mother’ really long and crossed my arms trying to block the pain that was growing inside my chest. “He looks like a freakazoid.”
She turned fast and glared at me. “He looks fine.” She turned away, back to the counter when she said it, like, she knew it was a lie and she didn’t want me to peer into her eyes, into her soul where the lie grew from and, instead, to put the final touches into the care package she’d begun building for them.
I began to explain, “His hair’s all spik-” She stepped all over my words, “Look, he doesn’t have a mother.”
Cause he’s a freak.”
I humphawed and leaned against our grainy-looking fake “Spanish Moss” granite Corian countertop sink where she was working, folded my arms and had to listen to a long load of prurient excrement flow from her mouth.
But, let me stop here because if you didn’t catch it, the word prurient is a perfect word to shorten into a way cool word, like
. “Pru, man, that’s so pru!” Hmm. Has potential. I just might try it out on Tanya, see what she thinks.
So, she’s going on, mom that is, and I’m having to stand there and listen while she makes her case about why I must go with her on a ride with the welcome wagon to see the freak and his dad and to say, “So, nice to know you “ and “ Welcome to our neighborhood.” ‘Cause, for me, it would be a lie and, like, the Bible says, it’s bad to lie. In fact, it’s
if you lie so that’s kind of what I said to mom and so she says,