Spider Brains: A Love Story (Book One) (9 page)

I rolled up the pic and wedged it in-between her neck and the collar. Off we went! To Morlson's, to plant a clue. For me to see if she could figure it out. NOT ON YOUR LIFE!

Finding it there at all would just eat away at her.

Revenge was getting honey sweet about now and I was digging every nanosecond of it!

When we reached her window, Morlson had closed it tighter from the inside but hadn't pulled the casement down all the way, nor had she locked the latch.

On the landing, I noticed a bucket filled with gardening tools--a hand spade, a pair of green rubber gardening gloves, some MiracleGro plant food and next to that a white plastic pumper sprayer.

It was a tight squeeze shimmying through the thin crack of the window, but I did it, picture
et all
! I shoved one edge of my photo between the window and the sill and left it hang there while I made my way inside. It snapped into a curl on the outside but stayed put.

On the other side of the window, I pulled it through and when I'd gotten the entire photo in, it rolled up and flew down to the floor, like a paper airplane crashing.

Carrying the pic across the rug felt like towing a piece of concrete pipe, being all curled up from its venture over in pussy's collar. But, I managed to roll it to a place between her bedroom and her bathroom.

Then, I took off. I'd spent enough time messing around there.



ELEVEN - Nazi Teacher

Morlson was out to get me, sure as the sun rose in the east and set in the west, sure as death and taxes, sure as the day turned to night, sure as...

Pussy climbed up onto my stomach. It wasn't that late, only about eight. I'd finished studying, writing on my science project assignment and contemplated my lonely saxophone that gleamed at me out of my dark closet as if to say, "Play me! Play me!"

Getting up, Delilah, snuggled down onto my pillow.

I licked the reed, dampening it for that perfect note. That perfect strain. That perfect first blast that seemed to always draw mom in. To applaud my efforts.

Blaaahhhhhhhhhh. Blaaahhhh. Blahhhh.

Pussy's ears flattened and she jumped off the bed and scratched to get out. She looked like a tiny little kitty boxer as she batted at the door, over and again for me to open it.

"Hold on, pussy."

After plopping back down into my chair, I drew in an extra deep breath and blew hard again making the next extra special note last even longer and louder...


"Honey!" Mom called from her bedroom across the hall. "Honey? Sweetheart."

"Yeah, ma!" I chimed back.

"Although your sax sounds lovely tonight, darling. Really. Lovely. Um. Can you please wait to play until you get home tomorrow, a little earlier. Before homework?"

"Before homework?"

"Sure!" She yelled. "Why not!" She giggled. "Look. Honey, I'm watching TV, there's this show, is all."

"You don't mind if I play before you get home?"

"Oh. No." She giggled again. "Honey, no. It's practice, right?"


before I come home, Susie. That's perfectly fine. Hon. Really."

"K!" That was so cool of mom 'cause normally all my homework
best be completed by the time I get home, or else, young lady!

Since I'd joined band, Mom was definitely starting to loosen up. I think she really liked the progress I'd been making with my sax.



TWELVE - The Sleeping Habits of the Putrid

As I peered down in bed at Ms. Cumbersonian, I could make out the cone-shape of her two flabby breasts under a worn creamy cotton, flower-covered frock-
—a nightgown she must’ve bought on the cheap from

I felt my gag reflex kick in. Which, actually, surprised me ‘cause I didn’t know spiders vomited but here I was feeling like I was going to hurl up a bee’s butt or something just thinking about her sloppy hellish boobs.

Want s-s-s-some?”

His voice startled me and I nearly webbed myself.

Who’s there?” I shuddered and looked around Morlson’s bedroom in the direction of the voice but couldn’t see anyone else.

Ov-v-v-ver here.” He cracked out the words all of them tangling between high and low in an effort to either grow up or stay a kid.

I can’t see you.” I squinted . At least it felt like squinting. “Where?”

Oh h-h-h-hold on.” More cracking. Then, movement from a dark corner at the ceiling drew my eyes toward a shiny moonlit strand bouncing as he moved toward its connector. “Here.”

And, clinging to the thread stood the most delicious boy spider I’d ever laid my eyes on, ever, in my life. Totally cute. He was

I think I blushed but I felt pretty sure my black skin cloaked it from showing. “Oh. Hi.”

You’re b-b-b-blushing.”

Dag. “Nuh-uh.”

What-t-t-tever.” He turned to the corner but before he went back, he said. “So, do you?”

Do I what?”

Want s-s-s-some?”

Some what?”

Jeez. G-g-g-girls.” I think he rolled his eyes. “Want s-s-s-some of my f-f-f-fly. D-d-d-do you?”

Oh. Ick.”

What-t-t-tever.” He ambled slowly and accurately making his silk bounce with each movement of his legs, back into the dark where he disappeared, but I knew he was watching me.

He looked about my age, explaining his voice making switchbacks from tenor to bass at random. God. He was so cute.

Don’t like f-f-f-flies?” He said from the dark.


M-m-m-more for me, th-th-th-then.”

What-t-t-tever.” Got him.

Yeah. Whatever.”

Dag. Perfect delivery.

I inched away to one side then to the other testing out my eight wicked legs. The wood of Morlson’s headboard felt wide under my feet like walking on the highway and I took my time getting to the precise point above her pillow.

She s-s-s-snores.” The boy said, making me look up.

What’s your name?”




God. Rider the Spider.

She’s not snoring now.”

She w-w-w-will.”

And, as if he’d been watching her all his life, he had the timing down to a tee. He must’ve known about when, each night, it would happen, because Morlson’s mouth twisted open and she began to mouth-breathe!


T-t-t-told you.”

She’s totally disgusting.”

T-t-t-tell me about it.”

How long have you been living there?”

Hmm. Let’s s-s-s-see... I was here yesterd-d-d-day, and yesterd-d-d-day before that and a d-d-d-day before that and, hmm, at least t-t-t-two or th-th-th-three d-d-d-days before that...”

Okay. Lord. Stop. Sorry I asked.”

Why are

A vendetta.”


Perfect again.

Why do you stutter?”

Why do you care?”

It’s irritating.”

S-s-s-sorry.” He poked his head out and winked at me.

I blushed again.


I put my claws up to my face to check. “Shut-UP!”

Morlson’s mouth-breathing took on a heated momentum and distracted both of us.

Lord.” I looked on in horror.

He just looked at me and raised his first set of legs, like, your guess is as good as mine?

Nasty.” I couldn’t stop about Morlson’s gross sleeping habits.

I’m used to h-h-h-her.”

The snoring sounded like a cross between walking on crushed rocks and puking up a loogie.

Holy.” There was no quitting. I was appalled. “Time to get busy, I suppose.”

No need to jump, the sticky claws on each of my feet held me safely to the vertical side of the headboard making it easy going down onto Morlson’s straggly hair—hair she kept out of her face by a sweat-crusted black elastic cotton headband. I made my way through a jungle of grey that smelled a lot like AquaNet hairspray. Like walking through an automat carwash with those long strips of fabric that wipe over you as you move forward on the conveyor belt but like with one hundred million times more strands all smelling like AquaNet hairspray. Pee-Uke. Not only could I barely see but I didn't want to breathe. Talk about stanky-poo. Woo hoo! If I had a spider nose protrubance, I would have pinched it closed by then.

Rider continued to talk and crackle out his boy-to-man words, stuttering all the while. Wh-wh-wh-what are you going to d-d-d-do?”

It’s payback time for Morlson.”


Gas bag.”

Ah.” But he wouldn’t let the question go. “So. Wh-wh-wh-what will you d-d-d-do?”

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