Read The Spider Inside Online

Authors: Elias Anderson

The Spider Inside

The Spider Inside

By Elias Anderson



Edited, Produced, and Published by Writer’s Edge
Publishing 2012

All rights reserved.

© 2013 by Elias Anderson.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be
reproduced, stored in a retrieval system in any form or by any means without
the prior written permission of the publisher.

All characters in this book are fictitious, and any
resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental.


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Table of Contents

Tattoo Nik was drawing all over everything. He had a handful
of black Sharpie markers and had drawn on the walls, the sides of his shelves,
the floor, and all of it connected.

“Smoke,” is all he said, when Cherry asked him what it was.
It looked like smoke; black stylized smoke, leading down the walls and
everything else onto the hardwood floors. These floors had once been beautiful.
Not that Jim had ever seen them that way, but he imagined at some point they
would have had to have been. When everyone arrived the floor was as far as
Tattoo Nik had gotten. Soup gave him the money, Nik handed out the gack, a bead
of sweat running down the side of his stubble-covered head, tracking down his
temple and getting lost in the scruff on his cheeks that led down to a long,
pointed goatee. They offered him a bump and asked him to pass the mirror. Nik
was sitting on the couch then. He lifted the edge of his coffee table and the
entire top rose up, revealing a massive compartment hidden beneath. It was a
surprise the first time Jim ever saw it, and he’d always loved that coffee
table, wished he could find one just like it for himself. The only thing that
surprised Jim today was that there was nothing on the top of it.

Out of the compartment Tattoo Nik took a large round mirror
with a massive arts and crafts razor blade sitting atop it. Jim sat at the
opposite end of the couch from Nik, and when Cherry sat between them, Jim’s
throat seemed to close for just a moment, and for that moment, he forgot all
about the dope.  In that moment there was only Cherry; so much more than her
perfect, petite little body or her stunning face, right out of a Renaissance
painting of an angel. Her hair was a light honey-blonde, a streak of bright red
dyed in the front. She pushed this lock of hair behind her ear and put her hand
on Jim’s knee to steady herself when she sat and turned to smile at him and he
could swear to god he felt his heart just break.

Soup took the mirror and dropped the dope on it and started
chopping it up and chalking it out. The shitty blue jailhouse ink on his hands
and wrists seemed to almost come to life with the motion of the bones and
tendons rippling beneath them; his ink almost as far from the artwork that
covered Nik’s arms, legs, chest. Soup was a good guy though, Jim thought. He’d
never sell you out or rip you off and sure he’d been inside but that didn’t
mean shit. Some of the best people in the world were ex-cons.

Two Step stood over by the wall, his fingers drumming a
frenetic, muted rhythm on the legs of his dirty, torn jeans. For a moment he
looked like a skeleton with dark skin stretched over the top of it, maybe a
little stuffing inside but not much. His head seemed to be all bulging eyes and
slightly yellowed teeth. He smiled at Jim like one of those shrunken heads you
see in movies but then Jim blinked and it was just Two Step, doing his thing,
no skinnier than anyone else.

Soup measured out five little lines of equal length and
width. If it were coke these lines would have been nothing. But it wasn’t coke.

Soup took a tooter out of his pocket; nothing fancy, just a
couple of white inches from what used to be a Bic pen. He put the tooter up his
large, hooked nose and did his line and stamped his feet and passed the mirror and
the tooter to Two Step, and the mirror went around the circle. From Two Step it
went to Tattoo Nik, then Cherry, then Jim. Jim didn’t mind being last. There
are geeter heads that got upset about that kind of thing: the etiquette, or
rotation. As long as he got what he paid for Jim didn’t give a fuck about any
of that other stuff.

Not yet, anyway.

Normally Jim would wipe the end of the tooter that had been
up the nose of the person before him but it had been in Cherry’s nose last so
that didn’t bother him, either. He looked down at the mirror, and the pile of
crystal meth on it. The last line, his line, ran through the plain pale face in
the mirror like a thin gray scar.


This concerned him. He wondered if the shit was going to be
mostly cut garbage and looked over at Cherry. Her eyes were wide open and
rolled back in her head and she had a look on her face as if she’d just come.
She shook her head a little and looked at Jim and gave the faintest of nods,
something most other people wouldn’t even have been able to detect and by this
he knew that no matter the color this shit was going to be good. The
anticipation shivered through him and he felt that same closing of his throat
as when Cherry had sat next to him.

He turned his head away from the mirror and breathed out.
Jim put the tooter in his nose and lowered the other end to the line and looked
at his reflection again, the same dull green eyes and dishwater blonde hair
staring back at him. He had a pimple on his temple and needed a shave.

No, Jim decided. What he needed was to find something to
snort off of that wouldn’t show him his reflection. He hoovered the line and it
hit him in the back of the brain like a KO punch. The broken glass and the
tightness fell out of his bones and the world sped back up to where it needed
to be. He felt that first immediate charge like a cosmic firework in his head
and in his balls.

Cherry was studying what Tattoo Nik had been calling his
Masterpiece, the smoke he’d been drawing on the walls and floors. Two Step
caught Jim looking at him and gave this big toothy grin and did his dance for
just a second, some fucked up hybrid cross between the Running Man and the
Funky Chicken. Soup took the mirror from Jim and began chopping up more. No one
was ready for another line yet, but that’s just what Soup liked to do. He
played with it. He chopped it up so fine you could swear you could get high
just by rubbing it into your skin, that the grains were so minuscule they would
just be swallowed up whole by the pores.

“Now you can’t move,” Tattoo Nik said. “It’ll fuck up my
vision. I need my vision. Can you do that? For maybe fifteen minutes? No
getting up? No one needs anything? Nothing to drink? I know none of you need to
take a shit. And no dancing, Two. Fifteen minutes, guys; can you give me
fifteen minutes?”

“Sure thing,” Jim said.

Tattoo Nik turned up some Social D with his stereo remote,
loud but not so loud that you couldn’t talk. He sunk to his knees in front of
the couch and then lay over the coffee table on his stomach and continued
drawing on the floor. She had plenty of room to move over, but Cherry stayed
where she was, next to Jim.

Though his feet were not moving, every other part of Two
Step was.

“Did you hear about that sheep?” Cherry asked the room in
general. “These scientists genetically engineered this sheep so that it has
eighty-five percent sheep DNA and fifteen percent human DNA. They say most of
the organs are at least part human.”

Jim laughed. “Why?” he asked.

“Organs transplants, eventually,” Cherry said.

“So you ea ih zat may ih cannalism?” Soup asked.

“Put your fucking teeth in, man,” Two Step said.

Soup had almost no teeth left in his head that were his own.
He’d only been using for a couple years now but some people it just grabbed a
hold of, and quick. Faster than others. Faster than it seemed fair, really.
Soup was twenty years old, the youngest in the crew, and he looked fucking

Soup took a little plastic box out of his pocket and pulled
a set of cheap dentures from them, his sallow face twisting into a grimace of
distaste that was matched in his bloodshot, yellow eyes. If he left them in too
long his gums would start to bleed but he didn’t have insurance of course and
this was all the prison dental program had provided him with. They might as well
be made of fucking wood for how real they looked. He grimaced a little, part
pain part shame part disgust, as he popped them in then bit down on them a
couple times.

“So if you eat the fucking sheep does that make it
cannibalism?” Soup asked again.

“And how much percent of a human does a sheep need to be
before it gets a vote?” Jim asked. “And does it still make it bestiality?”

“Why, you looking to start fucking sheep?” Two Step asked.

“It just seems so wrong,” Cherry said. “Doesn’t a sheep have
enough fucking problems without having to add being part human to the

“Maybe this is how
Animal Farm
starts out,” Two Step

Tattoo Nik was now done with the floor and was twisting
these lines up the legs of his cherry-wood coffee table that he’d mentioned
once just conversationally not to be a bragging or anything but that it cost
his mom who bought it for him about twelve hundred dollars. It had been a
Christmas present, brand new just six months ago and now you couldn’t sell the
fucking thing at a flea market.

“You been writing anymore?” Cherry asked Jim.

“A little. Poetry, short stories, that kind of thing.”

“Can I read some sometime?”


“What I’d like to do is write a song with you,” Cherry said.
“Use your words. I can’t write lyrics to save my life.”

This was not true. Cherry judged her lyrics for the quality
of the symbolism. Metaphors, similes, all that kind of shit. But her words had
a pure and perfect simplicity to them, just like her eyes when she woke up
after a nice long Valium-induced come-down sleep, or like right now when they
were razor sharp, when the initial spike of the line has leveled off and the
rest is just spin spin spin.

Jim looked into her eyes. Cold Winter Blue, he thought to
himself; sure the sky is the same color in spring but while her eyes are full
of love he’s never associated them with warmth, or the spring. She has pain
inside them, even though the rest of her body exudes sex and love and
friendship and closeness. Besides, Jim thought. The clear sky on a winter day is
more beautiful than in the spring because in the spring that’s how the sky
supposed to be, clear and blue. Sure it’s clear and blue in the winter but they
remind Jim of the sky after a huge fucking snowstorm like the blizzard that
year as a child he was sent to live at his grandparents’ house in Denver, they
got like three feet in two days. For a month you never really saw the sky, just
these fat heavy clouds the color of concrete and gunmetal. But that morning
when they cleared, when he went outside and there was this bright blue sky,
full of the promise that spring would come, that everything would be better,
that even though things were cold, dead, bleak, frozen, and fucked up--despite
that, everything would be okay, and sooner than you thought. That’s what
Cherry’s eyes reminded Jim of.

Tattoo Nik was now drawing on the top of the coffee table,
the thick and thin lines weaving and intersecting. It wasn’t just smoke, there
were things in the smoke; eyes and skulls and words, angels and devils and
naked women, hidden messages and landscapes. Nik laid his hand flat on the
coffee table, palm down, fingers splayed wide. He drew right up to his hand,
but never on it.

Tattoo Nik capped the pen and threw it over his shoulder and
in one fluid motion stood and leaped over the coffee table, landing on the
other side. He took off at a sprint to the end of the hall where he banked a
hard right into his bedroom.

“What the fuck?” Soup asked.

Two Step shrugged and played with the St. Christopher
medallion he always wore, the small silver disk flashing occasionally in the
lights from overhead when it crept through his fingers and found it.

“You heard about Reanna, right?” Two Step asked.

“She married an asshole?” Jim asked. Cherry laughed and
leaned her head on his shoulder. Then she sat up straight. She put her hand in
his and squeezed it, put her hands in her lap, folded them, scratched her arm,
played with her hair, finally sat on them and contented herself with rocking
back and forth, just a little.

“Well, yeah,” Two Step said. “We all know that. But did you
hear what he did to her?”

“What’d he do?” Soup asked, his eyes wide, staring at his
friend as if perhaps this was the answer to the question of life, the key to
the universe and everything in it. When he was grinding, Soup looked at just
about everyone that way, no matter what they said. From the back bedroom were
sounds of Tattoo Nik kicking things over, throwing them, bouncing something off
the wall.

A shoe, Jim’s spinning, gacked-out mind thought. I bet that
was a shoe. It had to be. He threw a shoe a...left! A left shoe. That is the
only thing in the world that could have made that exact sound.

“So Reanna was cooking, right? Not
but you know...making food. Trying to maybe get Chris to eat something so she
could talk to him. Get him to come down a little, I guess,” Two Step said. “And
you know what Chris is like. Remember that time he kicked their cat across the
fucking room because he said it was staring at him? BAM! That fucking thing
went flying son! And he’s getting worse. Lance was over there the other day and
told me Chris liked to put a fucking whipping on her, right, over some stupid
shit, he couldn’t find the remote or something and all the sudden just stands
up and takes his belt off and starts fuckin whaling on her, right?”

“Jesus fucking Christ!” Cherry said. “And Lance just sat
there! Someone--”

“No wait. Wait!” Two Step held his hands up, shifting back
and forth on his feet back and forth, back and forth, the rhythm of the world
coursing through his brain and his veins in and out, in and out, back and
forth, the tides bowed to this rhythm, it was the same that spun the earth and
controlled the moon. “So that was like a week ago, yeah? That he beat her with
his belt, so now,
she’s trying to figure out a way to get him down,
he’d been up and at it for like
nine days

“Bullshit,” Jim said.

“Ssh! So for nine days,” Two Step continued. “Just bang bang
bang on the pipe, right? So she thinks she’ll make him some food and maybe
it’ll slow him down a little so she went out and bought this twenty dollar
fucking steak and cooked that shit up with seasonings and spices and she had a
little A-1 going and shit, some garlic spuds and shit, and when she brings it
to him he says
bitch this ain’t medium-well
and he throws the plate
across the room and grabs her by the neck. That’s when Lance left. He went back
over the next morning and the fucking pigs was crawling, man, like
Come to find out Chris choke her out man. Kilt her ass. Over a muh-fuckin

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