Why is it that when I find a spider it’s in my bathroom? In such a private place! It’s an invasion of privacy, really, to have a spider in there while I have my pants pulled down, my ass cheeks exposed , settling down to take care of business. Then, bam! I see it there on the ceiling, showing off its ability to defy gravity. I’m glad Chelsea isn’t the one that found it. She’s scared of spiders a bit more than I am but I don’t let her know that, of course. I’m supposed to be the fearless boyfriend and natural spider killer in the relationship. Well, I’ll show this spider just who they are messing with.
I pull up my pants and scramble to the mail basket on my desk and grab some junky gossip magazine of Chelsea’s, rolling it up as I go back into the bathroom. It’s a fast little bugger, already on the opposite side of the wall, crawling at a diagonal towards the showerhead. Ha! It thinks it can hide from me.
Before I kill it I get this urge to see it up close. Slowly tiptoeing up to the shower, I stand on the raised edge and bring my face as close as I can to it. It’s not that big, light brown with multiple legs, the front two looking longer than all the rest. Its shiny black eyes give me the creeps. Ok, that’s enough observation; I lift up the magazine and get poised to whack it when…
“NO! No no no no! Please don’t kill me!”
I jump back, not sure that I actually heard what I think I just heard. Those few beers I had are not nearly enough to get me to start hearing talking spiders. Too bad Chelsea’s not here. She’d have the vacuum in the bathroom in two seconds and sucked that nasty thing with the extension wand. Job done. God, I miss her. Taking a break was her idea, but I didn’t really say much against it. Too clingy, she’d said. I’m too clingy.
“Please! I was brought in here! On a plant that you brought in! Don’t kill me!”
“What the hell is going on?” I say. I shake my head and slap my face. “You’re just imagining, Brad. It’s all in your head. No such things as talking spiders.” I lift up the magazine again, ready to strike. Just then it scurries up the wall, into a corner I can’t reach, magazine slapping the wall.
“Damn!” I say, as the spider stays in its sanctuary corner.
“Listen, I don’t want to be in here. I have kids! Just let me out and I’ll never come here again, I promise!”
“I must be dreaming, this must be a dream. A crazy ass dream.”
“No! Listen, you brought me in with the plant! Remember? The plant?”
I scratch my head and look at the puny little speck of the spider; I’m probably a thousand times bigger than it. Its voice is high pitched, like a female version of Alvin and the Chipmunks. I almost think I can recognize the voice as one of my ex-girlfriends; if this is a dream I must have heard that voice somewhere, right? Man, I still need to go to the bathroom. Wait… if this were a dream I wouldn’t need to go the bathroom, I don’t think. This is all too weird. I can’t go bathroom with the spider in here. Backing out of the room, not taking my eye off the spider, I go to the bathroom that’s meant for guests. As if I were a guest in my own place.
Relieved after going to the bathroom, I walk back down the dark little hallway to my room. The clock on my bedside table says its 10:18 pm; it’s really not that late. The light is still on in my bathroom and it shines into my bedroom. Biting my already stubby fingernails, pacing in front of the bathroom door, not sure if I’m going nuts, I gnaw on my skin until it’s raw, red and painful. My phone screen lights up as I flip it open, a picture of Chelsea comes up as my background. I sit on the edge of the corner of my bed, tapping the heel of my right foot on the floor. Call her or not, call her or not? What would I say?
“Hey… uh, would you mind coming over? Yeah, right now. No, nothing’s wrong with me. I’m fine. It’s just that, well, I think there’s a talking spider in the bathroom.”
No. What I need to do is stop being a little chicken shit, it’s just a spider. She’d probably just think I’m a bigger whack job than she originally thought. I was imagining it talking. Duh. Taking a deep breath, I go back in the bathroom, ready to whack that spider when I realize it’s gone. The air comes whooshing out of me. I whirl around, scouring the entire ceiling and there’s no spider in sight. I look into the mirror.
“You’re going fuckin’ crazy, dude!” I lightly slap my stubby cheek. I really must have imagined it all. The earthy, yeasty taste of beer is still in my mouth. The minty toothpaste I use to brush my teeth erases the traces of the beer. A zit on my chin is starting to irritate me. I stick my chin out and lean up against the counter, in front of the mirror, to pop it when out of the corner of my eye I see it! The spider! Jumping back, I nearly fall into the shower but somehow I grab onto the towel rack for balance.
“I want to get out of here, ok? Don’t hurt me,” the spider pleads as it climbs the wall by the light switch and onto the counter. “I’ve been trapped in this place for a few days and I just want to go back to my home, to my kids.”
“This can’t be happening, this can’t be happening. Spiders. Don’t. Talk.” Gulping, I worry that maybe the beer was spiked. It tasted a bit off.
“All you have to do is take me outside. You’ll never see me again. Ever. And honestly, I’m the least of your problems. You’ve some nasty roach activity going on in the pantry. Just saying.”
“What? Why haven’t you gone out when I’ve opened the door? Wait, you’ve been in my pantry?”
The spider moves closer, probably sensing I won’t be the cause of its death. “Maybe because I didn’t want you or what’s her face to squish me!”
“Huh. What was that about ro-“I squeeze my eyes shut and shake my head. “What the hell is going with you, talking to a freaking spider?”
“Take a deep breath” it says, getting closer to me. “It’s ok.”
“Don’t talk to me like I’m crazy! I’m not crazy!” My knuckles turn white as I grip the towel rack, my eyes are so wide open they feel like they are going to pop out of their sockets and land on the spider.
“Alright, just… just take me outside.”
Practically running out the bathroom door, I get the fly swatter underneath the kitchen sink. Looking over my shoulder at the closed pantry door, I can almost imagine hearing nasty roach activity. Invisible invaders getting into my Cocoa Puffs and Wonder Bread.
“Assholes,” I say loudly, hoping they can hear me.
I unlock the front door before I head back, that way I can quickly let the spider out. It’s still on the bathroom counter when I get back. Holding to a swatter handle with my thumb and pointer finger, I lay it right by the spider. It instantly scoots away from it.
“Get on. Before I change my mind.” It gets on without a word after a few seconds, possibly concerned this may very well be a trick.
Gingerly, I walk toward the front door, carefully not to drop the swatter and lose sight of the spider. I don’t think I could sleep knowing there’s a talking spider at large in my apartment. And now I know about the roaches. Stopping a few feet from the door, I bring up the spider up to my eye level.
“I won’t be so nice the next time around. What’s your name?” Feeling a bit stupid, I wait for the spider to answer.
“Vera” she said. After a moment she added, “I’ll be known as the one that didn’t get squished.
Laughing, reaching with my left hand the knob, the door swings open, knocking the swatter out of my hand onto the floor and sending a surprise shock through me. I look at the small speck on the ground, Vera, and look up at Chelsea’s confused, yet cheerful face.
“Hey, were you on your way out?” She steps past me with her duffel bag in tow. She was going to be spending the night apparently. “I got into a fight with Sienna; she thinks she can just leave her dirty underwear lying around the apartment and that I’ll be fine with it! It’s time for her to move out. Plus, I realized just how much I’ve missed you, babe.” She teasingly bites me pink lips, looking at me with her head tilted in that tantalizing way.
There was just a brown splotch where Vera had fallen; bits of her were probably stuck to the sole of Chelsea’s shoe. I just standd by the open door, squatter still on the floor, mouth hanging open.
Chelsea looks at me; hands on her hips, and starts tapping her little foot.
“Hello? What is it? Am I interrupting something? Is someone here?” She twirls around, peering into the kitchen, opening the coat closet, and walking back into the bedroom, before coming back to face me. She closes the front door.
“I’m not cheating on you,” I whisper. “You don’t need to search the place.”
“Can you tell me why you’re acting so weird?” She steps closer to me and notices the swatter on the floor and the brown splotch. “Ugh!” She leans down to inspect the remains.
“What were you doing with this? What’s that brown thing?”
“I was…um, I found a spider and I was taking it outside when you came in” I say, shrugging like it’s something I do on a daily basis. I leave out the part about its name being Vera and that it spoke to me.
“Oh, honey.” Chelsea kisses me on the cheek and places her hand on my chest. “That’s so sweet of you. You could have just vacuumed it.” As she turns to pick up her duffel bag, her hair whips my face.
“I’ll make us some popcorn and we can watch a movie!” she yells from the bedroom.
“I’m sorry” I whisper to the squished Vera and as pick up the swatter and remove all traces of a life. “I’m so sorry.”