Once upon a time I woke to a nightmare — tarantula on my face. Get off — get off. Move — it’s moving — stop moving. Don’t breathe. I’ll die. Stick its fangs into my face and I’ll die. Swell my cheeks as big as my face — won’t be able to breathe and I’ll die. Calm down — can’t. Tarantula. TARANTULA.
Hush radio — you woke me up already. Don’t excite it. Def Leopard — Death Tarantula. I might never have woken up. Never.
Thick legs — right over my eye. Gonna to stick its fangs in my eye. Pluck it out like a grape. Hairs tickling — don’t sneeze — stop moving. It keeps moving. I was dreaming about this. Nightmaring about this. Eric’s fault. Why did I ever let him leave it with me? Why would a stupid face-hugging spider need to be baby sat? Can’t you just throw a handful of flies in its box?
It’s shivering. Is it going to bite — I know it. Going to lay its eggs under my eye lids. I’ll have thousands of tiny eyes under there — popping into baby spiders. Weeping horror. It’s Mom’s fault. Should have kept it upstairs — in the attic. She was right. She didn’t want it anywhere near her. Stupid — stupid. Pretending to be brave — I’ll just have it in the basement with me. Sure. That’s why I’ve been having nightmares.
What am I going go do? Keeps tickling my nose — stupid hairy monster — get off me. What will happen if I sneeze? Up and down — abdomen on my mouth — hairy — poison-filled sack. Ugh. God. What did I do to deserve this? Keep still — it clenches when I move. Don’t stress it out — it’s stressing me out. Hit it away with my hand? I could. If I’m fast enough.
Paralyzed — arm won’t move. Ugh — spider, don’t — stop shuddering. I’m paralyzed. Must have bitten me already. Gonna be to cocooned in web and slowly eaten. Can’t do anything. Can’t move. I’m dead — I’m dead. No — can feel my toes wiggling. My left arm too. Just not my right. Argh. Must have crawled up my arm and bitten it — paralyzed that whole side. Just one bite on the face and I’ll never feel again.
Can’t move my left arm fast enough — under the sheets. Someone help me. Mom. Mom. Can’t call out. Fat ugly abdomen on my mouth — stiff hairs poking me. Waiting for me to move so it can stab me with dripping fangs. Help. Mom has to hear the radio — she hates that radio. Waking her up every morning — how could it? She’s two stories up. She might come down. Save me.
What do I do? Just wait here? Wait until someone comes? The door’s closed — not that matters — she doesn’t care about my privacy. This is the third song — Whitesnake — not snake — spider. I’m going to be late. Finally got an interview and there’s a spider on my face — who’s gonna believe that? I need to shower — when did I last shower? I need to shave — haven’t shaved in months. How am I going to do that now? Gave myself half an hour — been three songs already.
Stop shaking — scaring the pee out of me — no — don’t pee — don’t even think about it. Either of us — don’t want a face full of spider pee either. Gonna make me its bitch — gonna. Stop thinking about it — how can I stop? It’s right there — right above my eye. Fat legs. Another song? Going to be so late. Can’t go with a face the size of a pumpkin — angry orange. Why did I ever agree to look after it? Creeps me out — more than the green mold in the corner. More than the slimy walls. I hate this basement — I need to move out.
Ow — ow. Shooting pains. The poison — in my arm. Seeping through my blood. Ow. Is it still stabbing me? No — it’s on my face. Venom. Going to reach my brain and turn me into slush — undercooked scrambled eggs. Rot my insides away — just a shell human — filled with spider babies. Mom won’t even notice — she doesn’t care. If she cared she’d know I’m in danger.
Hurts so much. Acid — that’s what it is. Burning pain — all down my arm. This the end — I’ve barely lived. Haven’t got started yet. Who am I kidding? I’ll never start. I’ll never get another interview — never move out of this hole. Just play games — watch crap — do nothing for the rest of my life. My short life — about to die. Not that it matters to anyone but me — not to Mom obviously. The venom’s just speeding up the inevitable — wasted life — wasted death.
Bite me all you want spider — don’t care. It’s useless anyway. Who cares? I don’t — not anymore. What if it just paralyzes me? What if I turn into a vegetable? That would be horrible. No one would notice that either — been paralyzed my whole life — been a vegetable since birth. If I get out of this — if I do — I’m going to live better. Do something positive — do something real. No more of hiding down in this basement. Learn something — be an architect — I always loved Lego.
Be strong — hit that spider away — sit up and brush it off like it was nothing — like the stoic hero in the action-adventure of my own life. I can do it — I can do it — I’m strong. An adult.
"Jeremy, why aren’t you in the shower? Don’t you have an interview?"
Mom — thank god — thank god — save me please.
"Your radio woke me again. Switch it off."
Come in and turn it off yourself. Come in and smash this horrid spider.
"I hope you’re not playing games — you have that interview. Don’t disappoint me Jeremy."
I won’t Mom — I won’t. I’m not playing games — I’m not watching TV. I’m scared. It’s going to bite me. It’s poised above my face — clenched — going to bite my eye. Come in — come in. PLEASE. Don’t care about my privacy now.
"Why aren’t you answering?"
I can’t — I can’t talk — it’ll bite me.
"Are you dressing? I’ll leave you be."
No — don’t go. Don’t leave me to this spider — don’t. Don’t go Mom. Too late — clomping upstairs — microwaving her egg whites — getting the ranch out of the fridge. I’m going to die and she’s making breakfast. My arm hurts so much — burning — melting — she’s coming back.
"Turn that damn racket down — I can’t think up here."
Come in — come in — save me.
My arm hurts, Mom, there’s a spider on my face. Can’t see past the fat legs — is she there? Don’t scare now spider — don’t bite me. Mom is almost here.
"You’re still in bed? Such a disappointment — I should be the one with my hand over my face in shame. I gave birth to you. Get up."
Hand? What hand? My hand — it was my hand. It was dead — dead asleep. Numb. That’s what the pain was — pins and needles. It’s not a spider at all. Ow — my arm. It’s paler than ever.
"Get shaved — looks like your face is covered in ant legs. You’ll never make that interview."
Not ant legs — spider legs. That’s what was tickling — my beard. The spider’s in its box. I’m okay — I’m going to be fine. It’s so good to be alive. Interview after all that? There’s no way I can shave and shower in time. And anyway — Stargate reruns start in five minutes.