the widow maker.

i found a black widow spider, circled below in red, inside an old grill.

i attempted to capture it in an empty apple juice bottle, and resettling it elsewhere, as i didn’t believe trespassing on abandoned territory was punishable by death. also, i hoped it could teach me something about grief. with gloved hands, i picked up a long stick to guide it towards its new home, but it was too quick. i slowly removed the grate and pieces of charcoal so i could view its hiding places.

few things are more invigorating than tracking something using insufficient weaponry. it would only take a couple quick movements on its part or a couple blinks of the eye on my end, to allow it the opportunity to knock me onto the grass where i would convulse and foam until death permitted me solace. for a brief time i felt like a fencer, parrying and riposting, performing balestras and fleches across the field, fighting with the grim reaper.

i thought about life and death, about how close they are, and about how we take things for granted, because you never know when you’re going to have to remove something as dangerous as a black widow from your backyard. later i read that the mortality rate from the spider’s bite if not treated with anti-venom, which i would have likely avoided, was around one percent, so all of my ideas about heroism, the flash of the sword, and impending doom, were false, as it would no doubt take a better war to kill a college man like me. the red hourglass on its abdomen, i learned, was less a symbol of the sands of time quickly slipping through our hands and, instead, more like the end of a game of boggle.

needless to say the spider passed away after i accidentally broke off one of its legs. in addition, there was still a bit of juice in the container, so as it labored, pulling itself across its prison’s floor in a horrifyingly depressing display, it drowned.

the next day i returned to the spot to say a few words of condolence. before me was a web with a hastily scrawled message, woven with seemingly-benign pink thread, evidence both that the spider has a sense of humor and that it mocks our feeble attempts at superiority.

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