The Governor did not call.
Last night, I found a freshly dead fly on the window sill. I picked it up and somberly took it out to the garage and dropped it onto the black widow, Aragog’s tangled web. She had requested grasshopper for her last meal but government cut-backs are tough and grasshopper was not in the Arachnid Death Row’s budget.
It was a long night. Outside various spider species gathered outside the garage door, holding very tiny candles.
The slow dawn came in with overcast skies and a slight drizzle. As I walked from my bedroom, through the studio toward the garage, Butler and Bagman doffed their hats and bowed their heads. I was touched because neither of them wear hats and had acquired them for the sole purpose of doffing them.
BUTLER: “Be strong, Mark. You are doing the right thing.”
BAGMAN: “What is doffing anyway?”
BUTLER: “It is a contraction of ‘do,’ in the sense of ‘put’ and ‘off’.”
I didn’t care but continued to the garage, opened the garage door, causing hundreds of spiders to run into the grass dropping their tiny candles which sparkled, sputtered, and went out on the driveway. Aragog, the black widow, was hanging in her nest patiently. She declined my offer of a cigarette and a blindfold.
There was no sense in delaying the inevitable. Karen had already expressed her relief that I was finally getting rid of the spider. After trying, several times, to tie a tiny noose out of black thread, I had given up and decided to use a can of wasp spray which affectively shoots poison from a safe distance. In the past I had fought off squadrons of wasps in the Battle of the Eaves.
I stood back, aimed, and let it fly. Unable to watch, I involuntarily shut my eyes. When I opened them again, SHE WAS GONE! “Gaaaa!” I cried. You just can’t trust poisonous spiders anymore!
I ran up to the web, dangerously close and started spraying the ladder, the flower pot, the boards, the cracks in the boards. I sprayed extra amounts on the egg sac. The acrid smell of poison filled the garage. White drops were dripping from everywhere! I stepped back, breathing heavily. Maybe she had escaped? Part of me hoped that she been successful in her attempt to flee but part of me was thinking about how my grandchildren might play in the garage.
Suddenly a movement caught my eye and Aragog dropped from the second rung of the ladder and fell into her own web, twisted and motionless. It was done.
I walked forward to take a closer look and almost fell backward when she jumped upright on all eights and stared at me. I stared right into her eyes, felt a strange sense of mutual understanding, and…
(If you are squeamish, please look away now).
…squirted directly into her face.
Now it was really over.
Walking back into the house, my wife saw my look of sadness and, with great compassion, said, “You are really getting crazier every day.”