Day 28: Nobody Likes a Spider

Jeremy sat at the bot­tom of the bath and felt lonely. He knew exactly how he’d ended up here but he didn’t think there was any way for him to get back out. He’d tried scram­bling up the side, but his legs wouldn’t grip. He’d tried using web to hoist him­self up, but his web wouldn’t stick. He’d even tried jump­ing, but there wasn’t any­thing to grab hold of. His legs just slipped away on the sides.

If only he hadn’t fallen down here, he thought, then things would be so much easier. He should have just walked around it, taken the long way, instead of assum­ing that this would be a short cut. Now he was down here with the plug hole and a fea­ture­less plain of white. There was a chain hanging by the taps which he had tried to jump for, but it was just out of reach. He’d tried for ages, but he’d got tired and each jump had star­ted been lower than the last.

And now he was stuck here per­man­ently. Until some­body found him and got rid of him by turn­ing on the taps or squash­ing him with some­thing. He’d seen what happened to spiders when they got wet. Their legs weren’t built for it and the flapped around at the mercy of the water, being dragged wherever it was going. In his present situ­ation, that would take him right down the plughole.

Of course, he’d heard stor­ies of sur­viv­ors, spiders that had been offered a piece of paper and a glass which, if they scur­ried into it, would take them out of the bath and back to some­where they could sur­vive. He didn’t believe those stor­ies though. They were wish­ful think­ing. Or some­thing to give hope to any spider that did find them­selves in a bath. Little com­fort if you didn’t believe the tales, really.

He had resigned him­self to his fate. He hadn’t wanted to, but there didn’t seem to be much else to do except wait for the inev­it­able to come. He felt that he should be doing everything he could to escape, but the prob­lem with that was that he already had. It hadn’t taken him very long; there weren’t many options.

He went to explore the drain again. There was a slow and steady drip of water from the tap which was splash­ing just next to the plug hole, snak­ing its way towards it and then drib­bling down. He dipped a leg in it and then recoiled in hor­ror. All the hairs on his leg were stuck down and he could barely move it.

He remembered when he’d last heard a tale about some­body escap­ing from a bath. It had been him and two other spiders, one older, one younger. The older one kept claim­ing that he’d been lif­ted out of the bath by a benefactor.

With a piece of paper and a glass,” he had said, “they just her­ded me onto it and took me out­side and let me go. Sure, I was scared at first, but once I saw out­doors I knew that I’d been saved. I’d seen other spiders end up in baths and get washed straight down the drain.

It was hor­rible. Abso­lutely hor­rible. I’ve even seen some squished, and that I just don’t under­stand at all. Why squish them? Why sully your­self with that when you’ve got a tap right there?” he’d tapped his front legs at this point in what, for a spider, was a shrug, “sense­less. It was senseless.”

Bull­shit,” said the younger spider, “nobody comes along with a piece of paper and a glass to carry you away from your troubles. You’ve got to make your own way out. Climb out of the bath your­self. And if you can’t do that then you’re fucked.”

The older spider tapped his front legs again, “not how I recall it.”

Your story is a lie. You get your­self out of a bath or you’re fucked. Know how I did it? With a towel. I got a towel down with me in there and I climbed up it and out I went. Soon as the door opened I was out and away! Fly­ing down the stairs and out into the garden. That’s how you save your­self. Use your smarts and your strength and get out,” he bobbed his body up and down in a nod.

Tell me, young­ster,” said the older spider, “how’d that towel get in the bath?”

This time the younger spider tapped his front legs. “Who knows?”

Well, I doubt our friend would have to worry about any­thing like that. Big lad like him’ll take care of him­self, I’m sure.”

Huh,” said the younger spider, “if he’s got brains like I have, maybe.”

The spider who was now stuck in the bath hadn’t cared much what either of them said. He’d listened, sure, and he’d remembered the con­ver­sa­tion, but neither of them had given him any use­ful advice. He was reli­ant entirely on out­side cir­cum­stances so there was no use wor­ry­ing about it.

He walked back to the end of the bath and waited whilst his leg dried. He shook it occa­sion­ally but it didn’t seem to make much dif­fer­ence. It would sort itself out even­tu­ally, he decided, and crouched down, wait­ing for some­thing to change, for some­body to walk in.

Finally, he heard the door open. Foot­steps approached the bath and he saw a shadow appear on the wall above him. He could hear the swish of a dress­ing gown as some­body came closer. They appeared above him but were facing the wrong way. He pressed him­self against the bot­tom of the bath and they crossed to the other end, near the taps. They leant down, and reached for the taps.

This is it, thought the spider, here comes the water. Then, he saw his chance. He sud­denly real­ised that there was a way out of this if he used his strength and his smarts.

He ran for­wards and leapt, reach­ing up with his long, front legs and wrap­ping them around the person’s neck. He pulled him­self up on their face and smothered them.

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