Last night I came home very late. My wife was standing in the doorway. I tried to go past her but she would not move.
Where were you? She said.
On a walk.
What kind of walk?
What do you mean what kind of walk. I was on a walk.
You know what I mean. That kind of walk.
I don’t know what you’re talking about, a walk is a walk.
I tried to go around her but still she would not move.
Come here, She said.
My wife grabbed me by the collar and pulled me into the room and began looking at the collar under the light.
Honey, please, I said.
I tried to get away but she wouldn’t let go.
There, I got you, She said.
You got me?
Not you! You...
She lifted her hand into the air. Inside her palm was a black, eight legged spider.
See what I’ve got here? She said.
Oh, what is it, a spider?
Don’t Oh me. This is not any spider. This is the black widow. You slept with the black widow!
No I swear! It’s just a spider.
The spider in my wife’s hand tried to escape, descending down (for what do you expect, to descend up?) a string of silk. But before it reached the ground my wife swooped it back up as if she were knitting.
Into my home! She said.
No! No! You know how that can be- I accidently stepped into a spider web- I had the web all over me. I thought I got it all off, but look: I accidently took the spider home with me. Heh. Here, hand me the spider. I will bring it outside and set it free.
You brought her into my home!?
Don’t dear me. It’s one thing to cheat on me. But to bring this slut under my roof, under my nose…
Slut? Now, come on.
My wife had the black widow cupped between her hands. Trapped.
I know you don’t love me, She said. But that’s not the worst of it. The worst is that you don’t respect me. You don’t love me? So what. But to not even have the decency to conceal your affair!
Darling, please! I said. It’s not quite like that. I, I’m a fool. I’m pathetic. I’m a pathetic, pathetic fool.
Oh Charles, said my wife. You are most certainly a fool. But you are not pathetic.
I looked up at her hopefully.
Don’t think I’m not still angry with you!
A long silence ensued.
Do you remember, I said, that time we were driving, we were in the middle of nowhere, what were we doing there?
Driving to my cousin’s wedding.
Driving to your cousin’s wedding!
And I got lost. So I decided to drive faster. Do you remember that? And you said…
Before my wife could say her line she started to scream in agony, running around the room knocking over furniture in a deadly panic. I tried to restrain her but by the time I got a hold of her her muscles were cold, her lips white and face purple. She collapsed. I bent down to see if she was still breathing. She was not.
I fell to my knees; my soul paralyzed. Then, I felt a cold tickle on the back of my neck. I raised my hand to slap it but stopped myself.
You, I said.
The tickle stopped.
You killed her.
The black widow said nothing.
I put my hand to the back of my neck and she crawled onto my fingers. We stared at each other for some time.
You shouldn’t have done this, I said. It was not necessary.
The black widow said nothing. She did not even blink. I think I saw her heave a deep exhale, if spiders even exhale, I don’t know.
I glanced at my dead wife and fell onto my back in despair, forgetting the room, forgetting the spider.
I felt the tickle move up my arm, across my shoulders and around my chest. Then it passed gracefully over my stomach and down to my pubis.
No. Not now, I said.
The black widow cast her silk web around and around, working her eight, delicate legs. My heart began to hammer and my breath became hot. Then my body grew stiff, almost like a corpse, and went limp.
Black Widow, I said. Black Widow.
Then she bit me.
I had a fit of agony very similar to my wife’s. I yelled at Black Widow. I wanted to kill her. At the last moment I saw her, climbing up a string near the window.
You said…. you said you wouldn’t do that— to me!