He’d been up since eight but had done nothing. He had masturbated, to a midget. That was it. Two hours of culling through this midget’s oeuvre to find the optimum clip to masturbate to. Little person, rather. If he ever encountered a midget, he would have to take pains to correct himself. They consider “midget” a slur. Their vaginas and assholes are as deep as a normal sized woman’s, he had learned.
He’d been laid off six weeks ago and had accomplished nothing in that time, but that was fine. He’d accomplished nothing at work either and at least now he wasn’t being brutalized by assholes. He wasn’t stealing from anybody, or killing people. His old job had been in insurance and he’d spent the day fucking people over. Getting to zero was a net gain for the world.
Work was gone but there was still the same sense of urgency, just about bullshit now. The gas bill was due, the phone bill was due. Or rather, so far past due that Verizon sent texts with important new information about urgent changes to your account. Give us money. The DMV had important information about his auto registration, which was that it had been suspended because Progressive hadn’t sent along the required confirmation of insurance. To re-register, give us money. Progressive hadn’t sent the papers to the DMV because his bill was precisely one minute past due. Their text said sorry that you left us. Sorry that you left us, give us money. Fuck you, pay me, was all every letter and text and phone call ever said. If they actually used those words maybe he’d pay on time. It would certainly make the mail more interesting.
Find a doctor before your insurance runs out and make an appointment. Find a dentist. Find your true calling in life and pursue it. Wash the dishes. Fold the laundry. So much scattered shit, it was fucking hopeless. You couldn’t start with any one thing. The fish tank was mossy like sewer pipe flowing into a river and the fish were choking on long strands of string algae. The cat’s litter box hadn’t been emptied in two weeks. He was an abusive pet owner. Maybe I should start there. The poor fucking cat. I’m all he has in the world. He started to get up.
She was over the edge, finally. There had been a smooth sheer wall and she was missing a few legs and hadn’t eaten in days. She was pregnant. The eggs were already stripping fuel from her body. But she had made it. There was an expanse of sand and rock and the smell of mites and maggots lighting up her antennae. There was food here for many days. She would live; her children would live.
She scuttled across the stones. The smell of meat set her nerves on fire and she moved fast. Then stopped. There was a pull at her foot. Like a hook holding her. She ran forward and her feet just scraped at the sand.
There was a string around her ankle, silk, and it was trembling. From the darkness a shape came, hissing. A monster. It was climbing toward her impossibly fast, like it was dancing on the wires, mandibles clenching and unclenching. It was almost on her. She kicked her leg, hoping either to pull it off the string or leave the leg behind, twitching. A distraction. But there was just a wrenching burn in her hip and nothing budged. The thing was here now, slavering, raising its pointed gut to cocoon her. But she had tricks of her own. She bit back at it and it flinched. She had venom for making little grubs stop thrashing but it stung the big thing too and it reared back. Not long enough. Another of her legs was caught now. The web was shaking and when it shook new strings latched on to her feet and the more she thrashed around the tighter they got.
It bit her. She had armor, it only nicked her a bit but she felt the hot sting of its poison sneaking into her blood. Her head was swimming. If she lost now she was dead. Her eggs were dead. The thing picked her up and started spinning her around. The ropes tangling her legs. She was slipping. But no. Not now. Not here, she thought, and with her last strength she twisted her long spiny body around and faced the thing on top of her and bit and bit and bit, her pincers stabbing poison into its gut, and it recoiled, it was thrashing blindly, almost crushing her, but it slowed. It was dying. It fell into the sand and the stones and jerked and was still.
She was still in the trap. Her strength was gone. But not now. Not here. She dragged herself forward as far as she could go. The rocks were stuck together here. Water had hit them and made solid ground. She sunk her claws in the cracks and with a final surge she pulled forward and her legs popped off, four of them, a string of flesh trailing from the stumps, the legs twitching, and she hauled herself onto flat rock. She was hurt and she was tired but she was alive. She scuttled to the spider’s body. Sunk her pincers into its flesh. Enough for days. She would eat. She would live. She would give birth.
OK, fucking finally, I’m gonna get up. How many more times can I jerk off, Jesus. The litter box. Start there. So the cat doesn’t have to look wistfully at his filthy shitbox while a Sarah McLachlan song plays. He got a trash bag. The last one. Went and pried the litterbox out from next to the toilet and, grunting, tilted it one handed into the bag until it was empty. Good thing, he thought. There was a dead spider and a fucking silverfish in there.