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Spider Massacre

The spider massacre began in the kitchen and quickly spread throughout the house. I used Windex because it killed them on contact and made me feel that my cause was worthy, clean, righteous and germ-free. The campaign to rid my home of spiders was just from the very start. But did this make it any less evil? I thought about this for a moment but then considered the consequences of holding back. If we allow these spiders to live in the corners of our homes, soon they will be marrying our daughters and going to our schools!

It all reminded me of something Sigmund Freud once said to me in a dream at a bus bench in front of the lobby of a sperm bank while smoking a giant cigar. He said, "Comrade, if all guns were outlawed, then only outlaws would have guns." I thought about his words, considered the pungent expression on his lips, observed the uneasiness with which he stroked his well-groomed beard. And I noticed the AK-47 assault rifle, which hung proudly from his shoulder, and I wondered if he was holding something back – something critical. Was this a trap?

When I awoke from my dream, I was alone in a one bedroom suite at a luxury Palm Springs hotel. I went out onto the balcony, which overlooked the small downtown shopping district. The main strip was backed up with cars filled with screaming college kids on their spring break. The mountains looked as though there were alive, surrounded by soft palm trees, which swayed delicately in the wind. The giant sun was orange and fiery red, which bled purple and pink into the cotton-like clouds, which sucked in the colors hungry and without remorse.

And I stood there and I wept – not for the beauty of the dream or the urgent reminders of my lost youth parading in the streets below. I wept because I had left my keys in the room and had, once again, locked myself out.

And the spiders in the corners of the room, they mocked me, safe behind the beveled glass of locked French doors. They laughed at my misfortune.

And I wondered, what would Andy Warhol do? And I wondered, what had happened to the days of my youth gone by? And I tried to recall the parent-teacher conference wherein it was decided that I would repeat the first grade. And days gone by. And days that bled like the sun into the clouds. And mouths of girls I never kissed. And trails left behind sailing ships that rode off into the setting sun. Days gone by. And days gone by. And days gone by.

It was morning before housekeeping was able to let me back into my room. I handed the maid an Evian bottle filled with urine, took a shower, had room service send up a cup of English Breakfast tea, some Eggs Florentine, filtered carrot juice and a copy of the Los Angeles Times. On the cover a man in a suit shook his fist while yelling something at a crowd of people. The crowd of people shook their fists and yelled something back. I couldn't tell by the photograph whether they were with him or against him.

When my thumb pressed the button on the remote control, the television screen was filled with static.


- Eric Allen Bell

Eric Allen Bell

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