The Spider and the Fly


Woven between the Holly Bush and the Abelia, its threads are dew-laden and glorious. She waits, betting on the careless flight of the bumble bee. A couple of neat, gray mummies are  stashed at her side. 

Despite this fantastical web, even a half-caught Dragon Fly will get away… every now and then.

I blow on the silky net. Eight spiky legs unfold and fold back up again.

She’s no fool.

Downtown, the meter man’s tiny electric car parks in the last precious parking space. He draws chalk lines on the backs of tires, scribbles in his ticket book. His pants are creased to perfection.

I circle the block twice. Only the “loading zone” is available.

It takes me about three minutes to get a black coffee if there’s no line. It’ll take him at least five minutes to get back around to my car.

I stumble in my haste, drop my keys on the sidewalk.

The little bell on the coffee shop door chimes. A girl with a steampunk mask sees me and turns back toward the espresso machine.

“I’ll get the lids,” she calls to her manager and saunters to the back room, a teapot bouncing on a spring over her head.

A post-game interview blares from another customer’s I-phone.Two commentators debate the Georgia-Alabama game.

    “…like in ancient Rome,” one says. “Gladiators…met their match.”

    “You wish..see about that when contract renewal season comes around…”

The woman beside him is scrolling through texts. Her crossed leg swings back and forth in time with the Spanish guitar music.

   The Spooky Vanilla Latte is $4.95.

I can see the little electric car at the stop light. His blinker says he’s making a u-turn. I’ve got maybe, two and a half minutes before he gets back to my car.

The barista comes back to the counter. Doesn’t say a word, just looks at me.

I say, “Black coffee please,” careful not to sound too “unhip”.  I say it like I don’t even want it.

She hands me a cup and change.

“Thanks,” I say, smiling my uncool smile.

The Steampunk Teapot waves over her head, giving its silent reproach: You’re uncool. You are un coool. Go away.”

A big black tattoo on her right arm says, “Metal Sucks”. Her eyes meet mine, just back from reading her inked bicep. My smile pleads non-judgement. I drop all the coins in the tip jar, sprint out the door.

He’s parked already.

Six cars from mine.

Ticket book in hand, he heaves himself from his vehicle.

But here comes a Jeep. The ticket man has to wait to cross. I crank and reverse.

My fate is undone. 

He’s right there in my rear view mirror.

But I fly away.

Standing with hands on his hips, he pushes his green-glass sunshades farther up on his nose.

One day…, he thinks, shakes his head.

Back home, the spider has wrapped another body.

She’s twirling it without remorse.

Every flower in my garden is dead except those that refuse to die.

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