Car Spider

February 8, 2008
By Luke Wehner, South Euclid, OH

It's Sunday and I have to go to school tomorrow. Everything is gray because it's raining and the wishing of the windshield wipers is mixing with the voices of the people on NPR who tell jokes I don't understand. I'm driving in the car with my dad. We're going to my grandma's house. She lives about 45 minutes away which means we have to take the freeway. There is a spider in the car. He is very small with big eyes and he is watching me. He is up on the windshield in the corner where spiders usually are when they're in cars. I was in a car with a spider once before but that one was dead and curled up. This one is alive and very small but I wish he was dead. My dad and I are leaning into our seats away from him the way most people do when they see a spider. It's rude to lean away from someone you don't like, like this kid at my school named Tommy who cries a lot and isn't good at kickball, but spiders are different because they have eight legs and I think eight eyes but I might be wrong. Also Tommy couldn't wrap you up and drink your blood. We didn't notice the spider until we got on the freeway.
"You keep an eye on the spider and I'll keep an eye on the road, just until I can find something to kill him with."
I wonder how my dad can keep his eye on the road and look for something to kill the spider with at the same time. I remember when I was very little I would always wonder why you had to keep your eyes on the road. I thought if you were to look away the asphalt would come up in a wave and swallow you whole. You can't take your eye off of it or else it will get you and your dad, like this spider. I'm big now and know that it isn't the road you have to keep an eye on; it's the cars and sometimes squirrels and dogs and sometimes potholes. It's just quicker to say "Keep your eye on the road."
We're silent for a long time. My dad has his eye on the road and his lips are moving even though the radio isn't playing any music, just the voices of the people on the radio talking about the community and books. The spider is still in the corner. If my dad would take his eye off the road we'd probably crash and that would kill all three of us. I think that would be a funny way to kill the spider and I want to tell my dad but tomorrow is a school day and I'd probably get sent to the counselor for saying something like that. The people on NPR tell jokes that don't get them sent to the counselor. The spider is watching me. His eyes are huge and shiny and purplish. He has a lot of eyes and I think he'd be very good at driving. He has two huge eyes and the rest are small. The huge ones are watching me the way my cousin's eyes watch Spongebob Sqaurepants or X-men. The rest are watching me the way a spider watches another bug but they're the small ones so I don't pay attention to them.
He watches and watches and watches.
"Why don't spiders talk?"
"Spiders talk to other spiders."
"Why don't they talk to people?"
"I can't imagine they'd have very much to say to us."
The spider is still watching me. It's rude to stare at people, but I guess it isn't rude if you're a spider. The windshield wipers are moving fast and I keep thinking that they'll knock the spider over, but then I remember that the windshield wipers are on the outside and he is on the inside with me and my dad. I wish he was on the outside. He is a spider and we're people and we don't belong together. People belong with dogs and cats and sometimes hamsters or goldfish and spiders belong with scorpions and snakes and witches. I wonder if this spider knows any witches.
Maybe this spider is coming to visit his grandma too. Maybe his grandma spider lives in the same house as my grandma. There are spiders in my grandma's house - big, hairy ones that run across walls and floors, not small, furry ones who sit quietly in cars and have conversations. Grandma's spiders are hairy like my dad's arms. Our spider is fuzzy like a mitten or a blanket. Outside, the trees that line the freeway are zipping past our car as if they know that we have a spider in here with us and that they should stay away. The clouds don't seem to be moving so I guess they like spiders and scorpions and that stuff.
I look back up in the corner and the spider is gone. He is on the dashboard now. He tried to sneak up on us while we weren't looking I guess. Spiders are sneaky like that. A dog wouldn't try to sneak up on you while you weren't looking, unless he had rabies. Spiders can't get rabies I don't think. They're just naturally sneaky.
"Do you think this spider will make a web in our car?"
"I don't think so. That wouldn't be very practical. There wouldn't be much for him to catch."
I imagine the spider making a web anyway. He would live in our car forever and drive everywhere with us. I would tell all my friends that I have a car spider. One day when I'm older and have a driver's license and a girlfriend me and the spider will drive down the highway like in movies and pick up hitchhikers and he would catch them in his web and drink their blood and we wouldn't have to go see the counselor because we'd be adults but we might have to go to jail. Spiders can't go to jail though, so the cops would probably just step on him. I'm laughing now and my dad is looking at me funny.
We're almost at grandma's house now and I think I'm going to invite the spider inside with me. Just because he is a car spider doesn't mean he can't leave the car. I could take him anywhere I wanted. I'll take him inside grandma's house even though he might catch us all in his web and bite us and then we'd all die because of the poison in his fangs. Then he'd drink our blood. It would be all over the news and they'd probably make a movie out of it. The spider would be asked to play himself and would probably be the first spider to win an Oscar. I couldn't be in the movie because I'd be dead.
The spider is really watching me now and he has the funniest look on his face. A spider's face is funny to begin with. He is really fuzzy and I want to pet him but I'd probably end up squashing him. I'm laughing very hard. I can't wait to tell my dad that this spider is going to be living with us for the rest of our lives and that he'll have a web in every room of the house except the bathroom cause that would be awkward. But the spider isn't on the dashboard anymore. He is on my leg, staring up at me. He is hairy and much bigger then I thought. I must have screamed because the next thing I know my dad takes him out with a rolled up magazine. I'm quiet for a long time. The people on NPR are still telling jokes. My dad is saying something but I'm not listening. I'm too busy thinking of a way to get out of going to school tomorrow.

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