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"OH MY GOD!"
His attention snapped to her daughter. Stamping her feet on the pink cushion of the teak chair, shrieking like she was mad. Her mouth was wide, surrounded with thin, tight lips. Her gaze was lowered to the tile floor below, her small finger pointed at a crack in the tile. She drew her other hand to her mouth and bit her thumbnail, ceasing her screams for a few moments.
He scratched his head, gazing at the crack in the floor. A spider stood its ground. He could never see how a spider could look so menacing to his daughter. It was small. It was alone. It didn't bare its fangs at her like a ravenous wolf or even walk towards her. It was just there. Apparently that was enough to set her off.
"Daddy, kill it!" she cried, shifting weight on her feet in a rapid succession, bringing both her arms to her chest when she realized he had seen the arachnid. All eight legs looked frightening and all too useful for the spider. It could climb up the relatively short leg of the chair, crawl over to her foot and bite. Sink its teeth into a piece of flesh and cause her immense pain. She yelped when that thought crossed her mind.
She had even seen it happen before. It was not a pretty sight. The girl had started screaming and had to be sent to a hospital. Or at least she thought that happened. It could have been a very, very realistic dream.
"How can such a big girl be afraid of such a little spider?" her father asked, teasingly. The girl would not take any of it. She was never a good sport about teasing. She was shaking on the chair before she glared at him. "It's not going to hurt you," he told her.
"Get. The. Spray." She was in no mood for his humor. She needed it dead. She needed the relief of knowing that it wasn't going to bite her. She needed it more than anything. More than oxygen. Fear had seized up her body. She could barely move more than a few stamps of her feet or a shaky hand through her hair or a bite off of her thumbnail.
"I don't get why you are so afraid of a spider," he mumbled, walking away from the scene to fetch the spray. "It's not going to hurt you," he repeated with a shrug. She screeched.
“Don't leave me with that - that thing!" she cried. "Don't get the spray. Smash it with a napkin! Do something!" She was wringing her hands, looking up at the ceiling as if she expected a spirit to swoop down and save her.
He walked over to the crack in the tile. He struck his foot against the ground. He removed his foot to show the girl the smashed spider. "You're safe," he reassured her, helping her down from the chair.
Her cheeks were a bright pink. "Thanks, Dad. I knew you'd always be there to save me." She winked and departed, leaving her father with a mess to clean up. He hadn't noticed the overturned chairs or the dropped plate before. He shook his head, placing his hand on his wrinkled forehead in disbelief.
He cleared his throat loudly. Once. Twice. He heard her footsteps stop, and then retreat back to the kitchen.
"Yeah, yeah. I'll clean it up."