#23 into the crapometer

Sarah peered at the baby spiders running around the edge of the bathroom window. They must be newly hatched, she thought. But how did they know not to eat each other? Maybe they can still smell each other, and the smell was familiar. She watched as one dangled idly, then rappelled
swiftly upwards.

She felt inordinately glad to see them. Some months ago, another spider had nested in the
opposite corner of the window, and she'd ... not befriended it exactly, nor made a pet of it (can
you make a pet of a spider?), but she'd catch insects for it, and feed it. Then one night, a
daddy-long-legs had hovered near. Would they fight? Would her spider eat the other?

Eventually, she went to bed. In the morning, her spider had gone. She probably could've saved it,
but that seemed to break a code of conduct somehow. Her spider was not wily enough and so
had been eaten. That's the law of things, the law of insect life.

Still, she missed her spider. She missed the rather exciting ritual of catching its food and offering it in a way that enticed, even though the insects were more than dead.

Seeing baby spiders here tonight seemed like a good omen. If she were inclined to
anthropomorphize - and really, she thought, she was - these ones seemed like little trapeze
artists, trying out their skills for fun.

She washed her hands in the sink, dried them on the hand-towel hanging in its brass ring, and
then looked into the mirror. Red hair: neat and tidy. Teeth clean: yes. She leaned closer into
the glass. There, under the rim of her left eye, a nerve pulsed steadily, like some beast's little
heart, trapped in there by mistake.

this is just so not for me. The idea of a girl feeding spiders just squicks me to the core. And spiders IN the house....Miss Snark is standing on her desk screaming for Boopsie the Exterminator.

A couple details that stand out: can you you rappel UP? Rappelling (such as mountain climbers and SWAT teams do) is the quick downward motion of sliding down a rope. I think if you're going UP it's called climbing. I could be wrong...any contributors on this?

And I have an antipathy toward people looking in the mirror to describe themselves. If description has to be inserted in such an awkward way, leave it out, it's not furthering the story. Miss Snark gazes into the glass regularly but its only to powder the pince-nez mark on her beak.

This would be a pass for me.


Ivy said...
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Bernita said...

Don't think daddy longlegs are carnivorous.

Laura Lemm said...

Spiders aren't insects, they're arachnids. And I think you're right about rappelling being a downward motion.

Chelsea said...

Umm, aren't all spiders carnivorous? We have a lot of daddy longlegs at our house, and while I try not to pay TOO close attention to what they're doing, I believe they do catch things and eat them. Daddy longlegs are also really poisonous, it's just that their fangs are too small and flimsy to bite humans.

Bernita said...

There are daddy long legs and daddy long legs spiders.
They are different in their appetites.
The claim that daddy long legs spiders are poisonous is considered an urban myth.
Since the writer did not specify which type of creature,the reader may automatically think of the more benign vegetative type and be pulled out of the story with a WTF.

Anonymous said...

Or the reader likely knows jack diddley about spiders and didn't think about that one way or the other.

Bernita said...

You are right, Miss Snark, rappelling is all about going down, climbing is going up.

Laura Lemm said...

This reader wondered whether the MC had jumped to conclusions. Maybe her "pet" spider wasn't really eaten. Maybe it just moved, found a new window corner to call home.

Bernita said...

I got the impression it moved right under her eye...the horror...

Ric said...

Then again, any entry that could entice Miss Snark to use the word squicks certainly got her attention.

This is very enjoyable. It's as if we are watching over her shoulder as she goes through the daily pile. Instructive and oddly stimulating in a perverse sort of way.

Tarantula Lady said...

As you can see from my moniker, I'm an arachnophile. I understand that most people aren't Animal Planet junkies and wouldn't care about scientific inaccuracies but why alienate a subsection of readers unnecessarily? I find it very annoying to read a story about a character who spouts off ignorant nonsense. As Bernita said, errors interrupt the flow of the story.

Scott said...

Correct, Miss Snark. You can ascend or climb a rope with mechanical ascenders or prusik loops, or do so hand-over-hand (if you are in high school gym class). You can even be raised (or lowered) if you are tied to the end of the rope and someone else does the work. But you can never rappel upward. Rappelling is lowering yourself down a rope.

Anonymous said...

I think this author writes very well, but I wanted to know more about the character and less about the spiders.

Laraqua said...

The only reason I want to know about the character is because of the spiders. It's an eerie obsession that reveals more about her than: "I'm so sick of Buddy never calling on time. Damn, I'm out of icecream". Bad example I know, but you gotta admit, it's a unique character quirk. Hardly cliche.