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The Spider in My Bathroom: The Japecake Interview

May 17, 2011

EIGHT (LEGS) IS ENOUGH: The subject in an unguarded momentEIGHT (LEGS) IS ENOUGH: The subject in an unguarded moment

Last fall, Japey was surprised to find an unannounced guest in his bathroom: a female cellar spider, nimbly inverted in the corner of the ceiling above the toilet, bearing a plump egg sac. Though no sublease was ever signed nor rent ever paid, the spider and her charges remained in place for some weeks until one day the web was dotted with offspring hardly bigger than the period at the end of this sentence. To Japey’s amazement and delight, the same occupant, in the same delicate condition, returned to the same corner some weeks ago. This time, Japey sought the full story, and the spider graciously consented to a tête-à-tête—egg sac, as always, in tow. The interview began with the spider’s unexpected request….

Mind if I smoke?

No, not at all. But do you think you should? In your condition, I mean?
Probably not. But if Mommy Spider doesn’t get her nic fix, Mommy Spider is going to chuck her egg sac into the toilet and call the whole thing off. Got a light?

Here you go. First thing: Are you really the same spider from last fall? It’s hard to tell.
Because we all look alike, right? [Rolls all six eyes, draws on cigarette, exhales, sighs]. Well, fair enough, paleface. Yes, it’s me, and it’s deja vu all over again for this knocked-up Pholcus phalangioides.

“Maybe I should stop after the third appletini”

So, this was an … uh … “unexpected” pregnancy?
That’s one way of putting it. Another way would be that apparently I didn’t learn anything after the last twenty-seven offspring, except that maybe I should stop after the third appletini.

Is there a husband in the picture?
[Laughs] “Husband?” No. Believe me, he was hardly marriage material, unless a shifty, unemployed arachnid who’s a little too free with the Axe body spray, turns the charm on and off like a faucet, and splits at the first sign of trouble is your idea of the perfect mate. He’d only have eaten the kids, anyway. Good riddance, and what a stroke of luck for him that I’m not a black widow. 

I’m curious to hear more about your background. I know you’re a cellar spider. Why my second-floor apartment?
I’m not into labels. The “cellar” thing is something some taxonomist dreamed up at some point. Basement, rec room, garage, penthouse, it really doesn’t matter all that much. I don’t want to sound too cold or ungrateful about it, but you were close, and available.

“He was hardly marriage material… What a stroke of luck for him that I’m not a black widow”

But the bathroom?
I’m having second thoughts about that myself, especially after choosing the corner right above the toilet. Location, location, location. It’s a lesson never to forget.

I notice you switched to the opposite corner last week.
Well, that’s mainly because of the racket the ceiling fan makes. I mean, what the fuck? Every time you flick the fucking light switch? Who was the genius electrician who came up with that one? It’s worse than having the room next to the ice machine at the Days Inn.

Do you get much insect traffic in here?
Almost none. Again, a little research into these things really pays off in the long run.

Apart from that, how do you like my bathroom?
The humidity has done wonders for my complexion. The hot mist opens my pores. But the soap you use is really drying to the skin. And that dollar-store toothpaste isn’t good for your teeth. Too abrasive. Stop being so cheap. Also, don’t sing in the shower. No Top 40 hits from the ’80s, no commercial jingles with made-up dirty lyrics. No singing, okay? It’s a bathroom, not a stage. And I can still hear the ceiling fan over your caterwauling. It’s the auditory equivalent of trying to cover up an awful smell with Lysol. It only makes it worse.

“Perpetuation of the species is murder on the back”

A selection from Japey's bathroom reading material. See you at the New York World's Fair, right after I finish J. D. Salinger's latest story.

Yikes. Anything else?
Do you think you could change the magazines more often? I mean, what are you even doing with a copy of Time magazine from 1973? We already know how Watergate turned out.

Ha ha … maybe some “webzines?”
[Stony silence]

Yes, I heard you the first time. [Silence]

Anyhow … you’re very observant. Do you watch me when I … you know?
What?! Oh, please. As if. I already know more about you than I’ll ever be able to forget. I could use some of your ground-glass toothpaste to scrub my brain right about now.

Sorry. Anyway, you’re looking pretty good, and so does the egg sac.
It’s good enough. I’m no perfectionist. Just keep ’em from spilling out until they’re ready, that’s all I’m trying to do. If they made Ziplocs in that size, it would have saved a lot of time and trouble.

I notice that it’s with you constantly. You must be a very good mother.
Let me tell you something: perpetuation of the species is murder on the back. Believe me, if nature allowed it, I’d dump this thing off with a sitter in a New York minute and head straight out for a mani-pedi and a decent meal. This is the twenty-first century. Evolution, my ass.

“I knew Charlotte. She was a prima donna and a famewhore”

I’d be happy to watch it for you sometime.
I’ve seen your houseplants. No thanks. How do you even manage to kill one of those bamboo stalks you just have to stick into a jar of water?

Sometimes I have this fantasy that one day I’ll walk in here and see that you’ve woven a message to me, like in Charlotte’s Web.
Messages? I’m talking to you right now. What more do you want from me? By the way, I knew Charlotte. She was a prima donna and a famewhore. That’s not my style. I’m not a performing monkey. I’m too busy for parlor tricks. And I’d totally trade away the web-weaving skills for an hour of “me” time now and then.

I know you have a heavy schedule today, so I don’t want to keep you any longer. Any parting thoughts?
Well, kiddo, thanks for never vacuuming or dusting. Your cavalier approach to housekeeping makes things so much easier for me. Seriously, what the fuck is up with people who freak every time they see a spider or a spider web? Please. Like I even find them interesting enough to bite. If you really want to do me a solid, toss a little rotten meat into the corner. A fly every now and then would be nice. I’m gonna have a lot of mouths to feed pretty soon.

Uh … I’m gonna have to think about that.
Well, don’t think too hard and break anything. Smell ya later, pal.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. May 17, 2011 3:40 am

    seriously, this post is disturbing. 🙂

    I don’t even say the word s.p.i.d.e.r.s, let alone look at the picture you posted…nightmares I tell you.



    • May 17, 2011 10:23 am

      I’ve always thought that spiders were one of nature’s greatest marvels of engineering. Plus, they’re quiet and don’t drink directly from the carton.

  2. May 17, 2011 10:05 am

    Every spider I have seen in bathrooms looks just like this one. Is there a bathroom spider species ?

    • May 17, 2011 10:44 am

      They say exactly the same thing about us. Plus, they see us naked.

  3. May 17, 2011 10:14 am

    I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one with a spider issue. Mine were never up for interviews, so I was forced to kill them. I like your spider. She has real moxie.

    • May 17, 2011 10:40 am

      The “Spider Issue” is the only time I read Vogue all year. But they’re all so damn skinny! Some of them are practically exoskeletons.

  4. May 17, 2011 12:47 pm

    I always knew spiders were smug bitches. I guess anything that small that still isn’t scared of something a gazillion times bigger than it deserves to be smug.

    • May 17, 2011 11:28 pm

      I can think of ten acquaintances off the top of my head whose company is far less congenial than a spider’s. Which really means, I guess, that I need new, or fewer, acquaintances.

  5. May 18, 2011 7:48 pm

    “commercial jingles with made-up dirty lyrics”

    PLEASE elaborate 😀

  6. May 19, 2011 11:55 pm

    She’s got a point about being called a “cellar” spider. Scientists invented cellars way after they invented spiders.

  7. May 22, 2011 12:31 am

    Edison tried but failed to invent the cellar by stubbornly insisting that it be located in the attic.

  8. infinite monkey theorem permalink
    June 2, 2011 5:21 am

    I tried to interview a line of ants once. Talk about rude! Busy indeed…very full of themselves! Fortunately I found an accommodating grasshopper with a couple of months to kill. Got a nice novel length story out of him. A scathing indictment of greed, selfishness, and complete unwillingness to share with others who are of the artistic persuasion, AND have a doctors note!
    (Webzine!…I thought that was funny!!! She reminds me of the ants, and not in a good way.)

  9. June 7, 2011 1:14 am

    If you told me that a grasshopper had written every word that Dan Brown or Mitch Albom ever published, I would totally believe you.

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