Moving to Freedom, .Org

Itsy Bitsy Fritsy 15: Operation Fiery Fred, Part Three

by Fritzi Webber
(go to the beginning)

The man came downstairs, all cheerful and singing “Whistle Stop.”

Hi, Spider!” he said to me. It was really too much. (I think the cat agreed, but for different reasons.) “Guess what? Hildi called.”


She’s coming over right now!”

Apparently the woman’s name was Hildi. What kind of human has a name like “Hildi?” I wondered why he was being so chatty. Were we suddenly best buddies? Was he trying to get on my good side to win favor with the woman?

After feeding the cat, he went to make tea!


He filled the kettle with water and put it on one of my rigged front burners. I almost did a jitterbug, thinking about all the dried up beetle parts and sawdust waiting to combust.

With his hand on the igniter, he took a step back, and appeared to be leaning away. What was this? But still, he turned the knob!

There was the tick, tick, ticking… and — a flash of flame! But that was all, and now the burner was running normally. The man said, “Whoa. What was that?” And, “Ew. What’s that smell, Kitty?” He eyed the stove skeptically for a minute, but then went about making toast to go with his tea.

That was all? I got myself trapped in a jar for that?!

So that was it, huh? That was your big plan?”

It took me a moment to realize the words weren’t coming from inside my head. I looked up and jumped. He was standing over the jar, smirking at me.

That’s right,” he said. “I found your little blog, Ms. Webber.”

Oh my goddess! How did he—?! And then the cat jumped up on the counter, positively gleeful about the unfolding confrontation. Could the cat have tipped him off? (I should have kept a closer eye on her browsing activities.)

It was the strangest thing,” he said. “Last night I was looking for email from Hildi, but I got one instead pointing to your web site. I almost deleted it as spam, but then noticed it was a warning about a spider.”

The cat! It must have been the cat. Damn her!

Interesting reading,” he said. “Kudos on your first two tries, by the way. But this one… pretty lame. I wasn’t that worried about it. I thought it would be fun to make you think you had a chance. I wish you had a facial expression I could have seen when it didn’t work!”

And I thought a gloating cat was bad enough.

I felt a rising panic. I had been so optimistic after my earlier near-successes, but now it was starting to hit home, the predicament I was in. The cat looked hungry and meaner than ever.

Now you will die, of course,” the man said.

The cat licked her chops. My heart started vibrating faster. I might get away if he released me for the cat to do the dirty work… but I didn’t feel very confident. I felt low. Not only had my plan failed, again, but the man had mocked me. Maybe I would be better off dead.

But not yet,” he said. “Hildi needs to see your blog for herself. She’ll understand then that you have to be dealt with, for safety’s sake. A calculating killer spider is creepier than I ever could have imagined.” And then he smiled, saying, “But! This has actually worked out just fine. You’ll be gone and Hildi won’t blame me for it. And I’ll make certain there will be no more spiders in the house for her to find.”

Then he cheerfully sat down and read the paper while drinking his tea.

(I took the opportunity to spin this post out. I wonder what they’re saying in the shelter right now after his little speech.)

The doorbell rang, and they’re gabbing at the door. I don’t think I can count on her to save me. I don’t trust her. Not after she so casually plucked me from the wall and dropped me in this jar. She’ll probably take his side. She might spout a lot of spider friendly talk, but she seemed into the man. I doubt she would choose me over him.

Now I just want to punish him, somehow, if only I can escape. What about the toaster? I could fill that with bug parts and sawdust, and with the warm-up time, maybe he would walk away, allowing time for a fire to start— but I’m not thinking clearly here. I don’t want to burn the house down.

And I have to remember to stop discussing my plans on the blog.

(Battery getting pretty low — I better post this. I’m hoping I can make at least one more update.)

Here they come—