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Melody placed her toothbrush back into the owl mug with the broken handle, and then froze.

“Okay, big black and hairy,” she told the rather large spider sitting just behind the mug. “I don't know how you got there, or where you belong in this world, but I can tell you for certain that it's not a half an inch from my toothbrush.”

Still frozen in place, even though she would like nothing better than to run away (but these things needed to be kept an eye on), Melody was about to call out for help. She paused for a moment, however, weighing her options.

If she called her father, Bernie would freak out. He was the ‘smash and grab’ type. Her mother, on the other hand, was more diplomatic about these sorts of things – a capture and release type. Each type had pros and cons.

Capture and Release: Melody was under the stern suspicion that some spiders only existed to torment her. What was to stop them from simply creeping back into the house after being dumped into the wild.

Smash and grab: Or more realistically, smash and wipe and flush. Other than the lack of humane treatment, she couldn't see a downside at the moment.

“Dad!” she called out, not for a moment taking her eyes off the creature. “Spider!”

“Get your mother to do it,” Bernie yelled back. “I'm indisposed.”

Melody furrowed her brow. Where could he possibly be indisposed? She was currently IN the room that people considered themselves indisposed. She knew this to be a ploy.

“Did I say spider? I meant chocolate chip cookies.”

She could hear her father snort at this.

“Just come in here and take care of this. Mom doesn't need to know.”

Suddenly there was a loud bang on the piano, the first couple of bars from Beethoven's Fifth, and Bernie Jackson emerged in the doorway. There were distinct worry lines on his face.

“Where is it?”

Melody pointed to it with her eyebrows. “It hasn't moved for a while now.”

“Well, maybe it's...” The sound that emerged from her father's throat was not one she had heard before.

“It's like a monkey's paw,” he said, taking a step backwards.

“Just do your thing,” Melody urged, giving him a push.

“HEY!” he shouted. “What thing are you talking about? Fleeing, or calling a zookeeper?”

She formed her hand into a fist, and began to beat it into the palm of her other hand. “Smashy smashy,” she told him.

Bernie shook his head. “I'm sorry. I'm just not that guy anymore. Your mother will be happy to take it out of the house harmlessly.”

“She's just going to let it loose in the backyard, and then it's going to be angry and out for blood.”

Bernie snorted again. “You're just being paranoid. Spider's don't look for vengeance – at least while they're alive. He's probably panicking because he can't find his way back outside. Now if I go ahead and put him out of his misery – and frankly I don't think we own a heavy enough hammer to do the job – there's the possibility of vengeful spider spirits infesting your dreams. That's a real thing.”

Melody grimaced, and mouthed under her breath, “Mad as a hatter.”

As if on cue, Melody's mother, Lonnie, entered the room. Her hair was askew, and she was sweating. “I don't suppose you are both in here discussing who's turn it is to clean the toilet? Because I will tell you right now, boys and girls, it's not mine. I've been wrestling that stupid dryer again, Bernie. I'm about ready to drop it off a cliff. I think it's time to look into buying....What are you two staring at, anyway?'

Lonnie followed their gaze and found the source of the trauma. She sighed, loudly. “You two have got to be kidding me right now!”

To Melody and Bernie's horror, Lonnie grabbed the owl mug, dumped the toothbrushes into the sink, and used it to scoop up the rather large and terrifying spider. She then dropped her hand down over the top to keep the thing from escaping.

“WHAT THE?” was all Bernie could get out.

“Open the back-door for me,” Lonnie said.

“Uh, Mom, if you...”

“I don't want to hear about it. I'm going to take this thing out, and we're all going to get dressed and take a trip to the appliance store.”

Bernie followed his wife to the back door, opened it, then leapt ahead to open the screen door which led out of the little rain porch. When Melody caught up, finally able to make her legs move, she and her father watched Lonnie gently lower the mug to the flower bed at the back fence. She had to coax out something from the recesses. She then stood up, stared at the ground for a few moments, and then returned to the house.

Bernie scratched his head. “How did you...?”

“I need a shower,” she interrupted him. “And a large scrub brush.”

It Happened on Lafayette Street

Season One: Episode Four

Melody Jackson

vs. The Creeping Terror

by BMB Johnson

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