“Daddy!” his daughter cried, emerging from the bathroom. “There’s a spider in the bathtub!”
“Oh, go kill it,” his wife told him, not missing a step of her aerobics routine.
“What, me?” the father said.
“Well, I’m not going to do it,” his wife said.
His son came up from the basement. “Son, how about you do your father a favor?” the father said.
“Not a chance, Geezer Prime,” said his son, hefting his backpack. “I have a rendezvous with education.”
“Stop stalling,” his wife said. “All you’re doing is playing that stupid computer game.”
“Pater facere,” the father muttered, and got up.
Going into the bathroom, he pulled back the shower curtain and cautiously peered into the tub. “General Jackson and all the archangels!” he said, retreating in haste. “Honey, we need to call Animal Control.” He thought about it. “Or maybe the Third Armored Division.”
“Oh, stop being such a wuss,” his wife said, as she performed a set of high kicks.
“There are very few poisonous spiders in Western Washington, you know,” he said. “It’s definitely not a black widow, and I doubt it’s a yellow sac….”
“Man up and just take care of it, will you?” his wife said.
Growling, he went into the kitchen and pulled paper towels off the roll. His wife eyed them as he went by her. “Why three whole paper towels?” she asked.
“Because I don’t have a flame-thrower,” he muttered.
He looked down into the tub, aimed, fired. The spider crunched beneath the towels. He grimaced and looked. A brown stain, and legs; before, alien and menacing, but now merely broken, twitching, pathetic. Revulsion mingled with guilt. He shoved his victim and its paper shroud into the garbage and washed his hands.
“Now I’m scarred for life,” he told his wife.
“Oh, grow up,” his wife said.
Muttering, he sat down again at the computer. He might still have time to complete this level before he had to buckle down to work. He un-paused the game to resume his battle against the Skoglag Imperium.
From the other side of the house his daughter yelled, “Daddy!”