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October 30, 2015


The Boston police were nice enough, telling me there had just been too many complaints and that when they went into my apartment apparently my best buddy in the whole world had attacked them. It was a mess and they apologized but they really feared for their lives. So I stand over his grave and toss in his favorite toy, a big squeaky fly and nod to the District Salesman of LabSpyder Incorporated. He offered me a 20% discount on another Cambodian tarantula with Plant DNA.


In a flash of sentimental wonder and panic I am recalling opening the electronically sealed lid marked SPECIMEN. There he was, cute as a bug. All eight legs big enough to wrap around my palm. I named him Hank after a childhood Terrier. Hank roamed the empty aquariums and bookshelves of my apartment for a charmed 7 to 8 weeks. That's when the patented growth cycle kicked in, and maybe because Hank got into the growth stabilizer bottles, well, he really grew. I mean like 4 times bigger than advertised. Instead a vacuum size spider I had a Volkswagen. Hank.


Walking a 120lb spider in the park got a lot of attention and Hank always liked chasing the dogs. I mean, he'd shoot out a silk strand thicker than log chain and walk backwards 20 feet into tree boughs carrying me up as far as I was willing to hold onto his leash. That’s why I only took him out at night. There were occasional screams but in the Blue Hills it echoed across 4,000 empty acres.


But screams bothered my neighbors. Julie, my girlfriend refused to come into my apartment until I got rid of him. When Hank was there, well, she lost it as he brushed by my boxer clad morning tossed self-yawning at the door. If you could have seen her eyes. It matched the Scientists eyes at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology when I told them all that silk came from one spider. The scientists just paid up, Julia, however, screamed “Jerry, my GOD, BEHIND YOU!”  “Yeah, that's Hank. I scratched my belly. She screamed again.

Someone actually called 911, but it was dismissed since the whole floor hung out of their doorways in un-complaining morbid curiosity. Hank was never any trouble, really. I swear. People who got past that usually asked, what did I feed him? Oh, you know, the same thing we're all eating now-a-days. But Hank would get rambunctious on just one nano-fiber-pill a day, so I used to split a steak with him once a week. It required an intricate system to get my half. I couldn't keep it in the freezer so I wheeled up a BBQ onto my Fire escape and had delivery boys dump porterhouses into a tree house line and pail. Hank went bonkers in the windows watching me handle raw meat, yeah, Hank, coming right up.


Sometimes, especially when I lost my job for a couple weeks, and Hanks silk was spoiled by beef enzymes, he got distant. He'd pull himself into the living room web-hammock and hang their in the corner ignoring me. Some nights my skin crawled with nightmares of being rolled like a cigar and sucked dry but I'd wake up and flip through the channels and shrug it off. Then one time I woke up, waiting for my new job's check to clear,