Flash Fiction Friday: The Spider Couch #3 – Final Installment!
But then came a knock upon the door.
The only guests we received these days were bankers demanding the money we owed them. So when I opened the door, despite the late hour, I was not surprised to see the drooping visage of Barnaby Granger staring up at me. Barnaby was head banker and a first rate savage in the gladiator arena of finances. He’d paid us plenty of visits at such unusual hours. I suppose being freakish, wealthy, and unmarried instilled in him an inclination to tromp around town after hours, haunting the penniless folks who owed him money.
On this night, I was only too happy to see him.
“Come on in, Barnaby old chap,” I said, opening the door wide and practically shooing him in.
“You’re in high spirits. Are you drunk?” he asked.
“Drunk?” I laughed haughtily. “Drunk on my newfound riches, perhaps.”
He raised an eyebrow and squinted at me through his brass monocle. “New found riches? Don’t tell me the Academy of Sciences welcomed you back.”
“Nothing of the sort. I’m a self-made man now, Barnaby, and I’ve invented the invention of a lifetime.”
His eyes lit up with excitement. “Is it a rocket ship?”
“Come on down to my laboratory and see for yourself,” I said, ushering him along toward the basement door.
As you can well imagine, Barnaby grew hesitant when he heard Griselda’s shrieks. I assured him that she was only having a minor panic attack and not to worry. He hesitated once more at the bottom of the staircase, when a thumbprint of moonlight shone down through the basement window and cast an evil glow upon the limbs of the spider couch.
“It’s . . . it’s . . . a giant spider!” he declared.
“Certainly looks like a spider to me.”
“Well, yes, it is. But it’s also a couch!”
I gave him a good push then and the dwarf banker tumbled shoes over comb-over straight into the clutches of the spider couch, which wasted no time in mummifying him. Griselda, not mummified, struggled to escape, but this only provoked the spider couch. Once the beast finished with Barnaby’s mummification, it bit Griselda’s head off.
I should have felt panic or regret, and most assuredly sadness. Instead, I found myself clapping my hands, as if in response to a dashing move at a racquetball tournament.
Over the next seven days, many more bankers knocked upon the door. To each of them, I revealed my newfound riches. My invention of a lifetime.
But without Griselda around and my laboratory totally occupied by the spider couch, I sank into a state of ennui. The house was no longer at risk of being stolen by the greedy bank, but I had no money to waste on idle entertainments, let alone food. I was missing something. A friend.
Alone with no one to care for, I let myself go. I sank down beneath the waves of boredom; I sank beneath the deepest depths of depression. I was ready to drown. When I got down to the bottom, something funny happened. I looked up one last time and saw a glimmer, like a shiny new kitchen appliance. In the glimmer I saw me, riding the spider couch like a knight, to fame and glory. I saw crowds of people shout their praise and bow down before the eight limbs of the deadly beast that I alone controlled. It was awesome.
Like a marooned submarine miraculously regaining full power, I flew to my room and sat at my desk to draft up a machine to control the spider couch. The hours flew by and I must have forgotten to sleep or eat, for at some indeterminable hour I awoke at my desk with the blueprints for a brainwave synchronizer complete. The brainwave synchronizer would implant inside the spider couch (or any other being I chose to stick it in) all my demands and desires.
I crept down to the laboratory to begin work on my machine. I hoped the spider couch would not hear me. It hadn’t eaten a banker in several days.
In the basement gloom, I met an unexpected sight.
The spider couch loomed over my work table, examining a pair of blueprints clutched between its uppermost limbs. As quietly as possible, I tiptoed up behind the spider couch to get a view of the blueprint’s specifications.
They were for a set of reigns, to be attached to the spider couch so that a man (who in the blueprints resembled myself) could ride the couch like a horse.
I emitted an involuntary chortle of glee and the beast spun around, towering above me, fangs dripping spider slime. Frightened out of my wits, I held up my brainwave synchronizer blueprints as if they were a shield that could protect me. The spider couch tore them out of my hands and then . . . studied them, nodding several times in agreement.
Next I was offered a spider leg to shake. I accepted.
Together, we began work constructing the brainwave synchronizer with only one adjustment to my original plans. The synchronization would now run both ways. As I communicated my demands and desires to the monster, I’d receive the same from my former couch. We’d be two creatures, joined at the brain.
When our masterpiece was finally finished, I weaved some reigns out of the hair from my sister’s severed head and came to sit upon my rightful throne. I hadn’t sat upon the spider couch since the night I brought it home, and I must admit, I had missed the cushiness, the warmth.
Even though all my friends (i.e. bankers) are dead, I do not regret dragging the spider couch in on that frightful, frosty night last December. I do not regret it because without the spider couch I would be dead myself. Who needs friends (i.e. bankers) when one owns a couch with fangs and eight legs? Who needs anything at all when the slightest hunger pang sends their couch scurrying for another meal to feed them? The spider couch knows my needs better than any human ever could. The spider couch loves me like no other has before. So what if Griselda and her cat had to die? Wasn’t it worth the sacrifice? Countless people have sisters and feline companions, but I am the only one blessed with a spider couch. My friend of friends.
Tomorrow, we set out to see the world.
Philip Tannehill spends most of his time working on his family’s farm in the Midwest. In his spare time, he reads and writes. An enthusiast of gothic literature and bizarro fiction, he dreams of someday opening a cult movie theater in a haunted mansion. Right now, he’s just waiting to win the lottery.