“Pssst…” Isaac waits.
“Don’t you understand what pssst means?” The spider turns toward Isaac and tugs gently at his arm. Isaac jerks away. He slowly turns his head back toward the spider and looks into one multi-lens eye. He feels a little vertigo-ish. Anyways, his knees buckle a little and his stomach jumps like that time he went of a ride down the playground slide all by himself.
“Can you talk?” Isaac persists.
“Egg-on-a-spit! Ya-es,” the spider says. “I’m trying to remain discreet.” She makes the g in trying sound a bit like the gonging of a bell. Isaac wonders if she can sing, too.
“What else can you do?”
“Get the egg-outa-my-face, and leave me alone, too”
“What’s your name?”
“My family calls me Isaac, but I was born Bob. They don’t know that because I never talk to ’em.”
Stella stays silent.
“Can you write like that Charlotte spider from the book?”
“Charlotte, Charlotte, Charlotte. She ruined things for all of us. Now everyone wants an advocate. Of course I can write. I can read, too. Now get your Sharpie-face outa mine.”
Isaac turns to go. He would cry, or at least frown, but Stella’s right. His original face wore off, and a silly grin got Sharpied on by his well-meaning family.
“I don’t need anything,” he mumbles through his grin. “I just want a friend to talk to. Ever since those Toy Story flicks, the pressures on to talk to my family. It’s a rule in my birth family: Never, ever talk to your adopted family. I can’t even tell them my real name is Bob.
“Egg-on-a-spit! People. Always wanting something. Looking at my webs, looking for words, wondering what’s on my mind. What’s on my mind is the same thing as everyone else. My next meal.”
Isaac stays quiet so long that Stella begins to twirl silk from her back-end and twiddles it between her back legs.
“I have food intolerance,” Isaac says. “I can’t taste, or swallow. And nothing comes out the back-end.” Isaac looks at the ground and kicks at a grape seed that someone spit out yesterday.
Stella says nothing. She absently spins more silk, twiddling and twirling, and wrapping Isaac in silk. She carries him to the middle of her web and dangles him there with one double-stranded loop.
“I like the view from here,” says Isaac. “Whee! You’re the best, Stella.”
Stella goes to the left corner of her web and thinks a while before she begins to spin. Back and forth, and forth and back and loop-de-loop and forth and back, absently spinning and spelling. Just one word won’t hurt, she hopes.