May 15, 2012


Each Tuesday, rather than a POSSIBLY IRRITATING ESSAY, I'd like to both challenge you and lend a helping hand. I generate more speculative and teen story ideas than I can ever use. My family rolls its collective eyes when I say, "Hang on a second! I just have to write down this idea..." Here, I'll include the initial inspiration (quote, website, podcast, etc) and then a thought or two that came to mind. These will simply be seeds -- plant, nurture, fertilize, chemically treat, irradiate, test or stress them as you see fit. I only ask if you let me know if anything comes of them.

H Trope: horrible spiders

In the creepy tradition of the movie PIRANHA (1978) (which contained a line that, even though I saw the movie 32 years ago has remained etched in my mind forever: “Sir, the piranha, they’re eating the guests.”), I offer you this twist on the theme…or, if you prefer, a twisted theme…

Paul Grogan and his girlfriend Maggie McKeown are “vacationing” and “camping” at Kelly’s Slough National Wildlife Refuge near Grand Forks, North Dakota. His mom, her dad are officers in the Air Force. Both are scientists – her dad’s a doctor, his mom a specialist in arachnids. Which are spiders.

She loves spiders, he can take them or leave them – he wants to be a horse vet. When he asks what she wants to be more than anything else in the world, she said, “I want to marry a really, really rich old guy who ‘dies before his time’.”

“What?” Paul exclaimed. “I thought we were gonna get married!”

She smiled up at him, reached over, patted his hand and said, “I want to marry the rich guy first so I can inherit his millions. After he dies, I’ll marry you and then support you as a vet so you can live wherever you want to live.”

“I want to live with you…” Paul says. He screamed, shaking his hand wildly, Something bit me!”

“Probably a spider. Your mom says they’re working on spider control here.” She grinned at his horrified look, “You know that that means she’s on some kind of top-secret project to develop spiders as weapons.” Shaking his hand again, he looked behind him and then place his hand again. “Aren’t you afraid it’s going to bite you again?”

“Aside from the fact that I’ve been bitten by just about every spider known to Humanity and have a broad-based anti-venin booster every six months? Not really.”
She snorted. “You just don’t respect spiders the way I do.”

He shook his head and said, “I do feel sorta weird.”

“What do you mean, sorta weird?”

“Sorta like...I want to eat spiders.”

“Not with the same mouth that kisses these lips!” she exclaimed. “I may love spiders, but I’m not in a kissing relationship with any of them.”

He blinked hard and swayed. “I’m not kidding, Meg. I feel like I’m out of time.”

For the first time, she looked alarmed. “Like you’re going to die?”

“No – not that out of time. Like I’m out of our time. Like I want to go Spider hunting…”

“Why do I get the feeling that we’re not talking about traditional Earthly spiders?”

“I...I...have a really, really awful craving for some spider meat. Lots and lots,” he looked at her with wide eyes, “Spider meat.”

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