The Spider Salesman – Part III/VI

The salesman kept giggling to himself once alone in the caravan. He only paused once his horses whinnied back at him, responding to his laughter. 

“Oh, you hush up there; I’ll be back shortly to bring us home.” The salesman turned back to face his shelves. “Now let’s see what’s on the menu tonight.” A dark red bottle caught his eye, the color of blood but with what appeared to be glitter. “Ah,” the salesman smiled. “I remember making this one. What a rare gem indeed! How have you come along?” 

The salesman administered a droplet of the bottle’s contents onto a slide and slid it under the scope. The red fluid was hot pink through the eyes of the scope, and the glittering gold flecks seen throughout the fluid were in fact clusters of spiders strung together, their legs intertwined into a relatively large mass. Each spider had big black eyes, tiny abdomens, and very long, slender legs. It didn’t appear to be an aggressive species, as they were without visual fangs. 

“My, my, your colonies have certainly grown since I last saw you.” The salesman used an eye dropper to extract more from the bottle and administer a few drops to himself. He took a deep breath and exhaled a light red fog from his nostrils. 

“Ah, yes. Aged like a fine red wine. The memory may be gone, but the effects are still oh so strong.” The salesman’s sagging, droopy eyes began to take on a firmer, more youthful appearance. He turned to face a tiny, circular mirror hanging from a hook nailed into the frame of a shelf. He grinned wide, baring his teeth, but his smile shrank to nothing once his thin lips retreated, embarrassed. “Maybe it’s time to break out a big one.”

The salesman grinned again, this time eyeing the various spiders on the bottom-most shelves and the floor tanks. In the center of the right shelf on the very bottom lay a bright red beast with a bulbous abdomen, and it adorned ten black legs and two sets of fangs. The salesman took a hand magnifying glass and eyed the spider-like beast eyeing its supper. He practically licked his thin, purple lips; his tongue was certainly dancing behind his black teeth. 

“A fresh one. I think it’s time to harvest a fresh one,” he said to himself. “Come here, beautiful.” He reached into the tank, laying his hand flat. The spider took its time inspecting this new visitor but did as it was alluded to do and it walked onto his hand. He lifted her and brought her to the table with an arm mechanism. Setting her into a square, glass container, he closed the lid and kissed the top. On the side of the table was a crank that wasn’t easily noticed. The salesman turned the crank, causing two parallel sides of the glass container to move inward towards one another, ready to squish the spider within. 

The salesman kept the grin on his face all the while cranking the handle, watching the spider panic. The glass walls grew closer while the spider tried to find a way out. As the glass touched both sides of the spider, holding it in place, the salesman stopped. He took his magnifying glass in one and adjusted himself to see the spider. She twitched and her legs were moving frantically, but she could not escape. With his free hand, the salesman turned the hand crank and watched the spider meet her pressurized death. 

Ensuring the glass was truly kissing, he move the crank forward a few times for luck, hitting a halt with each attempted turn. The juices from the spider dripped down into a pan hidden within the desk; it collected the juices into a bottle no larger than a silver dollar. It was a black fluid with yellow globs floating throughout it; it reminded the salesman of a miniature lava lamp. Once the fluid had been collected, the salesman cleaned the glass container and helped himself to one drop from his newly collected bottle. 

The moment the drop hit his eye, a wave of pressure was sent through the salesman’s body. It felt like gravity had taken form and was able to travel throughout his body in one big wave from his head to his toes. For a moment, his eye burned, making him wince in pain, but then the memory came. 

In one flash, he was a suburban mom feeding children. He saw himself kiss the head of a child, but then he felt himself fill with anger and resentment. The next flash was another child he was feeding, this was the source of the rage. The freckled child smiled, the salesman as the woman smiled back, but it was forced. 

The salesman rubbed his eye, as the memory was very strong. The next flash hit him with the pain of an oncoming migraine. He was still the woman and he was making batter and mixing in white contents from a bright yellow bottle with black lettering and a red warning label on the side. The next flash showed cupcakes in the oven. Then the salesman was at the neighbor’s door, handing the cupcakes to the freckled child from earlier. 

The next flash is of the salesman preparing lemonade and putting the same substance into one of the four glasses he had prepared. The tainted glass went to the same freckled child as before, although this time he was nearly twenty pounds thinner and he was much paler. Then a tirade of flashes flew by the salesman’s vision, showing this woman causing a child’s sickness time and time again and through various methods; her favorite was that of drink delivery because the sugary drinks seemed to hide the toxin well. There was even a flash of the salesman with his hand over his mouth trying to hide a smile when the freckled child vomited at a pool party; he had to leave the area because he couldn’t contain himself. 

Flash after flash flew by until he reached a funeral that felt more like a celebration where you couldn’t show how happy you were on the inside. This was a woman’s darkest secret, a secret that brought her to meet the salesman and eventually to a point where she met her untimely death. 

The salesman had his arms and legs sprawled out on all sides as he came to while sitting on the stool. The poorly lit caravan was a good way to come back down to reality: slowly and calmly without too much external stimulus. He widened his eyes and blinked a few times to stretch the muscles there. Looking down at his hand, he saw his liver spots begin to fade. The loose skin that once covered a skeleton of a man had fattened up and gained a pink hue. The hairy moles on his arms disappeared, and his once blackened gums filled with new, pink tissue to showcase a set of pearly whites. His once stringy hair gained volume, curls even, and his sunken eyes came forward from their hidden crevices that were his eye sockets. 

He was age-regressing, becoming younger. The only things that didn’t change were the salesman’s soul and his cackle, one that his horses would never become accustomed to.

Part IV: https://night-write.com/2022/06/26/the-spider-salesman-part-iv-vi/


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