Johnny and Paul
CHAPTER 1:The Move
Johnny was a country spider that was getting tired of his surroundings. He couldn't stop thinking that he was getting too big for the webs that he was creating. It didn't matter how big he made his webs, he just felt like he didn't fit in anymore. So one day he decided to move to the city. He went from house to house in the country until he found one that contained people that were moving. After listening to them for a little while, he found that they were moving to the city, as well. He was so excited to find this out, that he could hardly sleep the night before the big move. When the time came, the movers came to the house with their big truck, and when no one was looking, Johnny loaded his web-case into an empty corner of the truck and waiting to see his new home.
Being a fair minded spider, Johnny tried to figure out what he could do to help those that were giving him the unsuspected ride to the city, but he couldn't think of anything that would be good enough. That was until he noticed a loose bowl about to fall over, so Johnny made a quick net to catch it in case it did fall. Thinking about this, Johnny decided that he could easliy make sure that everything in the truck was secure in case the roads were rough ahead. Within the hour, he had the entire back of the truck covered in the strongest webs that he could create. He was wondering how long the trip would be when it started to get dark outside and he heard a couple of the men talking.
Come to find out, it would take a few days to get to the city, since they were so far out in the country, but Johnny was more than willing to make the long trip. He was also excited to see the expressions of the men when they saw how secure everything was in the back of the truck. After two days in the truck, Johnny was getting bored until he heard one of the men say that they were finally getting to the city. Hearing this, Johnny could hardly wait to find a nice spot for his first city web.
When the truck finally stopped and the engine was shut off, Johnny made sure that he had his web-case at the door so that as soon as it was opened he could start looking around his new home. When the door was opened, Johnny jumped out unnoticed by the three moving men. They were too busy talking about how they were going to get all the furniture up four flights of stairs to notice a small spider leaving the truck. Before they turned their attention back to the truck, Johnny was far enough away so that all he heard was the scream. He turned and looked at all three of the men frozen. Johnny could only smile, since it was obvious that they were all three pleased by how well he had done in securing the truck. He waved to them, but wasn't mad when they didn't return the waves. After all, they were too happy with what they had just seen. Johnny turned just in time not to see one of the men faint from the site of what appeared to be a major spider nest.
CHAPTER 2: The Meeting
Johnny quickly found an empty alley that would make him a wonderful new home. He wasted little time making it feel like home. He covered the walls with web-art that he had packed in his web-case, set up his web-television, and even had time to make himself some web-furniture, including a web-rocking chair. This he was most proud of because it looked so much like one of the rocking chairs from back at his old home. Thinking about the country made him a little sad at first, but he brightened while thinking about his new home and all the adventured that he was sure to have there. As he was considering what his first adventure should be, that adventure found him.
Paul the fly was gliding through his regular alley when he found himself caught in a web where there had never been a web before. As he was struggling to get out of the web, he heard a voice behind him ask if he liked the web-art, and if so, please stop thrashing within it. Then he heard a friendly laugh. Paul was sure that the owner of that voice must be another fly, for a spider would surely have eaten him by now. When Paul managed to turn and look at his companion, all the color drained from his face as he saw that he was indeed caught in the spider's web.
When Paul finally found his voice again, he remarked that even though the web-art was quite nice, he didn't think it really captured him as good art often did. Johnny chuckled and said that Paul looked pretty caught to him. This made Paul blush in embarrassment, and work harder to extract himself from his sticky surroundings. When Johnny saw that Paul was about to wreck his favorite piece of art, he reached out, clipped one thread, and let Paul loose. As Paul was making sure that he was truly free of the web, he glanced at the spider to make sure that they were still on friendly terms, but the spider seemed to be busy fixing the web that had caught Paul. This made Paul sad because it really was a nice web, and he didn't want to be the one that wrecked it, so he helped Johnny put it to rights.
After the web was fixed, Johnny looked at Paul and said that it seemed awful easy to catch flies in the city. After all, he has just got here and had already had one come into his home. Paul waved this off and said that there was no way that Johnny could catch him again, and to prove this, he proposed a contest. The rules were simple: If Johnny caught Paul in his webs twice more before the sun came up the next morning, then Paul would share the secret to eating like a king in the city. If not, then Johnny had to move all of his webs out of that alley and find another one.
Even though Johnny had just gotten his alley set up, it already felt like home to him and he would hate to have to move already, but he knew was confident that he could beat Paul at this contest. So after another moment's thought, Johnny agreed and the two shook hands to seal the deal. As Johnny was planning his web traps, Paul flew out of the alley quickly for he had many fly errands to run. But he knew that the next time he came back through the alley, he had better be careful, because it was too easy to get caught up in Johnny's webs.
CHAPTER 3: The Contest
As Paul went about his nightly business of buzzing around the city, Johnny began to set up all manner of trap that had worked for him in the country. Johnny felt sure that one of these traps would help catch Paul the required two times that it would take to win the contest. He set up snares, trip webs, dropping webs, webs stretched between fixtures, and even single strands of web hung at random. He felt sure that one of these would snag Paul and that he would be one step closer to winning. The only thing left to do was sit back and wait for Paul to come flying through.
Johnny was sitting in his web-rocking chair when he noticed Paul flying slowly through the alley, continuously checking for webs in his path. All Johnny could do was sit back and hope that one of his country tricks would snag Paul, but it didn't look like that was going to happen this time. So Johnny made himself do some busy-work to help keep his mind off of the contest, and he figured that the walls of his alley could always use some extra support. Thinking of his recent ride in the moving truck, Johnny spent the next couple of hours spreading webbing all across both walls of the alleyway. At the end of the job, Johnny took a step back and realized how beautiful it looked with the light from the full moon shining in all that web. Evidently someone else thought so, too.
Not five feet from where Johnny stood at the mouth of the alley, he spied a figure caught in the fresh webbing on one wall and had to laugh when he realized that it was Paul. Paul was a bit sheepish when Johnny let him out of the webbing, saying that the moonlight in the web looked so good that he kind of lost his way and flew right into the webbing. Paul then said that if the webbing had not have been there, he would have gotten a rather nasty bump on the head. Johnny was glad that Paul had not been injured because he was coming to think of Paul as a friend, even though they were supposed to be enemies. Johnny shook out of these thoughts just in time to remind Paul that he had to evade the webs until sun-up or lose the bet.
Paul said that he wouldn't make the same mistake again, and buzzed off. Johnny made himself go back over all of the webbing in the alley to make sure that it was still in good shape. After confirming that it was all well, Johnny decided to take a walk and see what other alleys were close, just to be safe. After all, sunrise was close by and he wasn't sure if Paul would fall for anymore of Johnny's traps. Johnny walked for what seemed like hours but could find another alley that was either unoccupied or had the view that his alley had, and this made him quite worried. He began to wonder why he had made the wager in the first place as he returned home.
He continued his long thoughts during his slow trek home, but by the time that he got to the mouth of the alley he found one frightening thing: Sunrise had come.
CHAPTER 4: The Prize
As Johnny entered the alley that may soon no longer be his, he found that he could hear a strange noise but wasn't sure quite what it was. He checked each of his traps, but found every single one of them empty. He checked the walls of the alley, but they were empty, as well. So deciding that he had lost, Johnny took the time to go back and remove the traps that he had set, and with that done he began to work on the walls, while still hearing that strange noise. He decided that the noise must just be part of normal city life in the mornings and wondered if he would be able to hear it and figure out what it was from where ever he ended up.
With both walls free of webs, and all the traps taken down, all Johnny could do was go back to where he set up his home and pack things back in his web-case. As he was making his way back to the home place, he realized that he hadn't seen Paul come and gloat about winning. Maybe he was busy, or maybe gloating wasn't his thing. Johnny hoped that he would still see Paul from time to time at his new alley. With this thought, Johnny found that the noise that he had been hearing was getting louder the closer that he got to his home.
As Johnny finally came upon his home, he found that it was currently occupied by one very sticky fly. As it turned out, Paul had come to gloat and watch the sunrise from Johnny's home when he saw a certain rocking chair. Not knowing it was made of webbing, and feeling quite pleased with himself, Paul decided to be sitting in the chair when Johnny came home. And there he was, trying to free himself from the web that had caught him. In telling his story, Paul had confirmed that Johnny had, in fact, won the bet.
Now came time for Johnny's prize. Paul would tell him the secret to eating like a king in the city. Paul had Johnny come up close as he whispered the secret to Johnny. Johnny took a step back and asked if people actually did that. It seemed strange to him, but this was the big city, after all. The secret was ordering take-out. Paul said that Johnny could have chicken, pizza, burgers, subs, sandwiches, Italian, Chinese, or even Thai food! There were an endless number of places to try out, and more places were opening all the time. In the end, Johnny just had one question: Did any of them have a web-site?
Charles Lee McCabe
June 11, 2011