Ad hoc

The remaining members of the fraternity convened in the den around the beer pong table. Gerald, in lieu of a gavel, pounded the sticky surface with an empty bottle of Stella Artois.

There were few of them, their ad hoc committee the brutal recourse after the sheer panic of the early days of every man for himself. Todd, Garrett, and Tony were all that remained of the pledges and Gerald was the last senior in the house. Stephen was a junior but had ceased speaking. He searched the empty cans on the table like a dying man stroking the grass of his own grave. Mercifully, Garret handed him a warm Bud Lite.

“Okay,” said Gerald, “this meeting’s called to order. Clearly we can’t fight it. Are we absolutely sure we’ve checked every exit?”

The pledges shook their heads in silent misery. All the windows were stuck shut and wired to the spider’s web. The front door was engulfed in its silk. There wasn’t a portal in the house they could turn to without the little arachnid knowing. It could sense the vibrations.

It had lived in the corner of the basement for so long, its web covered in dusty detritus, dried moths. They had named it and avoided the corner and asked each other if it was poisonous for years. Then just last week Randal bounced a wet ping pong ball into its domain. Whether it had been waiting all that time for one of the brothers to reach into the corner or it had simply become fed up with the subwoofers and smoke they had no way of knowing.

“Okay,” said Gerald, “at least can we vote on changing the spider’s name from Dwayne Bautista to Randal the Asshole Spider?”

Todd, Garrett, and Tony nodded their heads in agreement. Stephen screamed when the spider crawled out of his beer can.


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