The spider

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The fear of waking in the morning caused the man to sit awake in his chair for moments longer, but it was all the same. He would have to dig this hole some time, and it would have to be soon; the roaches on the wall, who had all been chanting, had by now completely ceased. It was natural, for the roaches would have to sleep some time too, and it could well have been any moment, but anyway they chose now. There had been an earlier moment during the day, in which the man had been forced to lie on his stomach and look at the ceiling; there was nothing there, of course. He then by chance saw a spider attached to the bottom wooden piece of the bookshelf; he knew it was chance because the spider was not moving and would therefore be unable to attract attention. The spider told him, in a secret way, very quietly, “There, you are just as myself, on your stomach, helpless, nothing to do. I understand this much. But in you I also detect strong anxiety and resistance; this I do not understand, and I must understand. So tell me.” So I told him about my journey to the floor on which I lay, how awful it was to obey gravity in its whim and to also have my digestion interrupted, because this was often true when I lay on my stomach. I told him I felt degraded to be lying on the same level as a spider and to be holding discourse with such an animal. The spider understandably did not take my statement entirely positively, and to be badly received for my thoughts by a spider worsened the feeling in my gut; this I did not tell the spider, who explained to me, “It is natural for animals of all kinds to make talk with one another; those who refuse, so far as I have seen, have struggled much later in life. I am here to tell you, though I have much been offended by your insulting remarks, that I am to serve you, and to relieve you of your anxious thoughts.” “I have no need of you gentle spider,” I told him, “It is I who has been offended by the very nature of this discourse; I do not intend to let you relieve me.” The spider only said, “Do you intend to lose your only friend, the lonely spider on the wall?” I replied, “I see you through, finally; it is you who will lose your only source of attention once I am to leave; you are fearful of my power, of my independence from you, and of your dependence on me. I shall have only to say, good-bye, old friend.” Then I begin to stand, but the spider in its last desperate attempt leaps to stop me; he is useless in stopping me; he only weighs a fraction of the fat in my body; I can clearly see his dark body, quick, like a shadow, make itself nearer, but it misses barely, poor fellow, and falls flatly on the floor, next to my body. I ask him, “Spider, are you alive?” It answers only with a murmur, which to the man sounds like, “Man, I have murdered you, and for that I am very sorry.” And that is how the man now sits, unable to sleep.