The Tarantulas, as usual, were meeting for dinner.

They had their witty little pre-dinner chat, bringing out various aspects of their personalities we may or may not need to know about for this story.

Tonight, however, was special. Henri' had now been made an official member, and as such, was not allowed to serve the dinner. A mysterious, tall, bald servant named Punjab had been borrowed from a friend of Henri's to do the honors tonight. Henri' was going to question the guest.

The other thing that made tonight special was the Supreme Court, who had ruled that such clubs must be open to women as well as men. The guest tonight was rumored to be female.

Their guest, a bit late and smelling vaguely of herring guts, arrived, and was escorted from the door by Punjab, who looked slightly annoyed at the familiar way she clutched his arm. She had a puffin-like nose, wore a huge hat adorned with fruit, and had too much red lipstick smeared on her face. Henri' thought she looked like a much older, female version of his favorite comic strip character. "A definite famililial resemblance", he muttered.

Striding in as if she owned the place, the guest was seated amidst much banter.

Henri' tapped his exquisite crystal goblet with a beautiful neutronium spoon. Instead of producing the desired tinkling noise, however, the goblet shattered, and half the shards disappeared into the spoon.

Looking miffed at his first ever social faux pas, Henri' merely hummed the Brandenberg Concerto until the room quieted.

"Welcome, Ma'am, to the Tarantulas Club. Before we get to the mystery, however, there is an old club tradition (not in the least bit sexist, I assure you) which must be satisfied."

The guest looked bored. She drained her third glass of Ripple and signaled Punjab for more. As he poured, Henri' continued.

"How do you justify your existence?"

In the silence that followed, with all eyes upon her, either amused or hungry (she did not stop to decide), the storm clouds gathered quickly about her face.

"Listen here, you damned sonofa..."

Henri', horrified, looked up at the ceiling, and muttered, "I tried to warn you..."

A giant, pink eraser darted from the sky and blurred the woman from existence before she could utter another syllable. Time seemed to freeze in the room. After a moment or two, a huge pen descended, and quickly filled in another guest, similar to the first, but with a different hat, and blue lipstick instead of red. The puffin nose, if anything, was more pronounced.

"How do you justify your existence?", Henri' asked.

In the silence that followed, with all eyes upon her, either amused or hungry (she did not stop to decide), the storm clouds gathered quickly about her face.

"Listen, dear. I don't have to justify anything at all to anybody. Dear, I was here long before you little turds, and I'll..."

She was interrupted as, with a lightning stroke, a glistening Pentel dove from the sky, moved faster than the eye could follow, and disappeared, leaving a gaggle of immature cave newts in her mouth. "Mumphle mear, mu mamned maftarf..." Her disgust was matched easily by her fury, but the newts seemed to think all the hot air in the crevice was a volcano, and kept attempting to crawl further in, making speech difficult.

Henri' rolled his eyes upwards. "I tried", he sighed.

This time the eraser worked even faster. The room was still, all frozen for a while, a study in curiosity or horror upon each face around the table, the Fried Alaska melting slowly on each plate frozen at some particular entropy level. Suddenly, the room jerked, things were lifted and thrown about, and a great rent appeared in the middle of the universe - all was torn to shreds, and darkness descended, along with a sensation quite akin to falling, while dissolving, in a dream.

Asic Isamov sat quietly, a look of disgust on his face, rubbing his brows, the paper before him half filled, his chrome Pentel thrown to the floor in disgust.. His wife sat smugly next to him.

"I told you she wouldn't work! Little bitch.", she giggled.

"It seemed like a good idea at the time..."

"Well, it's late. You can start over tomorrow. Maybe with a better character this time? After all, dear, I'm usually right, you know." Rising, she headed towards the back of the house. "Coming, dear?" she called.

I always intended to send this off to Dr. Asimov. Unfortunately, he had the bad grace to decease before I got around to it. I've never met him or his wife, ubt from all accounts she's nothing like trish on the net.

Last updated: 2 Apr 1994

Copyright 1989, 1994 Miles O'Neal, Austin, TX. All rights reserved.

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