I am going to miss her, thought the White Coat male.
She had been a challenging identification. Eight hairy but shapely striped legs. An abdomen that just wouldn’t quit. She should have been an easy ID. Yet here they were, the two of them at the end of Bug Nights, finishing the last few and really tough identifications from 2014. The White Coat female had exhausted all possibilities in the McCafferty and was running for the Merritt and Cummins. This was serious. She hated the Merritt and Cummins.
“Ahem,” said the arachnid female.
“I am sorry to keep you waiting all this time,” said the White Coat male, “We don’t see a lot of your kind, um, I mean, family here and we are working hard to provide a positive identification.”
How difficult could it be, thought the arachnid. She was rare. She knew exactly who she was but these White Coats, they had to key out everything.
“Would you like a hint?” she asked seductively as she excreted silk doodles in her web. The doodles were art, really. If you looked at them with your eyes nearly shut, they were caricatures of the White Coats running around or splayed on the web. It was difficult to tell which. They were almost effigies and they looked alarmed or possibly panicked.
The White Coats stopped in their tracks. The Bug Night-ers all froze. They had been working hard all year—many of them for years. Just ask an insect or an arachnid? Could it be this easy?
“Oh, yes,” said the White Coat male as if in a trance, “Please, please, tell us your name.”
She whispered, “Msphetlistomvemfis,” it sounded like but was barely audible. Everyone strained to hear. Was it the denatured alcohol fumes? Everyone seemed spacey. The room began to swim.
“Pardon me,” said the White Coat female dreamily, “We didn’t hear you, would you please repeat your name?”
“Come closer,” the arachnid purred softly as her impressive mouth parts curled into a playful smile. She strummed the web with her tarsi and made the silken White Coat effigies dance.
It’s the big finish on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. Do or die. We have a just a couple of vials left from 2014 and they are very challenging. It’s dangerous work. You’ve been warned.
In case you suffer from Bug Night message withdrawal, the 2017 weekly messages are posted at http://www.merrimackriver.org/forum/ for posterity. We are working on uploading the 2016 messages with their attendant retro movie images.