Student - February 12, 2015

Vacuum cleaner

The story so far: A couple of months ago Vera met an alternative type of guy. After a slow start, they now seem to be gradually getting serious.

A chilling scream shattered the Saturday morning quietness in the house. Still halfasleep, Willem-Jan stumbled out of his room. ‘Seriously, what the fuck is going on?’ Bianca, dressed in a bathrobe, had pressed herself up against the wall. She was pointing. ‘A spider, a spider!’

A web had indeed been spun across a corner of the room. And its owner was adding another new thread to its lower edge. ‘Well spotted,’ said Willem-Jan. ‘Really, it’s such a waste that you’re not doing biology.’

Behind him, Vera came out of her room, yawning. Vecino started butting the housemates’ legs enthusiastically. ‘It’s so big. Someone has to vacuum it up.’ ‘It’s a pretty big one alright,’ said Willem-Jan, ‘but he’s not gonna eat you up. Well, it’s a nice little performance but I’m going back to bed.’

Pleea-heeease get rid of that animal.’ Bianca pouted and Willem- Jan rolled his eyes in response. Sighing, he ambled over to the hallway cupboard to get the vacuum cleaner. Vera watched all this looking thoughtful. ‘Why do you want to vacuum up the spider? He catches flies and he won’t hurt you.’

Bianca looked indignant. ‘It’s got legs. It’s hairy. It’s scary. Get rid of it.’ ‘Rubbish!’ said Vera. She launched into a speech about respecting life and giving nature free rein. Bianca looked at her open-mouthed and with mild disgust. ‘Since you’ve been hanging out with that dismal dreadlock guy you’ve been getting weirder by the week. I’ll show you what I do to big fat spiders.’

Irritated, Bianca yanked the vacuum cleaner’s hose out of Willem-Jan’s hands and hit the ‘on’ button. The green, vintage 1980s machine burst into life with an awful racket. Vera jumped between Bianca rushing headlong across the room and the spider’s web. ‘Get out of the way, you cow!’ ‘Piss off with that hoover, bit...’ As the nozzle of the vacuum cleaner was pressed to her mouth, Vera’s last words died in her throat.

‘Ladies, ladies,’ said Willem-Jan as he switched off the vacuum cleaner. ‘Shall I throw the spider onto the balcony? Spider gone but not dead. Everyone happy.’ It seemed to be a compromise they could all support. Willem-Jan carefully grasped the spider, which immediately scampered over his hand and dropped to the floor. Bianca screamed. ‘Fuck. Where is it now?’ Willem-Jan had just knelt down to capture the little beastie when Vecino raced past him.

The cat pressed the spider to the floor with his paw, caught it between his teeth and dashed off. Willem-Jan watched in stunned silence before bursting into irrepressible laughter. ‘It’s the circle of life.’ Immediately Vera dealt him a thump. ‘Asshole,’ she said and ran into her room.


Illustrations: Kim Peterse

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