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Spider in the room 3

‘Holy fuck! When did you get back?’ ‘Just now.’ ‘Creepy little shit jumping up like that. Could have warned me.’ ‘Didn’t want to disturb you.’ ‘What so you just thought you’d pop into view in my peripheral vision and scare the shit out of me instead? Where have you been anyway?’ ‘Why? Did you miss me?’ ‘No it was peaceful.’ ‘Oh. That’s not very nice.’ ‘So where have you been?’ ‘Here and there.’ ‘Fair enough.’ ‘You know, round and about.’ ‘Okay.’ ‘Doing this and that.’ ‘Great.’ ‘Seeing the sights.’ ‘Yep.’ ‘Catching up with friends.’ ‘I got it.’ ‘Got embroiled in a little cup de twat.’ ‘Yup…what was that?’ ‘What?’ ‘You got embroiled in a what?’ ‘Oh nothing. Just a little cup de twat.’ ‘What the fuck is that?’ ‘What a cup de twat? Jesus, mate. Call yourself a writer? A wordsmith? A spinner of yarns…’ ‘What is a cup de twat?’ ‘You don’t know what a cup de twat is?’ ‘No I don’t.’ ‘Yeah when I say I was embroiled in it…what I actually meant was I was the er…the lead instigator within the little cup de twat.’ ‘The fuck are you on about?’ ‘My cup de twat! Aren’t you listening?’ ‘What is that? What does it mean?’ ‘The overthrow of a governing body by persons who are oppressed. What? Don’t laugh. It’s not funny, mate.’ ‘Cup de twat yeah?’ ‘Yeah that’s what I was embroiled in. I was! I really was…’ ‘Coup d’etat.’ ‘What is?’ ‘It’s not cup de twat but coup d’etat.’ ‘Is it? Oh bollocks. Roger kept telling me I was saying it wrong.’ ‘Should have listened to Roger.’ ‘Bit late now. He got killed in the cup de…the coup de twat thing we did.’ ‘Oh. Oh I am sorry to hear that, Spider.’ ‘Nah it’s okay. He was a dick anyway.’ ‘Oh. Well fair enough then.’ ‘Yeah so did that, you know…then thought I’d come back and say hi.’ ‘Okay. Hi.’ ‘Right so…yeah much going on?’ ‘Not really.’ ‘Been busy?’ ‘Busy writing.’ ‘Ah right, yep writing away there…tapping away…tap tap tap…’ ‘Yep.’ ‘Tapping away…tappity tap tap…’ ‘Writing.’ ‘Yep. Writing. Busy then.’ ‘Yes, busy.’

‘This web is in a terrible state.’ ‘Huh?’ ‘It’s all dusty. Don’t you clean round this lamp?’ ‘I didn’t know if you were coming back.’ ‘Alright shirty. Keep your thinning hair on.’ ‘Its shaved not thinning.’ ‘Yeah I climb walls, mate. That’s thinning that is.’ ‘Whatever.’ ‘Yeah so…terrible state this web…since I been away doing my coup de…thing.’ ‘Make another one.’ ‘Make another one he says! Make another one. Not like I’ve been busy or anything overthrowing dictatorships.’ ‘You really want to tell me don’t you?’ ‘Eh? Tell you what?’ ‘About your coup d’etat. I thought  a coup d’etat was when someone in authority overthrows the government as opposed to just a general run of the mill government overthrow…which is just an overthrow and not a coup d’etat.’ ‘Still a coup.’ ‘Yeah but a coup comes from the phrase coup d’etat rather than just…oh never mind. So what happened then?’ ‘Not much. Really ain’t much to tell. Big Bastard, you remember him? Lived under the floorboards? Had the protection racket going on? Extortion and crime? Had prostitution rings? Forced the price of webs through the er…well through the ceiling literally and into the loft as it goes. Anyway, Big Bastard. Remember him? Crawled across your dogs at night and dangled an inch over your open mouth while you slept to show he wasn’t afraid of you…here, you alright?’ ‘That’s fucking gross.’ ‘Which bit?’ ‘Over my open mouth?’ ‘Yeah don’t worry about the crime spree and fear he instilled in everyone. Just worry about your gob, mate.’ ‘Hmm, fair one. So yeah, go on?’ ‘Eh? Ah not much to tell. Decided enough was enough like you do. Organised a resistance movement and started recruiting and training members to start a campaign of submersion and…’ ‘Subterfuge not submersion. Not unless you were under water.’ ‘Fuck you, clever twat. Yeah so got that going on. Started building belief that things could be better. Took some doing mind, you know, so many species of spider being harassed, the woodlouse were up for it, spoke to the rats but they didn’t want to know. Funny buggers the rats. Anyway, so got all the species together and we marched on his mansion web. Course he went ballistic. Oh my god he was crazed and kept snorting termite dust driving him into this frenzy. Things got messy, things got said that shouldn’t have been said. Someone through a woodlouse and it went off. Lots of violence. Sieges. Hostages taken then released. Spy rings set up with intelligence and counter intelligence measures all over the place. But these things come to a natural end and he finally came out from his hole in the corner of the bathroom and we ate him…’ ‘Fucking what?’ ‘We ate him. It’s a spider thing.’ ‘Right.’ ‘Yeah so of course that left a void as it always does and being the muggins that led the whole thing naturally they looked to me to take over. of course I said I didn’t want to do it but then there was this sexy house spider called Sheila who persuaded me to stay. So I stayed. Set up an interim government and established law and order throughout the under floor world. Things moved fast. Everyone was positive and filled with the joy of freedom but you know, the rot soon started to set in. Word spread about the new safe world under the floorboards and we had mass migration from every bloody species known coming down and claiming asylum. Course we welcomed them with open legs. I mean a few of the little ones did get eaten but things started to balance out. Then more kept coming until fractions were developing. The house spiders took over some sections then the cupboard spiders laid claim to the far corner of the bedroom. We had some false widows come down that said they needed their own bit so we gave them one side of the hallway.  Course that drove web prices up due to the demand which created a web shortage and spiders were sharing webs. I think on one web we had a daddy long legs, a tube web, a false widow and three money spiders. Course they all got different diets and catching flies was becoming impossible even with foraging parties sent out into the garden by the bins. In the end we adopted a farming methodology whereby we bred flies from maggots and got a whole rotation thing going on. Then the woodlouse said it was barbaric and went on strike unless we improved the living conditions of the flies and maggots. Oh it was uproar. The woodlouse do everything. They get rid of old webs, help circulate the dust, eat all the shit, take out the rubbish, clean the webs. Can’t do without ’em. Great people the woodlouse. Anyway some smart arse garden spiders from the hedges started this weird investment thing which spiked the web prices until they crashed which of course had a detrimental effect on the whole economy. Currency was devalued. Unemployment went up. These gangs were forming from the teenage spiders. The money spiders kept everyone going for a bit and were bailing out the sections until they finally had enough and said they wouldn’t support the cupboard spiders extravagant lifestyles any longer. They defaulted. Mass uproar. The hedge spiders got eaten. By this time of course Sheila had given birth and we had a thousand screaming kids and I decided I’d had enough so I fucked off up here for a bit.’ ‘Wow.’ ‘Yeah like I said. Not much to tell really.’ ‘That’s amazing. Really. Like incredible.’ ‘Ah nothing much, just did my bit.’ ‘You should write a book on it.’ ‘Me? Nah I can’t do that. Can’t type for a start. Too many legs.’ ‘Well, it’s impressive.’ ‘Ta very much. So what you been up to?’ ‘Writing.’ ‘Oh right. Anything else?’ ‘Not really. Take the dogs out every morning. Er, get to the gym a bit. Mainly writing.’ ‘That time travel book do okay did it?’ ‘My agent has it.’ ‘She got it has she? What she think?’ ‘She keeps telling me off for poor punctuation and that every page of work needs huge amounts of editing.’ ‘Ah can’t handle the criticism then? Getting defensive? Bit defensive there? Bit poochy? Getting defensive and poochy yeah?’ ‘Something like that, but it comes down to the use of a capital letter after a line of dialogue which contains a question mark. That rule relates to the tag word being part of the whole sentence of dialogue especially when the dialogue is split in two with connecting words in between… which is an adherence to a set of principles laid down a billion years ago and my belief is language has got to be allowed to evolve otherwise the whole publishing industry is dominated by English purists who have university educations. Which then starts a whole new argument that unless you have a higher standard of English you have no right to be within that world. There are some stunning writers out there who don’t get the purist finite grammar rules and could be shunted out from ever having their voices heard simply because they never had the chance to study to that higher level.’ ‘Yeah didn’t really get any of that. I’m just a spider.’ ‘Right, can you see the screen?’ ‘Yep.’ ‘So… this is what I do when I write dialogue… ‘Do you want a cup of tea?’ He said feeling angry at being ignored. That’s how I do my dialogue. But purists do this….‘Do you want a cup of tea? he said, feeling angry at being ignored. See the difference? It comes down to using a capital letter after a question mark within the dialogue and then a comma placement giving separation between he said and what comes after to reflect the mood of the character. Personally I don’t see the bloody difference. Both lines of dialogue are clear. He is asking if the other person wants a cup of tea and he’s angry at being ignored.’ ‘Um…’ ‘And this irritates me too. The rule about dialogue broken by action. It’s meant to be like this. ‘He asked if you wanted a cup of tea’ – he slapped the fish against his face in anger – ‘but you ignored me.’ Why use the em dash? You don’t need the dash. ‘He asked if you wanted a cup of tea,’ he slapped the fish against his face in anger, ‘but you ignored me.’  Seems clear to me. Maybe I’m autistic or really bloody thick but why have the dashes? Years ago dashes were great and awesome and wonderful but we’re dominated by text speech, emails, internet and web pages that make use of those sorts of marks and personally, I don’t want to see them when I am reading. The less the better. Same with exclamation marks. I rarely use them. There are so many little rules like that and they annoy me.’ ‘Wish I’d never asked now.’ ‘Go read Charlie Huston and see his use of punctuation.’ ‘Wow…you’re really cross…’ ‘And more action writers are using clipped syntax these days too, there’s a whole movement of change that should be allowed to flourish and grow.’ ‘Going back under the table now.’ ‘If everything always remains the same it gets boring and then we walk into Tesco and Waterstones and see the same authors on the shelves week after week when there are some truly gifted writers that should be on those shelves.’ ‘Bye then.’ ‘But you see what I mean right? About the dialogue thing…spider? Spider? Oh he’s gone…fuck it, I’m going to bed. Night, Spider.’ ‘Night…’


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