As promised, the story continues. Not thrilled with the wordpress formatting on it, but for the time being I will make due until a solution can be found.
The highway rolls on ahead of us as Ahab’s corner of the universe fades into the middle distance. “Well, that was… That was a thing…” Seeing the inside of the place did nothing to help me wrap my head around its apparent existence. “Ahab is… Well he’s nice…” Its difficult to find the right words. I content myself simply with “Tell me, were those… were those real?”
At last Jack snorts, breaking the uncomfortable silence. “I was waiting for you to ask. As near as I can tell, yeah they are. Best not to give them any more thought.”
The satisfaction of my curiosity doesn’t bring as much catharsis as I thought it would. “Whatever you say… So do you think the tip is good?”
Jack is business now, contemplative. “My gut says yes. The timetable makes sense and the customer was buying suspicious merchandise. Now, we know generally where he’s going, but not where he’s going to hit. We need to narrow that down.” Ahab said the suspicious guy had borrowed a map and that he’d watched him plot his route. He could only tell us the general area of his destination, though. “Want me to call it in?”
“Sure, just make sure the old man wasn’t napping.” Atticus is our primary analyst and, for all intents and purposes, our boss. He can be a bit… cantankerous at times. Also he is probably the only man in the world to keep three pictures of Richard Nixon in his office. Three. I counted.
Jack puts us on speaker phone and plugs in the code for our secure line. Exactly one and two-thirds of a ring later, like always, Atticus picks up. “Radio Free Pimpin’ yo! Y’all got a song request?”
One of these days Atticus is going to snap and kill the coderoom guys. Jack and I have a pool going. “Requesting some four-one-one. Line is clean.”
The relief in his voice is audible. “Thank god, I was going to have to start saying ‘dawg’ next. You have a lead on the rover?”
“Word from Ahab is he’s heading west over the line, skipping Memphis but stopping somewhere east of Jonesboro. Was hoping you could help us narrow the search.”
The way Atticus pounds keys sounds like gunfire. He wears out at least one keyboard every year. “The Spider likes smaller towns, but with big middle class pops and a good suburban sprawl. Thank god we just had a census. Wait, I have something. Bearwood. It meets the right criteria, and it just won some award in a homemakers’ magazine for ‘Happiest Little Town in America.’ Who wants to bet our guy has a subscription?”
Jack leans on the gas a little. “Sounds like a winner. Even still, that’s a whole town to comb through.”
I’m already working on the problem in my head. All this and brains too. More than just a magnet for maniacs. “I hate to say it, but but at least we have time. The Spider works slow…”
Patience is a virtue. That’s what my mother always told me. How right she was. You can do anything with time and with patience. Anything. Centuries of consumerism have made us decadent and docile. We have lost the self-denial that makes lean predators. Not me, though. I am a wolf among lambs. A spider among flies. I need only three hours of sleep, which I take in fifteen minute increments. I need eat only once every four and a half days. Indulgence breeds weakness. Fattens us, sedates us. They don’t even know I’m here. They’re so perfect. Mother, father, son, daughter. They’re so picture perfect. So fucking perfect. Mustn’t swear. Mother always said. They aren’t perfect though. Not really. They can’t see all their fragile little flaws, suspended in glass like insects. Only I can free them. Free them from all their sticky wet cloying imperfections. Their flawed flesh. So perfect. I’m tempted to climb inside right now. Set up my lair. It would be so easy. They’re so very ripe. No. I am patient. Patience is a virtue. My mother told me that. I am a spider among flies, and a spider waits.