Something revolting is floating in the soup
Today I discovered a spider's leg in my mushroom soup. I panicked as any civilized person would.
It was a long leg, perhaps a rear leg, sunburned at the lower shin area, probably from too much time in open spaces or a recent tropical vacation.
I couldn't eat my soup - I just sat there staring at the leg for half an hour, wondering how it got there.
Of the many possible options I considered, the simplest involved the intersection of modern soup-making practices with the likely habitats of spiders, that being dank and dreary mushroom farms full of shit. Or perhaps a drab old red-bricked factory, housing a cellar home to several varieties of mushroom and spider alike.
The most practical theory involves a massive soup making machine, spinning and grinding in the unlit basement of a facility where schoolchildren never visit. Guided tours moving past the unmarked structure and on to more glamorous buildings churning out breakfast cereals and bubble gum.
No doubt, my hapless arachnid stumbled into the wrong black oily crevice during a drunken stroll home one evening, unceremoniously scooped by a huge mechanical arm and deposited into an Acme brand mushroom sorter. The kind of sorter known for spinning with extreme centrifugal force, removing dirt, fertilizer and water from fresh fungi.
My inebriated spider would have vomited like an overfed seven-year-old at the county fair.
Well, that's great, now there's spider vomit in my soup. My stomach lurches a bit at the thought.
From the spinner, my spider would have dropped into a sizer for selection according to girth. I can't judge from the leg alone, but, fat or thin, it's clear his specific size sealed his fate since the next part of his journey led to stainless steel knives and, sadly, not to the packaging conveyor for whole mushrooms.
I hope he was still drunk, oblivious or perhaps even fearless when the knives dropped. I also choose to believe his demise was quick and painless. Maybe he met his doom standing tall, or as tall as a spider can stand, saluting his forbearers as the blades of progress plunged from a heartless black sky.
Seven other legs and body parts went elsewhere. Perhaps, dear reader, you've unwittingly consumed some of my dear friend the spider. I hope it consoles you a little to know he died with honour and spider pride.
I'm unclear on the protocols for dead spider parts. Should I scoop it out and flick it into the garden, becoming one with nature again? Maybe say a small prayer and dump the soup down the john like so many goldfish before?
I am not good at this sort of thing - I tend to cry at goodbyes.
My hamster's final wish was a burial at sea - a desire likely influenced by the little captain's hat I made him wear and his given name, Ishmael. I couldn't do it. I was too distraught. I imposed upon a friend to perform the final ritual. They say it was a beautiful service. Ishmael's body, wrapped in the finest cotton facecloth, slipped off the cheese board and into the lake as the sun set on a beautiful October day.
So, as you can see, goodbyes, especially permanent ones, are very painful for me. I expect you think I'm over-reacting, after all, I never met this spider and don't know a thing about him - or her. Perhaps he was a nasty spider, evil, brought up on the wrong side of the barn. Or maybe he was selfish and self-centered, his grasping ambitions leading to his demise, whereas a more reasonable, less assertive spider would have been careful before stepping into unfamiliar machinery.
These are, of course, all possibilities. It also crossed my mind that this spider may have been pre-dead before succumbing to the machinery of modern soup making - living a long and productive life - spawning thousands of children and great-grandchildren before drifting off to sleep one warm afternoon in the mushroom bin of Eden. The notion warms my heart and makes the loss of this noble creature a little easier to take.
It's decided. I'll commit his soul to the arachnid angels, saluting his life with a flick to the garden from whence he came.
Using my finger to dab at the leg, I pull it out of the soup and hold it high in the air as if making an important point. Sunrays catch the edges of the limb, for an instant, framing it afloat in a tiny bubble of beige soup.
Oh dear, on closer inspection, this is an eyelash.
Now I wonder how this got in here.