Can we live without them?
In the old part of town, on the cobblestone outside an Irish bar, I met a kangaroo in a trench coat. Gun in his pouch and a knife in his pocket, I spoke slowly so as not to alarm or anger him.
He offered to solve my problem for $100 and a jar of Marmite, which, luckily, I always carry with me.
I told him of the monsters I feared, the great spiders that left massive webs throughout the train stations and assembly lines.
The kangaroo laughed and asked for my passport. He stared at it intensely; it had expired, but the photograph still resembled me, and my name was clearly embossed at the top of the first page, Truth Ann Reason. The kangaroo kept it, held it for safety until the mission was over.
We set out at dawn, me on a horse, him on a bicycle. We had a three-day supply of Red Bull and British biscuits. I carried the ammunition; he carried the weapons.
By mid-week, we arrived on the outskirts of the capital city. From our mounts, we could see most of the monuments, but mist obscured the grounds, casting a gothic backdrop. Wind carved through the mist, mimicking grey waves of assembling armies.
We met up with locals who knew the city well and could get us in unseen. A union executive who spoke Russian, a retired history teacher in a Che Guevara T-Shirt, a two-star general who managed a lobbyist group in his spare time, an illegal alien, a lawyer and a postal worker.
"The Vanguard," laughed the kangaroo.
Gaining access to the city by way of the sewers, we emerged during the wee hours near the stone phallus. The locals had moved to higher ground, near the city center, for safety and a better view.
At dawn, with citizens on rooftops, in trees, and high up on cell towers, the kangaroo disappeared, leaving me alone to face the enemy.
I stood in the square, squinting in the morning sun, bellowing their names at the top of my lungs. I called them out to face me. I told them exactly who I was.
Nothing stirred. Nothing happened. I sat down on a park bench and waited. The spiders would not confront me, they would not step into the sunlight, they would not be exposed.
Around dinner time, the kangaroo returned and sat down beside me. "It's over," he said, smiling and gesturing towards the rooftops around me.
As I watched, slowly, one by one, the locals, tired from a long day of sloth, casually stepped off their perches and plummeted to the ground, screams of terror erupting from their lips. There were no webs below, no nets to catch them, only cold hard ground.
Thousands followed, from windows, balconies, and fire escapes, all believing the spiders would provide.
I turned to the kangaroo and screamed. "The spiders were the enemy. What have you done to the people?"
The kangaroo threw back his head and laughed. "I did nothing to them, my friend. I simply kept the spiders at bay for one day." He chuckled again as a body hurtled past, crashing into the marble pond. "The people were your problem. Spiders only pander to the masses. Don't you see? Spiders are born of the people. And the people can't live without nets."