The Spider Lady and Other Short Stories and Poetry is now on World Cat and has an OCLC number for bibliographic referencing internationally. It is listed on World Cat with Askew and Holt Library Services Ltd located in Preston, Lancashire, PR1 1SY United Kingdom for both the printed version and eBook version.
It was a lonely night on the main drag of a very small town.
The electric signs were the cheeriest things around. Since it
was Friday night I had another liquor store clerk working with
me. I was at the beginning of the night shift with my partner
for the night. He was a young, black guy named Mark who I
had gone to high school with. Another clerk had come by to
pick up his weekly paycheck. His name was Mark, also. I was
in the back room loading liquor bottles into a shopping cart to
take out front and stock on the shelves.
Suddenly the clerk who had come to pick up his paycheck
came to the door and said, “Mark, get out here quick!” I was
the sort of unofficial, night manager there at the time. I had no
idea what was going on but I guessed it was one of those times
I would have to take responsibility for what happened. No one
had ever said to me, “Get out here quick!” like that before. I
followed Mark to the front of the store. He was already
standing outside on the other side of the other Mark. With me
on the right end we formed a line of three young men in front
of the liquor store.
Standing in front of us was a line of three other individuals
and an old pick-up truck. The three young men all had blonde,
short hair. All three wore faded straight leg, blue jeans and
white tee shirts. They were suntanned and muscular like
construction workers. I looked at the Mark I had gone to high
school with, standing next to me. Mark was wearing a tight,
dark colored, double knit shirt. He always had a naturally
round, chubby face but he was in good shape and very
muscular himself. His muscles were bristling but he was
facing three, burly guys. Probably as far as he was sure of it
was his own fight. He was visibly scared but every muscle of
his body was twitching. He was ready to fight for his life.
I looked over at the other Mark. He was a young, white guy
with brown hair. He was calm and stood steadfast. He had his
hands in the pockets of his windbreaker jacket. This Mark was
not a big guy. He was about my size. However in his full time
job in the Air Force he was with the military police. He just
had a desk job though but he was one of those guys who just
wanted to be a cop. He didn’t like just having a desk job.
The question mark was with me. I’m a smaller guy but as I
looked over at Mark with his muscles twitching and I looked at
the other Mark who was calm and steadfast I realized it didn’t
matter. Just the fact that there were three of them and three of
us was enough. The black Mark in his anger and fear was the
really scary one among us. I stood there with my hands in my
windbreaker pockets in line with the others facing these
irrational, young men. I mainly just felt a sense of sadness. I
recognized these young men as boys I had seen in high school.
They always walked around together in a group. I felt sad that
this had to be happening. It was like something that I knew
existed, that I had heard about or read about but never expected
to see. Who could believe this was actually happening? But it
I looked at the young men in front of us. Their hands were
at their sides with fingers curling as if to make fists, then
relaxing and curling. Then they relaxed their fingers again as
they noticed that I was watching their hands. The large
muscles of their arms were twitching. I looked over my left
shoulder and glanced at the large, plate glass of the storefront
behind us. This was my main concern. I imagined if this
really turned into a fight the danger of the glass shattering and
Now that there were three of us standing side by side things
were different. They actually started to back down. They
started to head for their old, primer gray, pickup truck. We all
automatically started going back into the store. When we went
inside I automatically started to go back to work stocking
We heard the sound of the truck starting up. Soon the truck
was driving slowly past the open, front door. One of the guys
yelled, “You’re all a bunch of nigger lovers!” which wasn’t
very insulting to any of us actually since we had nothing
against black people. It was sad to hear the n word though.
The truck roared off into the night.
I brought the shopping cart from the back of the store and
proceeded to stock the bottles. The black Mark started helping
me stock liquor on the shelves. Soon we were all joking and
laughing as if nothing had happened. The other Mark said
goodbye and left with his paycheck. We finished out the night
shift and locked up the store. As far as I know no one has ever
mentioned the experience since.
I started school in first grade. Kindergarten was not
required in those days. I was still five. It was then that I had
my first big crush. Her name was Theresa. She had pale,
blonde hair and fair skin. She was so beautiful I couldn’t stop
looking at her.
I was considered to be the smartest boy in the class. She
was considered to be the smartest girl. I was, also, the smallest
boy in the class. She was the smallest girl. Consequently
when we had to march in single file to go somewhere else in
the school or to the church we were first in each of the lines
with the boys in the left line and the girls in the right line. The
smallest to the tallest in each line and so we always held hands.
I must admit I loved to hold her hand. She didn’t seem to mind
holding mine although she seemed a little embarrassed and she
smiled coyly. I was glad. I loved to walk beside her through
the breezeways of St. John The Evangelist School.
In the second grade we started to study for our first holy
communion. Our parents had to buy us boys a little, blue, clip
on tie to wear. The boys got a package with a black prayer
book. It had a cover that held a rosary. The girls got a white
prayer book and rosary.
On the day of the first holy communion I was the first in the
line of boys on the left side of the center aisle. Theresa was the
first in the line of girls on the right side. We marched slowly as
we were taught with our hands pressed flat together, fingers
pointed straight up in prayer on our way to the altar. When we
got to the altar the boys knelt down at the altar in a line to the
left. The girls knelt down in a line to the right. Since I and
Theresa were at the front of the line we were the only boy and
girl kneeling down at the altar next to each other.
I couldn’t stop turning to my right to look at her. Her hands
were on the altar pressed together in prayer. She had a circle
of white lace, bobby pinned on top of her beautiful, blonde
hair. She looked so beautiful in her white, communion dress.
She looked straight ahead with a rhapsodic look in her eyes. I
thought I saw just a trace of a smile on her dainty face. Two
priests came to us to give each of us the host. Altar boys held
gold patens under our chins while each priest took a host from
their gold chalices to place the hosts on our tongues. They said,
“The Body of Christ” and we both said, “Amen”.
All evil seems to arise from the desire to dominate others.
Most men in our society are taught from a very early age to try
to dominate. It isn’t something that they think about
consciously. It operates at a subconscious level. They are
taught by the adults around them and their peers. Someone
dominates them and they in turn try to dominate others. They
do it without even realizing it and they do it without even
thinking about why. It is without question. In their conscious
awareness they may aspire to grandiose ideals but their actions
speak for what really motivates them from a subconscious
-Mark Alberto Yoder Nuñez
When was it? When I started sixth grade and I was still ten
my older brother, Daniel, the oldest of the family, a year older
than myself, made friends with a boy in his class, Jimmy. It
turned out that Jimmy lived on the next street to the north of
ours, a street called McArthur Street. Our street was called E.
Illinois Street. It was unusual to meet someone who went to
our own school who, also, lived in our neighborhood since we
went to a Catholic, parochial school miles farther away than
the local public school. This was certainly a novelty. So it
was in a mood of high spirits that I went with my older brother
on a warm, Tucson, Saturday morning to visit in a foreign land,
McArthur Street, the street next to ours.
Jimmy was standing in his front yard expecting us. It was
the second house from the end after crossing the street. The
day was already growing hot in the desert climate. Jimmy was
much taller than my brother. He had blonde hair and was very
Caucasian looking with his pale skin. My brother introduced
us. Everyone seemed to be in high spirits.
I think the first thing that made a serious impression on me
about that first meeting was when Jimmy talked about the boys
who lived in the corner house next to his. It was a neat
looking, little house with a low chain link fence around the
front yard, a nicely mowed lawn and well cultivated flower
beds and shrubbery with a shady tree in front. Jimmy said to
watch out for the boys who lived there because they were
really ba-a-ad. Having never met Jimmy before and being a
child, together with the fact that he seemed an amiable enough
boy, I decided to trust him with the things that he said.
We were looking toward the house across the street and I
saw a very pretty, teenage girl walking in the front walk
towards the front door of the house. She had bouncy, medium
length, dark brown hair and she smiled at me with a big, nice
smile showing her white teeth. Then she went into the house.
Jimmy said that once she went out on a date with a guy on
Saturday night and he didn’t bring her home until the next
morning. I had to think for a moment about what Jimmy was
trying to imply. With the tone in his voice it sounded like he
was trying to put this pretty girl down. I liked her. I wasn’t
going to pay attention to what Jimmy said.
After this we had made our way to the gravel and dirt
driveway of Jimmy’s house. Suddenly a younger boy came
out of the house on the other side of Jimmy’s. He had medium
brown hair and came running up to Jimmy like a happy puppy
excited about meeting new friends. Jimmy said, “This is
John.” Jimmy then promptly started hitting John over the head
with a rolled up newspaper he had picked up from the
driveway. The poor boy ran away crying back into his house.
I was horrified at what I had just seen. Jimmy simply resumed
his conversation and invited us into his house to show us
At this point I suppose had we been a little older and more
experienced in life we would have seriously started to wonder
about Jimmy. However since we were charged with the
euphoria of something that is so important to children at that
age, making a new friend, together with how nice Jimmy acted
towards us, we accepted his friendship. We went with him into
his house, met his mother and accepted his hospitality.
It wasn’t too long after this that one Saturday my brother
took me along with Jimmy to meet another friend of theirs on a
long trek, miles away, beyond St. John’s school. This boy was
named John, too. He was in the same grade as my brother and
Jimmy. He had brown hair and was tall like Jimmy. John had
a nice, big house with a very large yard and an apple orchard
adjacent. He took us out in the middle of the orchard. It was
cool and pleasant under the shade of the apple trees. John had
very short hair like a crew-cut and stood up very straight. He
actually seemed slightly taller than Jimmy. John was the kind
of guy who wore buttoned sweaters and sometimes would wear
a turtle neck dickie under his shirt. He was very conservative
looking. This was the mid-sixties era. John seemed like an
intellectual, scientific looking kind of a guy. He seemed
almost a bit aristocratic in the way he spoke. Walking back
toward his house John pointed out his tree house in the back
yard. It wasn’t like our tree house in our back yard which was
just a wooden platform in the tree limbs made of scrap wood.
John’s tree house had plywood walls and a roof. John had
electricity and a television in his tree house.
We went into John’s house and Jimmy and John suggested
that we play a board game called Risk. They wanted to be on
one team and have my brother and me be on the other team.
Not knowing any better we agreed. It didn’t occur to us at the
time that Jimmy and John knew how to play the game and we
In this game there was a map of the world and various
armies in different colors with equal numbers of pieces. Each
team member received two armies and the world was divided
evenly between the two teams with an equal number of
countries. At the beginning of the game each team was
supposed to distribute its armies across all of its countries.
My brother and I logically assumed that we should
distribute our armies as evenly as possible in all the different
areas to protect against attacks. John and Jimmy to our
surprise left the minimum of one army in most of their
countries and massed the bulk of their armies in a few areas.
We soon found out why. Everything was decided by the roll of
the dice but besides the roll of the dice odds were taken into
account based on the number of armies engaged in each battle.
So therefore the roll of the dice could be in our favor but the
odds in terms of the number of armies could be so
overwhelming that we would still lose the battle. While we
were losing armies they were gaining armies. We of course in
our turn attacked only their countries that had minimum
protection and kept gaining countries while they were only
losing one army at a time. It wasn’t long that we had control
over most of the world but had lost most of our armies. The
armies we had left were thinly spread while Jimmy and John
had armies massed in a few areas. The tide of the battles
turned completely against us as the odds were so high against
us that we soon were losing every battle. Even when it was our
turn to attack we were faced with battles we couldn’t win.
At this point we wanted to just quit and end the game. John
and Jimmy said that we couldn’t and that we had to finish the
game. We finished out the game to satisfy our new found
friends but we were reduced to a state of total demoralization.
Even when I asked again to quit the game they were insistent
that we had to finish the game. I couldn’t help but wonder
what kind of people are these? If they had wanted a good
game they would have had an inexperienced person on the
same team with someone who knew the game. Instead they
wanted to crush and dominate. They weren’t interested in a
Male, white supremacy is an ugly bird
It rears its head at childbirth as this truth comes to be heard
Doted on, spoiled and privileged so how would a small child
In ignorance carefully taught with words and imitation
That men are superior to women in every situation
Girls are emotional, Feminine is silly and frivolous
Men only are obviously fit to rule, stoic and without emotion
Those who complain of discrimination and harassment are
This world is a tough place, there’s no room for the weak and
As they’ve been taught with their high school jock mentality
Say you’ve had a hard life, they’ll say, “I think everyone has”
Point out to them they have advantages and privileges
They’ll say, “What does it matter?”
It only means that people have to try harder If it’s that bad just find another job, that’s always the solution
Secure in their minds that old, white men in dark suits, the only
ones fit to lead are taking care of everything
If they’re put in a situation where they are treated equal
They cry reverse discrimination to tilt everything back in their
With no ambition, confidently waiting for their parents to die
So that with an inheritance they will be richly rewarded
Their friends convince them the key to happiness is avoiding
Convinced of their superiority and that all they have
is through their own hard work and ingenuity
Don’t mention to them the hard work of their wives
or their faces will grow red with anger
Getting in good with the bosses is the key to an easy life
When confronted with tough issues
They switch to talking about sports, something important
When workers stick up for their rights
They know whose side they’re on
And make it a race issue with divide and conquer tactics
Insecure about their own social position, unhappy with their
Lashing out with jealousy, any reason to hate to justify what is
If their self esteem is hurt, simply drop more bombs
So they can watch it on their televisions
And cheer with glee and they can gloat
This ugly bird consumes the nest, worries the mother
And feeds upon the young
War is peace, Love is hate and Ignorance is bliss
Just as the book of prophecy says
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The next time I got this call everything seemed as the
previous time. I pulled up behind the old car in the driveway
thinking the same thoughts, that she must drive this car even
though it always appeared as if it never moved. I walked along
the front porch to her door, the dark green, waxy leaves of the
vines to my right. She asked me to come in the same as before
and I waited on the same couch with its ornate looking
cushions as she went to get her checkbook.
As I looked about me, seated on the couch, examining
everything very critically I thought that nothing was worn,
everything seemed perfect but everything seemed old. The
horrible smell came to my nostrils again. The smell kept
growing stronger. I wondered where the smell had been
before. I looked at the open sheet music on the piano. I
thought to myself that the music I was looking at must be
weird, depressing, classical music. I realized everything was
set up. Everything that was happening was well planned. This
was only obvious.
I kept smelling the smell, trying to analyze what it could be
and why it was here in this weird and cluttered but pristine
looking place but the only thing I could think of was that it
smelled like Death. It was warm and stuffy. I just wanted to
get outside, away from the smell. She reappeared, wrote out
the check and I was released to go outside.
I walked outdoors. The fresh, sweet, summer night air
seemed intoxicating. It was very dark. I walked along the
corridor with the ivy to my left. I thought I felt more lucid
because it seemed cool compared with the warm stuffiness of
the house when suddenly there was a pale, ghostly stickiness
and a gauzy halo all around in my hair. I was still walking and
reflexively threw up my arms and hands realizing I had walked
right through spider’s webs. I was scared. I walked more
quickly sweeping away spider’s webs from my hair, neck and
shoulders, afraid there might be spiders on me. I swept the
back of my neck and down into my shirt collar. As I reached
the steps I was thinking over and over how it could be possible
that I just walked along that porch and along the same path and
on the way back there was so much spider’s webs. I thought
how could a spider spin so many intricate, gauzy webs so
quickly. The spider’s webs weren’t old and dusty. In fact they
As my feet were placed firmly on the pavement of the
driveway I felt young, confident, lucid and virile. I walked
towards the taxi, observing it and walked around the back of it
examining every detail to make sure everything was safe and
normal. Everything seemed safe.
I opened the door of the taxi and proceeded to get in,
stepping in with my right leg and sliding my body on the seat
while my left foot was still on the ground. I reached my left
hand to pull the open door closed after me when I saw it!
There was a black spider, the size of the palm of my hand on
the cuff of my shirt sleeve looking right at me, directly into my
eyes. It wasn’t fuzzy at all but had a smooth body that was
completely black. Thinking without words in an instant
because there wasn’t time to think with words I realized I had
to move left, out of the taxi, for fear of brushing off the spider
so that it would fall into my cab where it would run and hide.
Then it could attack me later as I was driving. I was afraid the
beast would run up my shirt sleeve and attack me. I moved
instantly to my left to push myself up and out of the taxi and to
brush the thing away. As soon as I moved at all to my horror
the large, black spider instantly raced up my arm at lightning
speed, still looking directly into my eyes with a passion
resembling extreme anger. I brushed with hand and was
vertical with all my weight on my left leg, pulling my right leg behind me from the vehicle. The spider had disappeared.
I wasn’t sure where it was. I was convinced it had fallen
outside of the cab as I stood in the now cooler but still warm
night. I got scared and started brushing all around my hair,
neck and shoulders, all over my body and started looking
around me. I decided to be logical and with the interior light
on and with my flashlight I inspected everywhere to make sure
the horrible beast wasn’t inside my cab. Still not sure, I pulled
the cab out and resumed my night shift. No spider attacked
me. I left the interior light on for awhile.
The little boy was in his grandmother’s kitchen eating milk
He solemnly looked down at his plate of cookies as he sat at
the kitchen table.
He came to his grandmother’s house every day after school for
milk and cookies before going to the library to do his
His grandmother was busy in the kitchen, washing and drying
She had her back to the grandson, busy with her work.
“Grandma”, she heard the little boy say.
“Yes”, the grandmother said while drying a baking pan.
“What’s wrong with girls?” the grandson asked.
“What do you mean?” replied the grandmother.
The little boy was still looking down at the table.
“When I go to the library these girls sit at a table near me and
they tease me”, the boy said.
The grandmother stopped what she was doing. She turned
around to look at the grandson, leaning back against the
kitchen sink and looked thoughtfully at the little boy.
The boy had never looked up from the table and was solemnly
chewing a piece of cookie.
After a pause the grandmother said, “Maybe the reason they
tease you is because they like you”.
The little boy continued to eat his cookies and drink his milk in
Then the boy stood up, put on his backpack with his
schoolbooks inside and scurried toward the door.
The grandmother turned around to watch him and said, “Where
are you going?”
The grandson stopped at the edge of the open, back door
without looking back. After a few seconds he said, “I’m going
to the library!”
He darted out the back door, jumped from the back door steps
and ran round to the side of the house to let himself out the
gate. He ran through the front yard to the sidewalk happily on
his way to study at the library!