As the human read her book in her comfy chair, her right hand began to itch like anything. Looking down at it, she saw a tell-tale red bump on the back; looking off to the side, she saw a tell-tale mosquito clinging to the wall.
“Did you just bite me?” she asked as she scratched the itch against all known advice.
“Who wants to know?” was the question that was the answer to the question.
“I do, I’m the one who just asked you!” The human snapped; meanwhile, the bump had tripled its original size and showed no signs of ceasing its progress.
“Oh,” the mosquito said while licking her proboscis, “then in that case, yes I did. Couldn’t be helped: got to make my babies somehow.”
The human found some calamine lotion and vigorously rubbed a quart of it onto her hand. “You know, I don’t begrudge you the blood, I’ve got plenty, but I do begrudge the possible disease and the week-long itchy-itchy-itchiness! Couldn’t you just drink and fly without all that?”
“I already do, I even numb you up a little while I’m at it! You need me to hold your hand too or something?”
“You only numb it so I don’t smush you mid-drink!”
“That. And that’s all I do – it’s your own body that’s itching with the reaction of my sipping, go take it up with yourself.”
“But you started it!”
“This one bothering you?” The spider hanging by a thread next to the human’s shoulder chimed in; the human reflexively drew back.
The mosquito, in a combination of braggadocio and terror, remarked, “Oh, I see it’s that type of neighborhood” before flying out the window, screaming.
The human continued to stare at the spider, who said “You’re welcome” to fill the void.
“And how long have you been here?” the former asked.
“Depends on what you mean by ‘here,’” the spider replied, swinging to the corner. “Is it ‘here’ as in the spot where I am right now, or ‘here’ as in the house in general?”
“In that case, forever. Since you’re relatively new, would you like the official tour? I’ve noticed you haven’t even begun to explore the wonders of the attic’s eaves.”
“And I see you’ve set up a nice little home for yourself,” the human said as she tried to back away unobtrusively from the ginormous web she had only just now noticed. “I suppose I’ll let you stay, since you do help weed out the riffraff.” In silent agreement, the itchy bump had nearly completed its transformation into a third hand.
The spider chuckled. “That’s rich, since this whole neighborhood was our home before you apes-with-airs came along to plant your real estate flags. If anything, we let you stay. We could very easily dispatch you in your sleep and there’d be nothing you or your ilk could do about it. But: we don’t.”
The spider swung by her for dramatic effect: “You don’t actually think you live here alone, do you?”
“I was under the presumption that I did. The mortgage company certainly thinks so.”
“Hate to disappoint – scratch that, love to disappoint – there are quite of a few of us sharing the ol’ abode with you. We keep a low profile for self-preservation, but I’d recommend not looking too closely under, between, and/or on top of the furniture, unless you’re in the mood for a surprise.”
The human felt her world become a strange and crowded place. “What am I going to do?! I’ll have to hire an exterminator, and I hate extra bills!”
“I don’t see why,” the spider said as she rolled up her lunch that had just flown in. “This hasn’t been an issue before now, we all benefit from this arrangement, why bring bad fortune on yourself by wiping out your fellow residents? What did they ever do to you?”
“This!” She held up her heavy hand, which now weighed almost as much as her head.
“That was an outsider,” the spider said, slurping. “You know very well that she wasn’t one of us. I’d introduce you to the rest of the group if I didn’t have a feeling you’d then kill them all.”
The human downed several tablespoons of antihistamine, headed to her bedroom, and declared before entering: “I’m going to sleep now. When I wake up, I would appreciate your and the group members’ assistance in the illusion that this was all a fever dream.”
“Fine by me,” the spider said as she started working on dinner and the human collapsed onto her bed. “I think we both can agree that it’s easiest to deal with pests by ignoring them.”