“Stanley?” his sister peeped into Stanley’s room “is everything OK?” Stanley jumped at the mention of his name, excitement and agitation written all over his face. “Why were you jumping?” “Nothing really, you just startled me,” he said averting Martha’s eyes. Martha said, “Oh c’mon, don’t tell me you are still working on that Spiderman project of yours. Seriously man, you know it can’t happen in real life.” “Quiet, Martha!” he whispered “People will hear! I got to tell you something, I have finally fused the cells of spiders with my own. I think I got the right ingredients this time! This will be a breakthrough! Imagine how great that would be, me as ‘Spiderman’!”
Martha rolled her eyes and quipped “Slow down ‘Spiderman’, you need to go see a shrink. And besides you don’t even know what your tests will do. The last thing I want is an eight eyed, eight legged fiend living upstairs in my house and I am so sure each pair of your eyes would need spectacles.” “Martha! You are so cruel! This is my house too” “Yes, I am. Because you need to know that Spiderman happens in comic books, cartoons and movies. Boy you are going to make Tobey Maguire feel awkward.” Martha marched away muttering words like “dumb prick” and things that Stanley couldn’t hear. “Well, there it is” he thought “The reaction from the person I would tell!” He was too excited to accept defeat at his sister’s aloofness. The only thought that ran in his mind was to how to get a spider’s cytoplasm into his whole body. Injecting each cell sounded painful especially when it was to be done in places that he could not reach. He walked in circles, thinking of how he could get spider abilities in him, and after knocking his foot the fifth time with the side of the table he realised that what he needed was a “spider juice”, that would contain all the cells, enzymes, proteins and the genes that would provide him spider like abilities.
Stanley was assured that it would work, and he set out to find arachnids that would be juicy enough for his spider serum. He took an extra measure and brought a bottle of chocolate syrup to add a hint of his favourite flavour. Like a ten year old Stanley jaunted through parks and greens, searching nooks and crannies where arachnids would inhabit, hunting down poor spiders doomed just because they crossed paths with Stanley. “I need your cytoplasm and you enzymes for the greater good of man” Stanley would say. After a day’s hard work Stanley gathered a jar full of spiders that he would crush and grind into a pulp and drink to ‘assimilate’ the living tissues of spiders inside his body, and gain spider like abilities. Stanley decided the best time to drink this concoction would be after dinner because enzymes take better effect on a full stomach.
Later that evening, Martha and Stanley sat at the table, Stanley positively elated and Martha curious, as dinner was served. Usually the slowest to eat, Stanley made an exception and shovelled his food down and excused himself from the table. He then slowly sneaked into his room to prepare and drink his concoction. Putting all the chocolate syrup into the pulverized mass of arachnid tissue, scales and appendages, Stanley drank the whole mix in one breath, choking slightly at the repulsive smell of the gooey liquid. He then directly went to bed, hoping to find himself in a super state the next morning.
It seemed the night had passed in a flash; Stanley woke up next morning to find that he needed no spectacles to find his way to the bathroom. His astigmatism was gone. He was disappointed to see that he had not grown any bulk on him, though he felt positively stronger. He walked out of the house with confidence. Stanley sailed through the day and was amazed at his increased senses of perception. He went to school terrace that day as he thought of testing his abilities. He tried climbing the wall like any spider would, and amazed as he was he scaled the wall with ease. He needed to think and use his forearms and ankles to climb. His dream was coming true. With reluctance he tried to throw webbing onto an adjacent water tank, but nothing happened. He tried several hand formations, but to his astonishment, his appendages would not respond. He spat in disgust which made a fine line of spider silk where he wanted it. Excited and bewildered, Stanley held the webbing and leaned forward to make the iconic spider swing. Praying to God he leapt forward, the webbing held his weight, and he began to swing forward at an unanticipated speed. Stanley yelled loud but it was too late, he approached a brick wall very fast. Out of fear he closed his eyes and smashed into the wall. The pain was so unbearable that he fell unconscious.
Stanley woke up with a jerk in a hospital ward, sight blurred, his insides churning and his breathing painful. He could barely make out the outlines of his parents and his sister leaning over him. “He’s awake! Stanley is awake! Oh, we were worried sick for you! Why did you do this? What were you thinking, you stupid boy?” his mother cried. Stanley’s father mumbled something incoherent, while Martha simpered in a corner. “How did you guys find me? What happened to me? Did I break something?” said Stanley, not able to bear the sickness in his alimentary canal. The doctor arrived and checked Stanley’s pulse, heart rate and vital reports, and congratulated the family for Stanley’s recovery.
Confused, Stanley turned to Martha and asked her to explain. She choked and gulped and began narrating. “Three nights ago, when you went to your room, I followed you to see what you were upto. I saw you pulverizing the spiders and adding the chocolate syrup, and drinking that mixture. I panicked but didn’t say anything. The following morning you did not wake up, your pulse was weak, you perspired like a sodden towel. I raised an alarm and mum called for an ambulance. You were taken to the hospital in a critical state. The doctors attended to you day and night, they flushed your stomach for the remaining arachnid venom. Last night they said that you were sinking. They defibrillated you several times, and oh I am so thankful to God, you responded! We were on our knees in prayer. Don’t do that ever again, Stanley, or I’ll kill you myself” and she burst out crying and hugged Stanley.
All this while, Stanley could not come to terms that he was dreaming. Horrified at his own stupidity, he solemnly swore to leave Spiderman in his comics and dreams that day. He never admitted it but deep down he developed arachnophobia.