“The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” by Tess Tabak

Dec 20th, 2018 | By | Category: Fiction, Prose

“Ready for the pitch meeting, Sally?” Dave asked, pulling out a seat to sit at the conference table.

“I guess,” Sally sighed. “You’ve been finding such weird clients lately. Last week I made a website for a woman convinced she was the next Messiah.”

“Hey, I don’t see you complaining when I hand you your paycheck.”

“I’m not complaining, but where are you finding these people?”

“I have my ways.”Dave smiled. “Anyway, you’ll like these guys. They’re just a couple of plumbers. Brothers, I think.”


The door opened. Two rather large spiders dressed neatly in business suits crawled in. Sally gaped as they hopped from the floor to the tops of a chair, and then from the chair to the table top.

Hello. Iss thiss the meeting?” one of the spiders asked. It was wearing a tiny red bowtie. The other wore a purple tie.

“Uh… yes. We’re the web developers,” Dave said.

“I’m sorry, are you both spiders?” Sally asked.

We are the plumbers, yesss.

Dave cleared his throat. “…Right. And what did you have in mind for your website?”

The bowtied spider spoke. “Well, it should have webs on it.”

“Brilliant idea. Love it. Put webs on it.” Dave scribbled on his pad.

The necktie spider nodded its head. “At first we thought that we’d be naturals to build a website. But it didn’t work. It wasn’t sticky.”

Yesss, thissss ‘web’ of yours is quite enigmatic.”

“I can see why you were confused. Let’s talk content though. What did you want for your bio?”

We are ssssspiders,” the bowtied spider hissed.

Sally groaned. “Yes, I can see that.”

“Let’s dig deeper,” Dave said, glaring at Sally. “Why don’t you tell us how you got into the business?”

It sssseemed like the natural choice,” the necktied spider said. “As sssspiders we have many millionsss of children to support and plumbersss are always in demand.

Bessssides, drains are ssso cozy,” the bowtied spider added.

“…Moving on,” Sally said, “maybe we shouldn’t mention the spider thing on the website. Some people might find it a bit frightening.”

But why? We are proud to be plumberssss,” the bowtied spider cried. “We’ve worked very hard to build our businessss and we just want to let people know.”

We just wanted to clear your pipesssss.”

“Then again, I guess you wouldn’t want to be surprised by that either, would you?”

“Why don’t we break the spider thing in a nice gentle way,” Dave said.

We’d like our picture. On the home page,” the necktied spider said.

Yesssss,” the other agreed. “Our faces will sell many toilets.”

The spiders leaned together and made a terrifying mug.

“That’s… lovely,” Dave said. “Now, do you have any testimonials?”

We’re afraid not.

“So you’re just starting out then?” Sally asked.

No, it hasssss been quite a while,” the bowtied spider sad.

Sally’s pen hovered above her notepad. “But surely someone’s said something? Given you a review or something?”

No,” the necktied spider said. “When we’re done working they all ssssay something like thisssss.” It made a horrified expression.

We’re not sure yet what it meansssss,” the bowtied spider added. “Humans are fascinating creatures.”

“OK. Right. What about special skills?” Dave asked.

We haven’t got any.

“None at all?”


“Well, what sets you apart from other plumbers?” Sally asked.

The spiders stared blankly.

“OK. Let’s try something more basic. Are you good plumbers?” she asked slowly.

Not very good, no,” the bowtied spider said.

You’d be surprised how hard it is to fix a toilet when you’re our size,” the necktied spider agreed.

Turning a wrench when you’ve got eight legs and no arms.

And if you get caught in the drain. A nightmare.

Sally sighed. “OK… look, I don’t mean to overstep here. But do you even know what plumbers do?”

They sssell toilets, of course.

And crawl through the drain, exploring the delicious cloggings inside.

We’re sssstill working out the sssspeccccifics. But we try ssso very hard. Please give us a chance.

“We actually have a leak right in our kitchen sink,” Dave said. “If you can fix it, we’ll give you a great review.”

Thank you ssssincccerely.”


The four of them walked over to the kitchen. The spiders crawled inside the sink.

I believe I can sssssee the problem,” the necktied spider said, peering into the drain.

The drain let out a whooshing sound.

Sssam, look out!” the other one cried.

They all looked on, horrified, as the necktied spider was sucked into the pipe.

“He’ll be alright, won’t he?” Sally asked. “Like the itsy bitsy spider?”

Don’t mention that name,” the bowtied spider hissed.

The necktied spider crawled back into the sink, drenched. The other spider put a comforting hand on its back.

The drowned spider rocked back and forth, singing softly to itself. “Down came the rain. Down came the rain. Down came the rain.


Tess Tabak is a freelance writer living in New York City, currently working as a ghost writer (boo!). She co-edits the Furious Gazelle (thefuriousgazelle.com), an online literary magazine devoted to art and fury. She graduated from the Purchase College fiction program where she won the Ginny Wray Senior Prize in Fiction. Her publishing credits include Athena’s Daughter’s II, The Big Jewel, and Janice Magazine.

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