Domestic Webs

Domestic Webs
A short play in three acts.

Characters:

NANCY – a pretty brunette of about 25. Gregory’s loving wife.

GREGORY – Nancy’s devoted husband.
and

Shadow – a large pet tarantula.

ACT I.
Scene 1.
Gregory’s study.

Gregory walks in, carrying a small aquarium. He sets the aquarium on one of the book shelves. Steps back to take a good look at it. Adjusts a few items on the near-by shelves, and walks out, whistling.

A few minutes later Nancy walks in, a duster in her hand. She dusts the furniture, looking happy and humming to herself. She starts dusting the book shelf and sees the aquarium. She drops the duster and freezes. A few minutes pass. Nancy slowly and carefully backs away towards the door, her gaze locked on the aquarium. At the doorway, she runs into Gregory.

GREGORY: What is it, love?
Nancy points silently at the aquarium.
GREGORY: (laughing) Oh, that is Shadow! Isnt she splendid?
Nancy stares at Gregory for a few minutes, then runs out of the room.

Act I.
Scene 2.
Bedroom.

Evening. Nancy, in her nightgown is laying on the bed, crying softly into her pillow. Gregory walks in.

GREGORY: Whats wrong?
NANCY: Why did you get that thing?
GREGORY: Nancy, its a pet. Her name is Shadow.
NANCY: (sits up) Hon, I am AFRAID of these things! (Looks around the room nervously)
GREGORY: (hugging Nancy tenderly and stroking her hair) There is nothing to be afraid of, love. You dont even need to look at her again. She is in a cage, in my study.
NANCY: What if it gets out?!
GREGORY: She is in a cage. She wont get out, hon.
NANCY: (uncertain) Well, if you are sure.
GREGORY: Of course Im sure! You have nothing to worry about. Lets get to bed, love.

Gregory gets under the covers and turns off the lights. A few minutes pass. Suddenly Nancy makes a gurgling sound and sits up. She puts her hand to her mouth and looks around wildly. Finally, she lies back down, breathing heavily.

Act I.
Scene 3.
Morning. Bedroom.

Nancy is asleep in the bed. Gregory’s side of the bed is empty. Shadow is slowly crawling along Gregory’s pillow. Nancy yawns, opens her eyes and sees Shadow. She flies out of bed and flattens herself against the opposite wall. Shadow falls off the bed onto the floor and proceeds towards Nancy.

NANCY: Greg! Greg! Gregory! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaa.!
Gregory runs into the room with the morning newspaper.
GREGORY: What?! (notices the spider and leans down to pick it up) Here, here little beauty.

Nancy watches him with horror.

GREGORY: See, its a harmless little thing.
NANCY: (hysterical) Get it out of here!
GREGORY: You dont need to scream at it! (walks out of the room, carrying the spider)

Act II
Scene 1
Afternoon. Living room.

NANCY: It attacked me!
GREGORY: Nonesense, you are much too big to be her prey.
NANCY: You shouldve seen how fast it was coming at me!
GREGORY: She wasnt coming at you per se. You scared her.
NANCY: I scared HER?! Do you have any idea what that thing DOES to me? I couldnt even eat breakfast, and my heart rate is through the roof. Feel!
GREGORY: Its ok hon, I believe you.
NANCY: (talking quickly) I had nightmares all night! All damn night all I could see were spiders!
GREGORY: Now you are being oversensitive. There is only one spider in the house – not millions! And not everywhere but in her cage.
NANCY: It WASNT this morning!
GREGORY: Well, she is now.
NANCY: Greg, do you have any idea how badly it scared me?
GREGORY: I know, love, I know. (gently) You just need to relax and think about this rationally
NANCY: (interrupts) Rationally? Relax? With that…that disgusting thing in my house?…
GREGORY: Well, that “disgusting thing” is MY pet, and I am very fond of her. And this is also MY house. Look, I got to go, I will be late for work.

Act II.
Scene 2.

A few days later. Late afternoon. Gregory’s study.

Nancy is dusting the furniture. Every once in a while she glances nervously over at the aquarium. Shadow is crawling up towards the lid. Nancy freezes over the coffee table, watching. Shadow makes it to the top of the cage. Two-three hairy legs extend into the space between the aquarium and the lid. Nancy screams, drops the duster, and runs out of the room.

Act II
Scene 3.
Same day, evening. Living room.

Nancy is crying.
NANCY: Greg, I can’t live in the same house with that thing, I just cant!
GREGORY: (looking lost) Love, I just dont know what I can do.
Nancy looks at him hopefully, then quickly looks away.
NANCY: You know it can get out of its cage!
GREGORY: Not now, with the rock on top of the lid.
NANCY: I saw it try today.
GREGORY: Well, she can try. But she wont succeed.
NANCY: Dammit, Gregory, am I stuck living with it?!
GREGORY: I like her! I am fond of her! She is my pet!
NANCY: Couldnt you get a different type of a pet? Like a dog, or a turtle or something?!
GREGORY: Yes, I could’ve. But I didnt! And besides, I like spiders!
NANCY: And you know Im afraid of them!
GREGORY: But you KNEW I liked spiders, I always wanted one for a pet. I even told you when we first started dating. (looks at her mockingly) Or do you not remember that far?
NANCY: (sounding lost) It was so long ago And besides that was before I got bitten by a brown recluse!
GREGORY: Shadow isnt poisonous. Shes safe.
NANCY: She is a spider! I am afraid of spiders! Dont you give a damn about my feelings?
GREGORY: And what about MY feelings? Or is everything always going to be only the way you like it?
NANCY: I am afraid of spiders, Greg, please! How am suppose to LIVE in the same house with a spider?
GREGORY: And I happen to like spiders! And Shadow is cool! I think she already recognizes me a little!
NANCY: Am I just supposed to put up with it?
GREGORY: Am I just supposed to get rid of her? Thats pretty fucking selfish of you!

Act III.
Scene 1.
Bedroom.

Nancy starts awake, breathing hard. She lays there for a few minutes, grabbing onto her pillow. Then Greg wakes up.

NANCY: (thoughtfully) Greg, cant you find it a new home?
GREGORY: Oh my god again about this? I just woke up. (sits up, begins getting dressed).
NANCY: Please? Please! Greg, its giving me nightmares. Panic attacks! Honey….
GREGORY: You LET it give you nightmares. You sit there and dwell on it, until it IS all you can dream about!
NANCY: (turns to him, outraged) I cant help it!
GREGORY: I know. (gently) I know you cant, love. Look, if this will make you happy *sighs* fine. I really like her, you know. And I think you just wont allow yourself to get used to her.
Gregory stands up and heads goes to leave the room.
NANCY: Jesus, hon, I dont want to MAKE you get rid of her. It you care about her that much (trails off).
GREGORY: (bitterly) Dont worry about it.. (walks out)

Nancy sits on the bed, rocking back and forth. In a few minutes Gregory returns. He is looking grim.

GREGORY: There. Now you have nothing to worry about, ok? You happy now?
NANCY: I am sorry…
GREGORY: (snaps) Dont be sorry. You couldnt stand her. *shrugs* I think you couldve given it a little more effort, but I want to make you happy, ok?
NANCY: I tried, hon, I really tried, but I just couldnt…
GREGORY: (interrupts) I just said you dont need to worry about it anymore!

Act III.
Scene 1.
Gregory’s study.

Nancy is dusting the furniture, humming to herself. The spot on the bookshelf where the aquarium had stood is empty. Nancy pauses her dusting and looks at it. Then she shakes her head sadly and continues to dust. She gathers the papers scattered about on the desk and goes to open a drawer to put them into. As the drawer slides open, the edge of the aquarium can be seem, and something black moving about in it.
Nancy screams.

(The End)

About Julie Deshtor

Julie Deshtor grew up in the Soviet Union during the turbulent 90's, and moved to the United States shortly after the Soviet Empire collapsed in 1991. A bilingual author, Julie writes both fiction and poetry, as well as translating poetry and lyrics. She brings her rich cultural and life experienced to her fiction, exploring the psychological struggles of her characters with compassion and insight, as they navigate the murky waters of the modern society. Julie currently resides in Utah, USA. Her interests include art, world literature, zoology, anthropology and urban subculture
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