I set the book I was reading aside and looked up at the spider crawling across the ceiling toward me. Was a time when such a maneuver on a spider's part would end in disaster -- for the spider. These days, I welcomed the little things.
“Annabelle, is that you?” I confess, while I work with a number of the wee beasts, I still can't tell them apart.
“Yes, my lady,” she said, tumbling down a web to dangle in front of me. Her happy voice reminded me of a Disney character, high pitched and cheerful.
Most would describe Annabelle as a household spider, with long black legs and bulbous body. I knew she had more talents than simply catching flies, however, like talking. And marital arts training.
I shook my book. “I have a question.”
She looked at the book title. I could see her fold her little arms. “I can't promise any answers.”
“I haven't read this story since I was a kid. Now, however, the premise of a talking spider means more to me since I came to the manor.”
I waited for her to respond. “And?” she finally asked.
“And, well, is it a true story?”
“Keep in mind it involves a talking pig, too.”
“So…” I pressed. “Pigs don't talk?”
“Well, they might. My point is that not all spiders talk, and not all pigs talk, and not all stories about talking spiders and pigs are true. Sometimes,” she giggled, “a cigar is just a cigar.”
“Then, this isn't a relation of yours.”
“I will neither confirm nor deny any knowledge or involvement with pigs, talking or otherwise.”
“Ah.” Arachnid double-talk.
We have many eight-legged creatures in my home, some of whom keep watchful perches in the corners of the rooms. I've been told that many more occupy the attic though I have never seen them myself, where they lie in wait, should my house be invaded or attacked. I have, however, seen them in action -- thousands of them appear from nowhere and swarm on unwelcomed visitors.
I shook the book again. “You might be right. This bug didn't seem to be a security spider. More like a publicist, or a good PR spider.”
“Really? She did save the pig, didn't she? How is that not security?”
I eyed the book again. “Fair point.”
Which begged the question. “How many homes have security spiders, anyway?” I shook the book again. It didn't seem to me that the farm in the story had any talent (or magic) to speak of. So why would the spider be there?
“I don't know exactly how many homes have watch spiders. But those that do are easily identified.”
I smirked. “Walk in and get attacked?”
“No.” She turned her little head. “You really don't know?”
“No. Know what?”
“You don't have to enter a home to know they have spider's watching. They are clearly marked from the outside.”
“Yes,” she said as she climbed her thread. “Follow me and I'll show you.”
Annabelle made her way along the ceiling and I followed, out of the library, through the sun room, then the game room, into the living room and to the entry way. She climbed down towards the front door, stopping on the transom that grandly arched above it.
“Don't you see it?” she asked.
I shook my head, stepping onto the porch. To be honest, I was looking for a literal sign. Something that read, “Danger! Attack Spiders! Proceed with caution.”
“The window, my lady. What does it look like to you?”
Then it dawned on me. The window itself looked like a giant spider web, with arced bits of wood all around the window. “Good gravy! I noticed it before, but I never knew it was a sign.”
“Any home that has such a window has a spider system.”
As I looked at the window I pondered what the bug was saying. In New Orleans, we have hundreds of older houses, shotguns homes, creole cottages, manors, and mansions, and many of them have similar transoms. And only a small few (and by that I mean three) were part of my… community.
“You're saying that any house with a spiderweb transom has spider security?”
“That's exactly what I'm saying.”
“Do they know?” I asked, a bit concerned.
She laughed. “Do they need to?”
Yes. I would have to say so.
Check the window above your front door. Perhaps you, too, have a battalion of security spiders living in your home. Aren't you the lucky one!