Author: Shannon O’Connor

The year I lived on Arachnida was the worst year of my life. It was a real dump back then. People say it’s changed, but I haven’t been back in a long time.

When I lived there, pawnshops selling all kinds of junk filled the town center. The spiders who populated the area where all a bunch of racist drunks. I didn’t feel safe walking around at night. I thought I would be attacked, being an Earthling, and a Black one at that. Alien spiders don’t understand beings who are different.

I had to walk a long way to go to the grocery store, and I had to walk across a highway to get there and back. My life was in a bad place back then. I was ending my career in academia, and I needed another job, but I didn’t know what I wanted. I had wanted to get married, but that didn’t happen, because my boyfriend was eaten by the spiders.

Those spiders are so inconsiderate! They only think of their needs. They don’t care who they swallow, or who it hurts when they do. I began to hate them intensely.

I moved away from Arachnida, and close to the city planet, Rutonia. I didn’t have to go grocery shopping because there were so many restaurants with Earth food close by. I liked the action of the city: the noise, the crowds, the anonymity.

I got a job at the planet clerk’s office, printing birth certificates, and talking money for parking tickets. It was much easier than my old jobs had been. I ate a lot of good food, and lived my life.

I talked to someone who had always lived in Arachnida, who said it had changed. She wasn’t one of the bad spiders, but she couldn’t afford to move, because everything was so expensive. She said a Starbucks was plopped down in the middle of the town center, and everything had become more upscale, with yoga studios, and wine shops and microbreweries. The old spiders were still there, but the surface looked cleaner, and they behaved themselves better.

I still think of Arachnida as a dangerous, depressing place. The worst year of my life was spent there, and it doesn’t matter if they put all the microbreweries or yoga studios there, you can’t put lipstick on a spider and call it pretty. Arachnida holds a dark place in my heart, and I hope I’ll never have to go back.