I continued to travel toward the East, confident I could make progress and eventually arrive.
I tried a number of paths off the main road, but they all led to dead ends or circled back toward the West.
The problem was that the main road I was on eventually narrowed to no more than a footpath, across which a spider had built an enormous web. I do not like spiders, and there was no way around, so I backtracked to find another path that led East.
There was none. Every path lead to a dead-end or circled back toward the West.
And so I came at last, all other routes exhausted, to stand before the spider web that crossed the path I needed to travel. A monkey sat nearby, to the left of the web.
I looked beside the path to see if I could edge around the web. The trees and underbrush were thick. “You can’t go that way,” a voice said.
I looked around. There was only me, the small spider on the web, and the monkey, who looked like she was asleep.
I looked at the spider. “She will kill you,” said the voice from the left.
I looked at the monkey. She still sat with her eyes closed.
“I need to get around this web,” I said to the monkey. She did not respond. “There has to be a way around it.”
The monkey opened her eyes and looked at me. “You can’t go around it,” said the monkey, “and if you get close to the spider, she will kill you.”
I was surprised the monkey was so insistent that the spider was deadly. The spider just looked like a common garden spider.
“I am going to get around this web,” I said to the monkey. “Will you help me?”
“The spider will kill you,” said the monkey.
“I’m beginning to think you aren’t very smart,” I replied.
I continued to try to find a way around the narrow spot in the road to circumvent the spider and its web. “You can’t go that way,” the monkey said periodically.
I tried to squeeze through some trees on the right. “You can’t go…”
“SHUT UP!” I screamed.
I glared at the monkey as I untangled myself from the trees.
I looked at the web and realized there was some clearance near the ground. I could shimmy under the web and hopefully not disturb the spider.
I approached the web and started to crawl. “The spider will kill you,” said the monkey.
I continued to crawl, my head going under the web.
“The spider will KILL you,” the monkey said again.
I continued to crawl, my shoulders clearing the web.
“The SPIDER will KILL YOU,” the monkey said.
I pulled my legs out from under the web, standing up on the other side.
“THE SPIDER WILL KI…”
“I’VE CLEARED THE WEB, YOU STUPID MONKEY!” I yelled back.
“The spider is on you,” the monkey almost whispered. “The spider will kill you.”
I looked at the web. The spider was not there.
I took my jacket off and shook it vigorously, hoping that if the spider was on it, she would fall off. I rubbed my hands through my hair, down my arms and chest and legs, and across my shoulders and lower back, hoping to dislodge the spider. Nothing fell off me. I started to think the monkey was trying to trick me.
“The spider is on you,” the monkey said with sadness in her voice.
“The spider is NOT on me,” I told the monkey, slapping my jacket across my back to make sure. “She probably just climbed up one of these trees because of all your screaming.”
“The spider will kill you,” the monkey lamented.
I shook my head and began to travel the road beyond the web. I had cleared one of the biggest obstacles on my travel to the East, and I wasn’t going to let the monkey discourage me.
What does a monkey know, anyway?