Man on the Bus with a Spider on His Back

J. M. Tyree in Guernica:

There’s a man on the bus sitting directly in front of you. He has a small brown spider crawling across his red shirt, near his left shoulder blade.

You say nothing, but watch it with fascination until he rings the bell and exits at his stop.

After he leaves, the woman sitting next to you says, “Did you see that?”

“What?” you say.


The man with the spider on his back turns around because you’ve tapped him on the arm.

“There’s a spider on your back,” you say.

“Que?” he says, looking pissed off.

“A spider,” you say. “Como se dice ‘spider’…uh, mira, puedo que…que...could I just brush it off your shirt?”

He shakes his head disgustedly and turns away.


“There’s a spider on your shirt,” you say. “Could I brush it off?”

“Please don’t,” the man says. “My cousin’s soul has been trapped inside that spider for eleven years. One more year to go!”

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