“Up until the Miss Muffet affair…” Ragno settled into the guest chair. “Well the spin on that affair is going to kill me. I really appreciate being on your show Muthra so I can get my story out there,” Ragno waved two of his eight appendages. His large black body glistened under the intense television lights.
“Heck everyone watches the Muthra Goosfrey show. I watch your show – every one – I’ve watched.” Ragno was right. The Muthra Goosfrey show reached most of the inhabitants of Rhymeland. Her interviews with Margery Daw and Little Jack Horner won the Gremmy awards.
“I appreciate that Ragno, and we do want to hear your side. You were part of the jet-setting crowd on the Italian Riviera for years with your one spider act,” Muthra said.
“Yea, well my mother was from Italy. She came over to America in a box of panettone. So naturally I grew up hearing about the old country. I have an advantage with eight sticks, that’s what I call them,” Ragno waved each appendage sequentially. “I play the drums with the third pair while balancing on my back pair of sticks. That allows me to use the second pair for a guitar and my front two for a horn, sax – whatever the piece calls for.”
“You were certainly on top for a while,” Muthra said. “Tell us what happened Ragno. What went wrong in the Sitting Pretty Tuffet Shop that day?” Muthra asked.
“Well Muthra I had been staying in the tuffet shop for about three months at the time of the incident. It was a nice place. They had floor to ceiling shelves so I was able to set myself up in two corners. I shared the space with a widow, but we kept out of each other’s way. The summer was great. All the time people were visiting the shop. You know summer is tourist season. So the door’s opening and closing all the time. Flies, mosquitoes, moths. You name it. I never had to wait long for a meal. I’d go out and play a gig – come back and dinner’s waitin’ for me. It was great. Good food and variety.” Ragno’s sticks stabbed the air.
“It sounds like an ideal arrangement,” Muthra said.
“It was. It was until the weather turned. It started getting cool. Fewer tourists. Less food flying in. The widow left for a corner in the basement. Some ants were setting up a colony, and she figured it could be her winter larder.” Ragno shifted forward resting on his front two sticks and elevating his back sticks.
“Excuse me Muthra. I can’t put weight on the back sticks like I used to. Right now my sticks are killing me,” Ragno said.
“Well, like I was saying the cupboard was bare, with all due apologies to Mom Hubbard. I was famished that day. Now the tuffet shop had these kids working in the summer, but when fall came they had to go back to school. So the manager hires this Muffet chick. Now I don’t think she had much under those long blonde curls,” Ragno pointed his bent second stick toward the front portion of his body.
“Now I don’t do blonde jokes, but this chick… Her name was Patience. Well talk about misnomer! This chick didn’t sit still for two minutes before she’d be jumping around rearranging one of the displays,” Ragno said.
“I have to ask. Did she know you were in the shop Ragno?” Muthra asked.
“Oh sure she knew. I heard her ask the manager for a broom or large stick so she could whack my web. It was one of my last good meals. A large brown-spotted moth was tangled in my web, and she saw it. She made some gagging noise and asked about the broom,” Ragno said.
“So there are those who might say your actions were intentional,” Muthra gently chided.
“Come on Muthra. You know I don’t get out alive if I get it on with a female. I stay away from all of them. That’s why I’m still moving,” Ragno replied.
“Okay then. What happened that day?” Muthra asked.
“Well the Muffet chick comes in with a bowl of curds and whey. She had set the bowl on a little table in one of the displays while she went off to fluff pillows. Now I don’t go for that health food stuff, but I thought I’d just drop down and check it out. Maybe I’d get lucky and the whey attracted a fly or two. I figured in a pinch I’d do a quick weave under the table. Muthra I was starved!” Ragno cried.
“I understand. I do Ragno,” Muthra touched her fingertips to two of Ragno’s sticks.
“So I started down and just as I get about a foot above the curds doesn’t Miss Muffet plop herself down on the tuffet next to the table. She turned to reach for the bowl and saw me. Well she let out a wail that probably scared the cock-horse over in Banbury Cross. She jumped up and swung her arms knockin’ me halfway across the shop. She’s screaming all the while she’s running from the shop. Of course everyone’s gathering on the street wanting to know what happened. Thankfully I landed on a black satin tuffet. My sticks were bent after that, but it could have been worse. The manager didn’t see me on the black satin, or he would have squashed me. I can just barely get around now.” Ragno started shaking.
“What really riles me,” Ragno cried. “I found this out from Three Blind Mice who were running through town at the time – Little Miss Muffet’s father is an entomologist. Now why did I upset her so much?” Ragno broke down.
“What are your plans now Ragno?” Muthra asked.
“I think I’ll find a nice female and pass on my genes,” Ragno said. “No reason to go on now.”
“I am sorry Ragno,” Muthra said. “You will be missed.”
Turning to the camera, Muthra announced, “Stay tuned folks. We will be back after this break. Our next guest, a little girl, will tell you how a bad perm job was responsible for her horrid disposition.”