It was that magical time of night, when each child gets to sit down with me in the quiet right before being tucked in for bed time. The peaceful time when I can ask each one about their day and have a completely unedited response about all their hopes, dreams fears, and childlike chaos.
First it was one large crash that interrupted a peaceful discussion about the troubles dollies face.
Second it was a decidedly different noise, the kind that might cause alarm.
"What's going on?!" I belowed in my gentle fatherlike way.
"Oh … nothing, there's just a spider."
Followed by a series of noises best described as
"Thwak!" "Crack!" and "Whack!"
This is the point where a child ran from the back room, clerthunked down the stairs, then fromped up the stairs towing a fly swat in his hand. "I'll be right back!" I heard voiced across the house. The silent atmosphere disolved into a suspension hush as we waited for the next sound.
"Whatever you do…" The sentence began from my oldest. Drown out by a sequel to the earlier series of "Thwaks, cracks, and whacks"
Then there was silence… quiet footsteps… and the 'whoosh' of the toilet flushing.
My son appeared shortly after with a report.
"I feel a little guilty." He paused. "Right before I killed him my Brother said I shouldn't think about how the spider has a wife and family that'll be waiting for him to come home from work."