Insert, the machine said, so I put the card in, hoping to withdraw the million I had "found" earlier. But whatever I did, it only kept popping up the same message in my mind:
"Does whatever a spider does."
What, where had this message come from? All I knew was that I had seen it on a piece of paper in the guy's wallet. The guy I had taken the money from.
Alone, it made no sense, but I was sure it was part of a sentence, or saying. Does whatever a spider does? WHAT did whatever a spider did?
I hoisted my bag over my shoulder and felt in my jeans pocket for the handle of my pistol.
Setting off to the new store gave me a delinquent feeling - proud yet wrathful. I had been the jerk at primary, then the school bully at secondary, then finally this. Now, I was alone - yet with all the friends I could have. I guess the reason I chose crime was because I had always loathed those "goody" kids who would sneak on people and report things to staff.
This was the life, I told myself. I headed into the store. This was the best job. No sitting around like a loafer, no arrogance, no psychological harm done by sacking. Just a quick, clean standoff, and getaway. And then I'd be rich.
Quick as a tiger, I slunk into the store, pretended to shop, and then came up to the counter.
"Yes? Can we help you sir?" asked the bartender.
"Yeah, I would like -" I pretended to consider. Then whipped out the gun. "All your damn money."
"WHAT?" the barkeep yelled, but I cocked the trigger and pointed it at him. He frantically pressed a panic button, upended the drawer. I seized the cash and sneered at him, running out of the store, down the street, and into a taxi, the last place the police would think of.
"Where to?" asked the driver.
"Oh, just to central square," I said.
I eyed his money bag, wondering if I should snatch it too.
Just then there came another line in my head.
Catches thieves, just like flies.
I decided not to hold the driver at gunpoint and just get out of the damn taxi. In the next shop, the theft went just as well - even better, they barely hesitated before I stole the cash. The fools didn't even press the panic button.
And on the street, on the way out, there it was again. In my head.
"Spins a web, any size."
And what was this about?
I found a bank which was closing for the afternoon and had only two guards in there. Faced with both of my pistols they didn't hesitate to open the safes. My, this job was going easy! So, let's recap, I had not a hundred, but two hundred, plus five hundred, from the bank, all in one daring afternoon.
On the way out, it was like my brain was unlocking itself. A sort of ding happened and then, in my head:
Look out - here comes the Sp -
On the way down past the street's corner shop I saw a guitarist, long blond hair, singing a song about how he dressed like a spider, and how he deserved one big hug. I thought it weird but went on. I mean, who in their right mind dresses like a spider, to steal? Criminals wear normal, unremarkable clothes.
I chose my next attack at night, anticipating a rich older woman because she could have even more money. She was walking home on the dark alley. I waited until she went to the end, then leapt out of my hiding place.
"Come on you hag, give me the cash!" I said.
She looked at me like I was an imbecile. "Manners!" she said, "young men like you have forgotten their manners."
Not really. Just wanting to get rich. Suddenly a burning zealous rage gripped me.
"GIVE ME THE BAG YOU UGLY WITCH!" I shouted. No one was there to see, thanks to it being night.
To my surprise, she spat on the ground. I raised my arm and brandished the gun - only to have it yanked out of my hand.
I twisted round - what was happening? I couldn't see the gun anywhere. One moment it had been in my hand; the other it was gone, in thin air, like it had never existed. Seeing her chance, the woman clubbed me round the jaw with her umbrella, which ached a tonne.
She brandished the pointed end at me, I snarled and raised a fist to punch her, but then something horribly gooey, sticky and wet latched onto my fist, and another latched onto my shoulder and dragged me back to a dark, horrid alley.
There were rats in that alley.
The old woman was just a hunched figure in the distance, but she looked surprised. I was terrified, I blundered down the alley, trying to work out why my tough aggressive side full of confidence had gone, and why this was happening.
I hadn't gone far before I hit a gigantic - web.
It was a nasty thought but I was stuck there, like a fly. The web was gigantic, fifteen foot high, and sticky. Now I knew what had dragged me here.
I was penned into it, unable to move - a good target for the old woman if she ever came back.
I twisted my neck round and saw a horrible thing. As I looked, something like a man-sized spider was crawling down the webbing towards me. I opened my mouth to yell, but suddenly saw it had not eight legs but four, or rather, two arms and legs. It was a human, but what was he doing on a spider's web? Had he shot it or was there a spider swarm nearby? And also, what was he wearing? Why was he dressed in red and blue, and why have a spider on his clothes?
As he crept nearer and nearer, his horrible white eyes boring into mine, the full rhyme suddenly crept into my mind, as I stood there pinned to the web, and it all made sense:
Spider Man, Spider Man, Does whatever a spider can, Spins a web, whatever size, Captures thieves, just like flies. Oh look out - here comes the Spider Man.