Short but sweet.  Posted in a hurry by request of fan….my puter crashed (yes, again) and we had to re-install Microsoft word.  I'm trying, here!!! I really, truly am.  Enjoy!

*****Peter Parker/Spider-Man's POV*****

         "No…no, I really didn't…please!"  The man was clearly terrified.

         "Tell me what you know, or - " I struggled to come up with a terrifying-er threat…if that's possible.  I mean, he looked about ready to wet his pants, and all I had done was tie him up a bit, prod him a little, and play the big meanie that I am…not.

         He was no longer only terrified, however.

         No, now he was basically just non-functioning.

         "I swear…I don't know where he is!  I just…oh, please…don't hurt me, ok!?"

         "You know, at this point, I'm just trying to find a purpose for keeping you alive at all."  Contrary to popular belief, threatening people is great fun.  It's not nice, and it's certainly not orthodox of the Spider-Man "Be Nice to your Customers" policies, but…it is fun.  Insert smiley face here.  "So?  Where'd he go?"

         "I don't - " SMACK!  There was a sickening, crunching-slash-slurping sound as my fist connected with his lower jaw.  "OW! JEEZUS!"  His fear turned to anger.  "Why the hell did you do that!?  Then, he looked at me, and saw me take another punch-throwing stance.  "I mean, I'm sorry, I mean…I really do not know where he is…sir…just please!"

         "Do you know what life is?"

         "I…uh…yes?"  He searched his mind.  He found something… "…L-l-ife is b-b-ut a dream, a, uh… a grotesque and f-foolish dream."

         Wow.  "Hmm.  Mark Twain.  I would have never guessed that you were educated.  I, however, was thinking something more Shakespearean.  Life, my good friend, is a tale told by an idiot -- full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

         "Yeah…I guess that works too."

         "You're damn right it works. I can change that, though.  You listen to me, your life will continue to have meaning.  Assuming that it already does, at least… So, you gonna tell me where this guy went?  Or would you rather have me end your grotesque and foolish dream?  Sounds like, if anything, it would be a favor…" 

         "Look, I can try to find out…please don't hurt me (again)…just, let me down, and I'll try to find out…"

         "Yeah, ok.  Maybe you can, uh," I glanced at his freshly wetted pants, "clean yourself up a bit, too, huh?"

         His sweaty face burned a bright red, and I just laughed at him.  Ah, the simple joys of cruelty…

         "Why you always gotta be messing with me?  I never did anything to you.  At least, not until you attacked me the other day, I didn't."

         I was suddenly interested in what the man had to say.  "I attacked you, huh?"

         "Yeah, I was just following orders, and…oh…OH.  Haha…the serum.  It's working, I guess."

         I raised my arms to a web-spraying position.  We were now standing in a small, dirty room with a toilet and a utility sink.  A very, very dirty toilet.  But that's beside the point.  He obviously knew something I didn't.  And, he knew that I didn't know what I wanted to know.  Confusing, isn't it?  "Ok, buddy.  Talk.  Or you're going to be stuck in this bathroom for a while."

         "Whoa, whoa."  He held his hands up defensively, then lowered them to continue drying his pants with the old oil rag.  "I'm on your side now.  I'm sick of your crap.  I'm sick of being beat to shit by you.  Now, I'm just doing whatever I have to in order to keep all my teeth."

         Teeth.

         I felt the inside of my mouth with my tongue.  Earlier, I had noticed an absence of one of my beautiful pearly whites.  "So, tell me about this beating I gave you."

         He smiled, almost sarcastically.  "Which one would you like to be told about first?"

         I thought about it.  "Just give me a general overview."

         "Ok…you were stuck to the wall.  I let you out.  You crush me.  I crush you.  You stick ME to the desk."  He pointed to the large oak desk in the corner, which still had remnants of drying webs crusted on it.  "I pass out, you pass out, I wake up, you're awake, too, and start to talk to me.  I taunt you, act tough, but it bothered you so you wrapped me up like a Christmas present.  I finally get out, and you're gone.  I act like nothing happened incase he comes back."

         "He."

         "Yeah, he."

         "So, we've met before."      

         "Hell yeah.  And not in the best possible way."  He began to walk back out to the main room, nearer to the desk.  I followed, less uneasy now but ready to trap him if I had to. 

Suddenly, I had a vision of myself being thrown against the floor by this man.  Hitting my head on a big, silver table… "I remember you now.  You're Strand.  Now, you're going to tell me what you put in me, and how long it lasts."

         Strand looked surprised.  Or shocked.  Or both.  "Well, it's obviously not lasting as long as it's supposed to."

         "Why's that?"

         "Because you remember me."

         "So, the point of the drug was to knock out my memory.  To make me forget who I am, maybe?"

         "Yeah, something like that.  I don't know.  They just told me to do it."

         He sat on the edge of the desk, then leaned over into the drawers, as if searching for something.  A gun?  Another drugged needle?  He was instantly disturbed from his work by a shot of white goo.  A surprised yelp echoed in the room and Strand turned to me with an angry look on his face.   "Don't look at me like that," I said. "Keep your hands where I can see them.  I don't wanna be stabbed again, is that clear?"

         "Jeez.  Yeah, it's clear.  I'm looking for food, that's all.  Let's get out of here.  Go out to eat.  Get some food or something.  You know, put some regular clothes on, kid.  We'll go talk and stuff."

         "Why do you think I should trust you?"

         "Because I know that you can beat the living shit out of me, one-handed, in less than two seconds."

         It was a good point.  A very good point.  "I'll take that as a compliment, but next time just buy me flowers.  Let's go."

         And we went.

         **********************

         I'd told him to meet me at a diner near my apartment.  Then, I headed back to my apartment – yeah, I remembered where it was – and changed clothes.  My favorite red shirt.  Jeans.  Matching boxers.  Nike shoes.  I combed my hair, washed my face, checked my scrapes, bruises and other various injuries.  As I stood up to leave, I felt dizzy, lightheaded.  I sat on the edge of my bed for a moment, trying to collect my bearings.  So many people knew who I was.  It was dangerous.  For me, and for M.J.  Too dangerous, too much secrecy revealed…I collapsed on my bed, staring at the ceiling, and drifted off into a light sleep.

**********************

         "Damnit!  Jeez!  How many freaking times --" I was plastered to the wall again.  As Peter Parker.  Wearing street clothes.  I sighed and looked around.  It was strangely quiet, and I didn't know where I was again.  And, I was strangely calm.  Cool.  Collected.  Weird, I thought.  Too weird.  How'd I get here again?

         Again, again, again, again… Too many agains.        

         That's when the dinosaur came in.  Yeah.  Dinosaur.  Did you ever see the movie Jurassic Park?  It's a good movie.  Well, the book is better.  I mean, Crichton just knows how to keep the suspense going and – sorry.  Anyway, the dinosaur.  It was like, just walking around. 

         "What the hell?"  The dino glanced over at me, then sort of…hopped it's way to me, sniffing my face.  "Jeez, you reek.  Go away!"  I looked down at my orange hoodie, which was now covered in dino slime-drool stuff.  Yuck.  It was worse than webbing. 

         "Peter, be nice."  I looked up to see my fourth grade teacher standing at the right.  This was all so weird. 

         "Miss Rowan?  What the hell are you doing here?"

         She made an upset face and shook her finger at me.  "Petie!  You know better than to use that kind of language!  You're going to be in time out for recess!"

         "I…I'm sor – WHERE AM I!?  Why are you here!?"

         She looked saddened at my obvious unwillingness to be where I was.  "Why, Peter… I only came to see how my favorite little student was doing!  I heard about how you were Spider-Man and all, and, well, my class has been studying arachnids.  They made you this little book, see?  Each page has a different spider, and the opposite page has interesting facts about it.  If you just turn the page here, you'll see…" She droned on and on and on…

         Then, she disappeared.  The dino disappeared.  I was staring at my ceiling again.  

         "Whoa.  Dream."  Well, duh, Peter.  Of course it was a dream.  There was a dinosaur.  And everyone knew you were – I  stopped that thought before I could finish it.  "Yeah, and besides…you don't own an orange hoodie."  I got up, popped a few aspirins, and made my way to the diner. 

*****M.J.'s POV********

         "Uh-huh.  Uh-huh.  Yeah…no, c'mon, just let me…sigh…ok.  Fine.  Go."

         Silence.

         "I said, go.  So, go."

         …

         I smiled.  "I love you, too.  Bye."

         Peter had called.  Just like he said he would.  Now that I knew he wasn't really doing anything yet, besides going to the diner, I felt more secure.  I relaxed a little, and sat down to watch TV.  Get caught up on what was happening in the world. 

         Bbbbrrrinnnng!  Bring! 

         Stupid phone, I thought.  God, I hate the noise that stupid thing makes.  I had just gotten comfy, too.  I got up and walked across the apartment, towards the noise. 

         Bring!  Bring!  Bring!

         "I'm coming!  Jeez!…"  I picked up the receiver, thinking it would be Peter calling back.  "Yeah?"

         "M.J.?  Is that you, dear?"  An older woman's voice was on the other end.

         "I…oh, Aunt May, hi…you surprised me."

         "Oh, I'm sorry.  I was just wondering if you knew where Peter is?  He hasn't called in a few days, and something has happened…I would very much like to talk to him…"

         "…uh…"

         "I was downtown, volunteering at the offices, and then, there was this….explosion.  And then these nice, young men took me and watched me until I got better…then I woke up at home… I'm quite confused.  I'm alright, though."

         "Oh, Aunt May, I heard about that on the news, you were there?!…I'm glad you're alright.  Peter's here, he's, uh, napping though…I'll tell him to call you as soon as he wakes up, ok?"  

         "Ok, dear.  Thanks so much."

         "No problem.  Bye, Aunt May."    

         "Good-bye."

         Click.

         I held the phone in my hands, unsure of what to do next.  

        

And on the EIGHTH day, God created chapter 13. Wait, no, I did that…but the 8th day isn't quite here yet… Day 8 will come.  Be prepared, and rejoice its deliverance…