Hey everyone, here’s my first issue of Spider-Man’s Tangled Web: The Trip. I hope you enjoy it, it’s a bit too TL;DR, and not really proofread or edited, so low expectations maybe? I appreciate your candid feedback and I hope you’ll join me every other Monday for some fun stories:
Gary Donahue stares at the chess board intently, deciding what his next move is going to be. He’s been coming to Central Park for the past 30 years to play against various opponents, usually losing, but almost always having a great time. Today’s match was really testing his mettle; he could see that his king was in trouble and if he didn’t pull something good out of his hat soon, he’d be toast. “Let’s see, if I move my bishop here…then they’ll move their queen there…hmmm, maybe I should move the knight here…” he thought, “Yeah baby!!! Head shot!” a voice screamed from the smart phone of Gary’s grandson Jason. Gary had brought the boy to the park the last three weeks and every time Jason sat there on his phone watching some fool play a video game where your goal was to kill every opponent on the battlefield and be the last man standing. Gary had tried to get Jason to play chess each time but the boy was having none of it. The 12 year old Jason was more interested in what Dr. O’Murder was doing on screen instead of what his grandpa and this group of senior citizens were doing. Gary gave an annoyed look to Jason and scolded him, “Do you have to listen to that so loudly? There are people here trying to concentrate here, why are you even watching that joker play that awful game? It’s just killing”. “Isn’t the point of chess to kill your opponent’s king?” Jason snapped back. “It’s an abstract killing” Gary said, looking even more annoyed. His opponent smiled slyly, a wicked glare in her eye, “What are you going to do Gary?” “I’m thinking Ashley, just give me a minute…now let’s see…” “DOUBLE KILL!!! You know what that means my ninjas, time for 2 minutes of vuvuzela! Turn those speakers up fam, and don’t forget to send those bits, every little amount helps get us closer to our goal of buying me a new condo, woop woop!” The sound of a vuvuzela began to blare from Jason’s phone and the boy was now laughing hysterically, “This is hilarious grandpa, I can’t believe you don’t like this guy”. Ashley looked at Gary again, “Come on Gary, just make your move so I can beat you again”. “Grandpa,” Jason started tapping his grandfather’s shoulder, “can you buy me a vuvuzela? Oh my god, that would be so sick, grandpa, grandpa!” “Gary, you going to make a move? Gary. Gary?” Ashley was looking in Gary’s eyes and could tell something was wrong. The left side of the old man’s face started to droop down and his left hand started to seize up. “One minute of vuvuzela left, let’s get some more bits in the tip jar, holla!” suddenly a loud BANG came from Dr. O’Murder’s stream. “What the heck was that? One second Followers of D.O.M., I think one of my windows just got broken.” At this point Gary started to slump over the chess table, causing Jason to drop his phone, “Grandpa, are you okay? Grandpa?” Ashley put her hands over her mouth, “Oh god, Gary.” She stood up and yelled “Someone call an ambulance!” On the phone a loud voice screamed out, “Police! Police! Get on the ground and don’t move!” Dr. O’Murder drops to the ground in fear, “Oh no, I’m being swatted. Oh no, no, no…” Gary had now fallen to the ground almost completely paralyzed on the left side of his body. With his right hand he reached out to Jason and tried to mumble out some words but nothing came. Jason grabbed his grandfather’s hand and looked him the eyes, “You’re going to be okay grandpa, the ambulance is on the way.” Gary could sense the boy was terrified, and with the last bit of strength he had he squeezed Jason’s hand with his and tried to smile as big as he could with the right side of his mouth…and then he was gone. Gary had passed on. The SWAT team that had barged into Dr. O’Murder’s home came charging into his room. The streamer had yet to get to the ground and was still holding onto his computer mouse. “Gun!” one of the SWAT team members cried and with that they opened fire. In the commotion Dr. O’Murder’s webcam fell over, putting his body out of view. Jason, still holding his grandfather’s hand was now crying. Ashley got up and put her arm around the young boy, “I’m sorry grandpa, I’m sorry”.
May Parker was sitting in the bleachers holding a racing form. It was a beautiful July day in Del Mar, California and she was about to watch the first horse race of opening day. May decided to wear a towering hat covered in red jewel encrusted spiders; she didn’t care that the other women gave her odd looks for her style of hat, she loved it, and something about it spoke to her. “Ladies and gentlemen the horses are lined up at the gate and we’re just about ready to start the race! In lane one we have Maxwell. Lane two is Quentin. Over in lane three is Adrian. Our lane four horse is Flint. In lane five we’ve got Sergei, and finally in lane six we’ve got Otto! I hope you have your betting form in hand folks because this show is going to get under way. Sound the horn!” The horn sounds, signaling that the race is ready to begin, then a bell rings and the gate opens. The horses take off and speed down the oval track, whipping the crowd into a frenzy. “Ah shoot, I missed the opening bell getting this margarita. Here you go dear”. “Oh thank you Ben, this looks delicious”, May says as she takes a sip of the drink, “It’s from Mexico?” May’s husband looks over at her from his seat and smiles, “This one is from the bar just inside the concourse. If you wanted one from Mexico it would have taken me a while”. May gave him a nudge with her elbow, “Don’t get smart with me pal, I’m liable to have you shot if you keep up with the jokes”. Ben laughed, blood pooling up on his shirt. Even though the race had already started, the bell continued to ring, May stood up from her table and walked to the railing of the balcony that looked over the square race track. “God, that bell, it just keeps ringing. Do you think it’s broken?” Ben stood up from his chair, blood now spilling out from under his shirt, “It could be, it’s really annoying, I wish it would stop. Maybe you should answer it?” “Answer it, from here? But we’re in the car, and by the way, you shouldn’t be drinking and driving Ben”, May said. “Don’t worry my love, we’ll just pull up next to the bell and you can shut it off, let me just step on the brake…” Ben tried to step on the brake but the blood that was flowing from the gaping wound in his chest had made its way all the way down to his foot and it kept slipping. “I can’t stop!” he yelled. May was holding her drink in one hand and was trying to keep the hat on her head with the other, “Ben, stop! Stop the car, we have to get that bell to stop ringing, I can’t stand it anymore. Ben? Ben!” May looked over at Ben but he was gone, all that was left was a pool of blood. May found herself paralyzed, unable to move. All she could do was watch in horror as the car sped towards the ever increasing volume of the ringing bell. In the background she could see that she was being chased by a bolt of lightning, a floating crystal ball, a vulture, a sand storm, a wild man, and an octopus. She braced herself for the impending doom, BAM! May woke up on her couch in Queens, still reeling from the dream, but she was still hearing that ringing bell. After shaking her head she realized it was the telephone, so she got up to answer it. “Hello?” she said. “What? This afternoon? Oh dear, that’s dreadful. No, you said grandson was there when it happened? Oh that poor boy! He must be taking this very hard. Yes, yes of course I’ll attend, let me know as soon as you find out. Alright then, bye-bye”. May hung up the phone and sat back down on her couch. She sat in silence for a few moments, collecting her thoughts and letting the news about her friend Gary sink in. A small frown began to form on her face and within moments she was sobbing with her face in her hands.
A few days later May was now sitting in a church just a few blocks from her home. The funeral service for Gary was well attended with many of the people that he had played chess with over the years. May was sitting alone near the back and spotted Jason sitting in a pew up front. The boy was pale and looked like he was holding back tears, she knew grief and did not wish that kind of pain on a child. May could feel the tears starting to roll out of her eyes so she pulled a tissue out of her purse and dabbed them away. A few moments later a short old man came up to her, “Hi, is this seat available?” he said. May smiled and motioned for him to come in, “Yes, it’s just me. You’re welcome to sit down”. May dabbed away another tear and put the tissue back into her bag. “You might need to send a couple of those my way in a few minutes” the man said. May let out a small laugh and then sighed. “I haven’t seen Gary in quite some time, not since my husband died. You’d think I wouldn’t already be crying, but I saw that poor boy and it hit me hard. He was there when Gary passed, he went right in front of his eyes. I hope he’s able to manage his grief”. The man lowered his head and closed his eyes. He mumbled a bit to himself and then looked up, “I said a prayer for the boy; we just have to hope that God is able to get him through this trying time. I’m sorry, I haven’t introduced myself yet, I’m Isaac.” May rolls her eyes a bit while Isaac isn’t looking, then holds out her hand, “May Parker, it’s nice to meet you”. Isaac shook her hand, “I’m sorry, you mentioned that your husband passed as well? Was this recently? I can’t imagine going to back to back funerals, but I guess that’s to be expected for people our age”. May shuffled a bit in her seat, “No, my husband died several years ago. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time and he was taken from us far sooner than he should have been.” Isaac was now shifting uncomfortably in his seat, “Oh gosh, I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to open up a wound that old. I apologize for prying”. “It’s okay”, May said, “you didn’t know. I was the one who brought up that my husband had passed, besides, it’s hard not to re-open old wounds when you’re at a funeral. Anyway, enough of that; how did you know Gary?” Isaac smiled, “Gary was the cousin of a woman I was in love with, Dolly. We used to get together on Friday nights to play card games and chess. Gary loved chess. I too haven’t seen him in a while, not since Dolly herself passed. Isn’t that funny, we were both hadn’t see Gary since our loved ones passed. I mean, it’s not funny, just kind of queer. What about you? How did you know Gary? You said it was through your husband?” “Yes, they were both in the same bowling league. Ben and I would have drinks with Gary and his wife after games; we even took a trip to San Diego one time, went to the zoo, headed down to Tijuana, and even attended a race in Del Mar…”, May lingered on that though for a moment and was reminded of the dream she had. “That sounds like a good time. The furthest west I’ve gone is New Mexico.” At this point the minister had walked to the pulpit and began the ceremony. May and Isaac sat in silence and listened.
“Speed up, he’s gonna catch us!” the burglar yelled to the driver. “No way, this is a Bugatti, Spider-Man ain’t catching up to no Bugatti” the driver replied. “Jesus, I’m never going to catch up to that Bugatti” Peter thought to himself as he chased after a couple of crooks who just robbed a jewelry store in uptown Manhattan. The thieves were driving like mad men, weaving in and out of traffic, narrowly missing pedestrians and hot dog carts. The driver then started pick up speed and headed straight for a glass building. “Hey man, what are you doing?” the passenger said. “Just shut up and hold on, I know what I’m doing”. “What the hell is this guy doing?” thought Peter. The driver put his foot on the gas and smashed through the giant glass window, “Ahhhhhhh!!!!” they both screamed in unison as the Bugatti went right into the lobby of a giant office building. The driver took the car up a huge circular ramp that went up the middle of the building, heading farther up and up, making the passenger kind of dizzy. Peter decided to watch from the outside and see how this was going to play out, climbing up the side of the building with relative finesse. The crooks continued to speed up this circular ramp and got close to the top of building, around the 30th floor and headed for the hallway, barreling for the window leading outside, “Okay man, you need to tell me what the heck is going on here. You can’t be seriously thinking about driving out the window”, the passenger said with more than a hint of fear in his voice. The driver smiled and continued to head for the giant window. The passenger starts to freak out, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!!” The driver grabs the bag of jewels from the passenger’s lap just as the Bugatti smashes through the 30th floor window, opens the door and jumps out of the car. The driver rips off his coat, exposing a jet pack which he activates and turns on, blasting away from the scene. Peter Parker sees this happen and shoots a web, catching the Bugatti before it has a chance to hit the ground, causing the passenger to fall out of his seat and land on the windshield. “You almost got squashed like a bug…atti, eh, needs work”, Peter immediately regretted the joke. Suddenly his phone rings, “Hang on a minute pal! Ha, hang on, let’s see, Aunt May? What does she want right now? Ugh, I’ll call her back”. He hangs up the phone and lowers the Bugatti to the ground, jumping down to greet the burglar. “Hey pal, friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, just saved your life after you stole a bunch of jewels. Say, why did your partner ditch you and take the loot?” The passenger, white faced, just looks at Spider-Man and holds his hands up, “Take me to jail, and please…just make sure we stay on the ground”. Peter’s phone rings again, he looks at it and sees ‘Aunt May’, “The cops got it from here, you stay put under these webs, later!” As he leaves Peter answers the phone and swings his way up onto a high water tower, “Hi Aunt May, what’s up?” “There you are Peter! What took you so long? Dr. Octopus got you tied up?” May asked. “Nah, just some crooks who drove a car out of a high rise. What’s up?” “Oh, well, I was wondering if you were busy tonight, can you come over there is something I want to ask you” May said. “You can’t ask me over the phone?” Peter replied. “Well, it’s something we should talk about in person, it’s important.” “Okay, sure see you later”, Peter hung up the phone and wondered what could be so important. Just then a news helicopter pulled up next to Peter, “Spider-Man, it’s the channel 5 news, can we talk? You just let $5 million dollars in jewels get stolen and the owner is planning on suing you. Do you have a comment?” Peter was a little taken back, how could anyone sue Spider-Man? No one knew his identity, “Um, no comment” “What?” the news helicopter replied back. Peter cupped his hands and yelled, “NO COMMENT!” He then gave the news people a peace sign and swung out of there.
May was in the kitchen cutting a piece of cake when she heard a knock at the door. She walked into the living room, setting the cake down on her coffee table, and answered it. “Peter, it’s good to see you, how long has it been?” Peter hugged his aunt, “Too long for as close as we live to one another. It’s good to see you too. Hey, is that cake?” May smiled, yes it is, would you like some?” she asked, Peter nodded, thank you. May walked to the kitchen and cut another piece before walking back into the living room. “Thank you for coming Peter, I have something to ask you and I hope you’ll say yes.” “Yes, Aunt May, I am Spider-Man”, Peter dead panned. He then heard a toilet flush in the background, “Uh, Aunt May, who’s here and do I need to have Dr. Strange erase their memory?” “That’s my friend Isaac, and I don’t think he heard you, I hope”. Isaac walked into the room, “Oh hi, are you Peter? Sorry, I had a bit of tummy trouble, I love cake but it doesn’t love me so much anymore, had the fan going full blast, probably too much information. Nice to meet you, I’m Isaac”, he put his hand out for a handshake and Peter looked at it kind warily, “Eh, maybe we don’t have to shake hands right away; so, did May tell you the plan?” Peter looked confused, “Uh, not yet, but I think she was just about to; wait, are you two, like, dating?” May laughed, “No, no, nothing like that. I met Isaac at a funeral and we had a wonderful idea. How would you like to drive us across the country to San Diego?” Now Peter was laughing, “What?! You’re kidding, right? You want me to drive you two across the country, like, literally the opposite side of the country? Not only that, but take a guy I’ve never met and you barely know?” May got a stern look on her face, “Now Peter I’m not some naïve little girl, I know a good person when I see them. If Isaac was a creep I wouldn’t invite him to my home, feed him cake and then invite him across the country on a road trip”. Peter couldn’t understand what was going on, “Okay, so walk me through this, you meet at a funeral, you come back here, eat cake, and then decide to go on a road trip?” Isaac answered, “Well we came up with the road trip over a cup of coffee a few days ago and have been planning the route since then. It should take us a couple weeks to do it all, come on Peter, we need someone your age to keep us company. I can drive a car, but these old bones can’t hold the gas pedal for that long”, Peter had been so preoccupied with the conversation he didn’t realize that the news was on May’s television set; it caught his ear when he heard a mention of Spider-Man. “Earlier today channel 5 caught up with Spider-Man to ask him about the pending lawsuit. ‘No comment!!’ He then flipped us off and swung away. Jewelry store owner Francesca DiStefano’s lawyer had this to say, ‘Spider-Man think’s he is above the law, well I can tell you, no one is above the law. When he engaged with the criminals who stole from my client he became a willing participant in the retrieval of those jewels. His failure to secure them puts him solely liable for their loss. We will stop at nothing to bring Spider-Man to court to answer for this and pay my client for the loss of product’. In other news, another swatting event…” Aunt May turned the TV off and looked at Peter, so, what do you say kid? You thinking about getting out of town for a little while?”
Peter swung through the air and pondered his situation. “Am I really going to do this? Take a two week road trip with Aunt May and some old guy? I guess it’s better than trying to avoid reporters and servants of the court.” Peter continued to swing and finally reached his destination, The Baxter Building. He landed on a balcony and knocked on the glass door leading to their living room, “Helloooo! Is anyone home? Johnny, Ben, Sue, Reed, I guess?” Peter made a sound of exasperation and then took out his phone to call Johnny. “Hey Johnny, its Pete! Oh man, too long for how close we live to one another, ha ha. Yeah, hey, so I have a question for you, are you at home right now? Okay, open the door to the balcony. What do you mean which one, you have another balcony? You have 17 balconies? Good god, okay, um, why don’t you just come out and flame on then I’ll see you. Yeah I’ll wait…okay, I don’t see you…no…no…oh, maybe, no, sorry…oh wait, there you are. I’m waving, so you see me? Sweet, come down here.” Johnny Storm, The Human Torch, drops down onto the balcony and de-flames. “Peter! What’s going on pal? Good to see you, what can I help you with? Wanna go grab a slice?” “Hey Johnny, good to see you. I actually have to take a rain check on the pizza, sorry. I have a question though, do you have an RV?”
May and Isaac sat in her living room watching Jeopardy! “Who is Vasco de Gama!” yelled Isaac. “Who is Dire Straits?” the contestant answered, “Correct” said Alex. “Vasco de Gama?” asked May. “I don’t know anything about rock & roll music” he replied. “Clearly, oh, what is that giant thing outside?” May stood up and went to the front door, opening it. Peter opened the door of the RV and waved. “You ready to hit the road in style?” May smiled, she was on her way to San Diego.