Creative Writing

Published on April 15th, 2020 | by TLV News


Oxford Comma’s COVID-19 Writing Challenge Week 3: Submission by Nicole Murchison

Week 3: The feeling of being trapped

Short story submission by Nicole Murchison

How Rock Stars Handle Spiders
for Amanda Shires

Amanda screamed when she saw the spider high upon the wall. Amanda, averse to killing anything, demanded we trap it. Frozen in fright, Amanda delegated tasks: me to fetch a bowl, and Chad to use it. To trap the spider. (Her aversion to killing did not supersede her fear). It was a quick affair that required little effort, as 6’5” Chad had to reach but little to trap Amanda’s spider. 

Chad slid the see-through container down the Sewanee porch wall to the cool, Sewanee ground. The three of us gathered around to stare at the one trapped under the clear Tupperware dome. To observe the one that was previously free but currently trapped. It continued to be a spider, and Amanda, on the verge of tears, continued to hate death, and I continued to be indifferent, nonetheless amused, and Chad continued to be tall. 

Me: Kill it. 
Amanda: No!
Me: Let it go. 
Amanda: No!

Chad with hand on bowl patiently waiting for explicit instruction: 

That was eight years ago, and I wish I could tell you how we decided the fate of Amanda’s spider. But memory is neither a steel trap nor spill-proof food storage. Amanda is on a different porch than Chad and I now. I don’t know how she is handling spiders, but we are fine. We use spray. 

And I don’t know how she is handling being trapped by a virus, having to give up the road, the crowd. Previously free but currently trapped. Though our respective porches now are five-hundred miles apart, we are under the same dome, the same bowl, all of us are, and some of us are crying, and some of us are laughing, and some of us are here to help, and surely, (surely!) there is the hand of a giant holding it down or hovering above it, waiting to make a final and fateful decision. 

About The Oxford Comma
The Oxford Comma is a creative writing group for the Oxford, Lafayette, and University communities that meets bi-weekly to workshop creative writing and offer critique. The Oxford Comma also joins forces with other entities to bring quality programming and community opportunities, such as with Mississippi Writer’s Guild, Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, Quasar, Glitterary Festival, Art-er Limits Fringe Festival, A Literary Bit of Faulkner, Ole Miss Housing and Residence Life Department, Ole Miss English Department, Sarah Isom Center, and The Local Voice.
Visit The Oxford Comma online at their website and Facebook or through email at

About The COVID-19 Writing Challenge
During the COVID-19 crisis, The Oxford Comma has partnered with Yoknapatawpha Arts Council to offer a four-week writing contest with changing weekly prompts. “Favorite selections” will be featured in The Local Voice and possible future anthology of COVID-19 era writings.

Submit to the Week 3 writing prompt challenge here:

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About the Author

The Local Voice is a bimonthly entertainment guide and newspaper based in Oxford, Mississippi, covering and distributed in North Central Mississippi, including Oxford, Ole Miss, Taylor, Abbeville, Water Valley, Lafayette County, Yalobusha County, and parts of Panola County, Marshall County, and Tupelo . The Local Voice is distributed free to over 255 locations in North Mississippi and also available as a full color PDF download worldwide on the internet.

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