“The Docktor Will See You Now”

dr will c u

Remembering the Life of

Dr T.J. Arachnid.

One of Maxim Gorki‘s stranger short stories

was a seemingly pointless tale of taking a trip

on a river steamer down the Don

where he meets an apparently unremarkable,

though somewhat agitated little man.


After some conversation, the stranger confides

to Gorki that he has been haunted for precisely 23 years

by the spectre of an enormous Spider

that had constantly been by his side,

both by day and by night.


The Spider was about four feet tall and though

no-one else could see it,

the strange little man didn’t doubt

for a second that it was real.

Why he could clearly see his many reflections

in the arachnid’s dark, multi-faceted eyes.

Yes, the Spider had been

with him every waking moment

of those 23 years, he insisted to Gorki,

that others could not see it

merely proved that its appearance was

of a supernatural origin..

Was It some sort of Guardian Angel

or worse some malevolent demon escaped from Hell?

The strange little man himself had been uncertain

as to the silent Spider’s true nature and purpose at first.

He became obsessed by the need to know

whether he was cursed by the Devil or blessed by God.

The silent Spider itself gave no clue.

It merely observed and accompanied him.


Finally, after puzzling over the question

for many years (and blithely telling the young

Gorki how he, “nearly went mad” in the process),

he at last decided it must be an Angel,

despite its appearance to the contrary.

After all, why would God allow a good,

humble man like himself

to be tormented by a demon for so long.


(Clearly he’d never read the book of Job)


No. It must be an Angel.

It was upon that Rock

that the little man’s Faith rested.

.spider friend

And it was not the Spider

causing the little stranger’s anxiety.

It was the Spider’s absence.

For on this night, after 23 years of silent companionship,

the Spider had suddenly disappeared.

Why, the little man worried, had the Spider left?

Had he done something wrong, some unknown sin?

Had God abandoned him?

Despite its grotesque appearance, he had grown accustomed to its presence

and felt lost without his companion by his side.


The story ends somewhat abruptly

with the stranger jumping over the side

of the river boat to drown,

unable to contemplate existence without his Spider.

Yes a strange little story, with no moral, explanation

or indeed, any apparent meaning.

It just is, an enigmatic piece of almost journalism.

Gorki himself relates the tale without making any conclusions,

beyond off-handedly remarking that you get a lot

of this sort of thing in the backwoods of Russia.


Possibly something was lost in translation.


Be that as it may, the only reason I mention that little story

is that, by an odd coincidence, Gorki sets the story’s location

as being near the small, otherwise obscure village

of Gŭlgrash-na-grad,

the birthplace of the subject of todays essay,

the esteemed Doctor Theophrastus Jamal Arachnid.

Indeed, this tribute to Dr Arachnid is itself the result

of yet another coincidence,

when revered local Poet, David (Ghostboy) Stavanger,

and myself discovered by chance that we were

both delivered into this world by the same Obstetrician,

yes, none other than the world renowned physician,

Docktor Theophrastus Jamal Arachnid.

Dr. T.J. Arachnid at work, conducting post-coital examination. The Dr had an 'Old School' approach and rarely used forceps.

Dr. T.J. Arachnid at work, conducting post-coital examination. The Dr had an ‘Old School’ approach and rarely used forceps.

David had recognised our old Medical Specialist

from a photo I had posted on Facebook,

and we whimsically wondered

if this was more than merely an amusing

co-incidence, and whether some unsuspected causal relationship

might exist between the circumstances of our Births

our subsequent development into Poets.

Could the formidable presence of Dr Arachnid

at such a crucial point in our lives

have had some unsuspected formative influence

on our Artistic Abilities?


But perhaps it was no more than a co-incidence.

After all, the good Doctor had worked in

the Maternity Wards of the Brisbane Mater Hospital

for decades, delivering thousands of babies

during that time, yet there was no indication

that as a result Brisbane had become afflicted

with Plagues of Poets in Biblical proportions.


The Good Docktor had fled his homeland, than part of the

USSR, as a political refugee at the end of World War 2 .

Back in his own country he was a highly respected

Professor and leading Medical Researcher.

But alas his qualifications in this country were not recognised

and the Authorities only allowed him to practise

as a lowly, poorly paid Obstetrician.


Nevertheless, he seemed happy in his work.

and to be allowed to live in peace in a country

where it was safe to raise a family.

All his children (nearly 800 at last count) went

to good private Catholic schools.

Even though the Dr himself was not a Catholic,

he approved of their Social Conservatism in general

and in particular their stand against contraception.

doc arachnids secretary hard to get past

It was often difficult to get past the Docktors fiercely loyal reception staff


Docktor Arachnid never married back in Russia.

When asked he would merely quip with a jovial chuckle,

“Married? Ho ho ho! No, I couldn’t afford to marry a local girl.

Why a Gŭlgrash-na-gradii wife would eat me

out of house and home!”


It was not till he came to Australia that Dr Arachnid

found true love and married local Tarragindi girl,

Emma Bloat. Together they overcame the many obstacles

that confront mixed marriages, to pursue their dream

to raise a family-in-the-suburbs.

The former Miss Emma Bloat of Tarragindi relaxes with some of the Arachnid brood.

The former Miss Emma Bloat of Tarragindi relaxes with some of the Arachnid brood.

But what should have been a heart-warming example

of the Australian Multi-Cultural Dream turned sour

in the new Century after the 9/11 bombing

of the Twin Towers.

Alas, all his years of service counted for nothing

when the Docktor became caught up

in the Great Terrorist Scares of the early 21st century.

Suspected of terrorist contacts on the flimsiest of evidence,

he was detained for months without legal advice

or outside communications while Authorities “investigated”

his alleged links. Rather than support a team member

who had laboured tirelessly for years in their service

the craven Hospital Administrators sacked him

without notice or explanation.


 The suburban spider dream; Dr A playing with family pet, Roger.

The suburban spider dream; Dr A playing with family pet, Roger.

Eventually Dr Arachnid was of course released without charge.

After a lengthy legal battle

the Hospital was made to apologise and offer

the Docktor his job back but it was too late.

The doctor’s heart was broken by what he saw

as a betrayal from his Employers and Community.


Taking an out-of-court cash settlement for an undisclosed sum,

he retired and moved to New Zealand, there to run

a small dairy farm.

Now he seems content to mainly lurk

in the rafters of the old milking sheds by day,

or doze in the hayloft, from whence

he can supervise the sheds milking activities below.


Despite being a gentleman farmer he doesn’t

keep country hours. He rises late, generally around sunset,

and when the moon is up, is often to be seen

walking the perimeter of his property checking the fencing.

His children made the move with him,

no longer comfortable in Australia,

the land they once thought of as their home.


His loyal wife Emma spoke for the family;

“These charges were a Great Injustice

They stem from prejudice, just because he’s a foreigner.

If he were a local Trapdoor or Wolf-Spider

no-one would even notice him,

but Nooo, because he came from Russia

and his ways are a little different,

he is automatically treated with suspicion”.

While some of his children followed him into a medical career, few had the Docktors bed-side manner.

While some of his children followed him into a medical career, few had the Docktors bed-side manner.

Dr Arachnid’s eldest son, Mustapha Mounbatten Arachnid,

a bachelor of engineering at Gatton, shared

with Sunday Sermons what it was like growing up

in a mixed Anglo/Spiderese household…

“There was much prejudice in the old neighbourhood

when Dad first moved to Australia and we were growing up”,

Mustapha recalled,

“Everytime a bloody child went missing in the area

the locals would start going on about how;”


“It must be the giant Spiders what done it”


“Yeah right! It’s always the Spiders isn’t it?

And if you’re a young Spider going out with a white girl!.

there’s always some dickhead wanting to pick a fight.

And let me tell you..just ripping their heads off

doesn’t win you any friends either!

Then its all,”See! See! He ripped his head off!

I told you they were dangerous!” and their

prejudices are confirmed once again.

We’re set up to fail.. for Australians of

Spiderese extraction its a no win situation.

Your damned if you eat them

and damned if you don’t!”


“And if its not the Yobs

wanting to pick a fight

then there’s always some old lady running

after you with a rolled-up newspaper.

I mean..we didn’t even have newspapers

back in rural Russia.

Mainly we just had to deal with old sandals.

As a result, like many other Migrant communities,

Spiders don’t have the life-skills

to be able to deal with the complexities

of the First World’s Modern Media Landscape.


I mean, Dad’s a genius dealing with

pregnant women and extracting babies and

all that stuff, but he’s still trying to decide whether

to get VHS or go with Beta!

What’s going to happen if some kid comes after him

with an Ipad ?

He’s better off here in New Zealand,

where the only technology permitted

is video-editing equipment and

Special Effects for the Film and Television Industry”.


Indeed, many of the Docktor’s brood have found a place in NZ film industry. Some do well as stage hands working the lights up in the rigging. Some have found acting-work in minor character roles or appearing as extras in the crowd scenes of movies such as, “The Hobbit“..

The younger ones just like hanging around the set.

Youngest Arachnid daughter Euryale married a local New Zealand lad.

Youngest Arachnid daughter Euryale married a local New Zealand lad.

Meanwhile Leggy Anastazia Arachnid has done well in her modeling career and today is engaged by a High End Fashion House to represent and model their name-brand collection of designer fishnet-stockings.

And so a richly deserved happy ending is at last attained

for one who has given so much to the world

and suffered so many trials.

In the evenings, with his family gathered around him,

the good Docktor likes to spin the old yarns once again.

Australia’s loss is New Zealand’s gain.

Perhaps our Authorities should stop and reflect

on the story of the esteemed Docktor T.J. Arachnid,

when next they seek to set loose

the Dogs of Hysteria and Prejudice

for some shoddy, short-term political gain.


search partyReduced



The Reverend Hellfire is a practising Performance Poet,

President of the Kurilpa Institute of Creativity,

and an ordained Minister of the Church of  Spiritual Humanism

AND the Church of the Universe.

The only Survivor/ of the National People’s Gang



~ by reverendhellfire on September 14, 2014.

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