The campus is dead quiet right now. The parking lot is empty. Offices are all closed. When you walk in, if you’re attentive, you might hear the constant faint hum of the air conditioning system in the science building, but your brain will tune that out after a short while.
The noisiest part of the feeding are the flies. You dump them from their bottle into a plastic cup; it sounds like rain as they tumble in. Then they scurry about frantically with a chitinous rustle, a distant shshshshsh from the cup. You turn to the vials of spiders and uncap them all. There is no sound, no movement. The dead stillness makes you look in and wonder, “are you still alive in there?” You see the motionless plump bodies. They’re in no hurry. Spiders possess infinite patience. It’s in their nature. Rather than wondering if they’re OK, maybe you should be questioning your own lack.
You tap the cup of flies to knock them all down, and open the lid. You flick a few flies into each vial, 1, 2, 3, move to the next. The loudest noise in the process is when a fly drops to the bottom of the vial, tik, tik. Except that when they fall directly into a web, they’re silent…tik, , tik. For a while, you swish flies into all the spider vials, tik, ,tik, tik, , , tik, ,tik, tik, tik.
The sound of spiders feeding is silence. They raise their forelimbs like a pair of daggers, they slip quietly on silk threads to their prey, turn, and knit a prison with their hindlimbs. No noise at all. Flies trying to escape the trap are louder than the spider assassins, and they’re barely a whisper as they scrabble at plastic walls.
I had a pleasant morning in the lab today, if you couldn’t tell.