CH 36: Tama

Haley was really grasping at straws to find targets and in fact she kind of liked Tama. She was studious, didn’t party, didn’t date they had a lot in common. It never crossed Haley’s mind that the girls’ parents forbade her to have a pet even though she desperately wanted one her whole life. Tama was a quiet Asian girl who was the spearhead of their school’s Asian Club. She made those beautiful figures made of paper a craft well-known as Origami. And Tama didn’t have a pet so you’d think that Haley wouldn’t go after her but it was for exactly that reason that Haley did target the girl. She came in twice a week to play with the puppies, kittens, and bunnies. Tama whistled along with the birds, watched the fish dart around, asked if she could put a hamster in the hamster ball and followed the rodent around the store with a stupid grin on her face but not once did the girl buy a pet. One day Haley talked her into buying something and of all things the girl purchased a Tarantula. Haley knew the spider wasn’t poisonous their bite was described as being similar to a bee sting but the physical bite could easily get infected. And the spider’s hairs which are a variety of shapes are coated with irritating chemicals that cause itchy skin or irritated membranes that have also caused deadly reactions in a person. Haley knew the girl had terrible allergies and she casually asked the girl what she was allergic to which turned out to be mold, feathers, smoke, bee stings, perfumes, and environmental stuff. Well it was a long shot but Haley sold her the spider she named Wolf and instead of putting the pet care pamphlet in her bag as she was supposed to she put in a folded flyer. It was a critical omission especially when Haley encouraged the girl to pick up and handle the creature instead of using forceps as recommended. As gentle as Tama was the tarantula was jittery because of being in a box and moved around and the second she reached for the spider it bit her hard. The girl cursed and just dumped Wolf out of the small box into the aquarium she had set up and put a bandage on the bite.

Illustrated by: Jason Hendrickson


It was a Saturday morning so her parents let her sleep in but when it was noon they went upstairs to wake her up. Her mother told Tama she was being lazy it was time to start the day and when she bent over to shake her daughter she screamed jumping back as a tarantula crawled out of her hair.  Her mother called 911 while her father tried to corner the spider but it scurried around and hid. Officer Jay Jennings called animal control and when the two detectives arrived the animal services were still trying to find the spider and piece by piece the furniture was carefully inspected with a fine tooth comb and taken out into the hallway when cleared. They finally found the hairy spider in the bottom drawer of Tama’s dresser.  Detective Buck Dale and Jack Nickels had quickly questioned the parents who didn’t even know she got a pet because they forbade Tama to get one but they found the aquarium on the floor in her closet hidden under some clothes and they saw that the lid was askew.  Then the detectives went to the pet store to question Haley but as usual she answered their questions calmly and the fact that Haley sold the girl a tarantula wasn’t a crime and even if they proved she didn’t warn the girl or give her the pamphlet she could argue she did both or just forgot which would stand up in court. Yet again their prime suspect was getting away scot-free.

Tama’s parents owned and operated one of the neighborhood corner stores. It was a little dingy, the best before dates were passed on more items than they should have been, and the owners spoke broken English so Haley never went in there. The top five cities in Canada that had the largest Asian populations in order were the Toronto Area, Vancouver Area, Montreal Area, Calgary Area, and Edmonton Area and 87% of the Asian population said that they had conversational English or French. The younger generation of Asian stated that they were not religious but the older generation her parents believed in the Chinese Folk Religion which was that they did not follow official doctrine but they belonged to the neighborhood Alliance Church and belonged to the LIFE Group that held regular meetings at the church and in their homes. From Grades K – 9 Tama was forced to go to the Chinese Alliance School and learned Cantonese and Mandarin. Finally Tama revolted against her parents and was allowed to go to public high school she used the reasoning that she needed to improve her English language and relations with English people so she could function in Canada outside their Asian community. And it was Tama’s’ bad luck to run into Haley who would have really felt like shit if she had known the whole story.