I'd gotten a hot tip that the Tarantula Woman, the secret capo dei capi of the city's mob families was coming to St. Andrew's Homeless Shelter in person to make "a delivery". So I came in disguise with my hidden recorder and cameras, ready to catch her in the act. And catch her I did - dropping off a van full of hot food in steam trays.
"Vans come every day," Hank told me, in between shoveling food into his mouth. The man did not know how to chew with his mouth shut - or a good dentist. "See her sometimes. You gonna eat that?"
"Lost my appetite," I said sourly, shoving my tray over and getting up. And that's when she bumped into me.
"Oh! I'm sorry!" She smiled. "Mister...?"
"Smith, John Smith."
"Mr. Smith," she replied dryly, giving me a look before glancing down at the table. "Food not to your liking?"
"I'm not feeling too good, is all," I improvised, clutching my belly.
"Oh dear," she said, looking around, then pointed to the priest serving food. "You should go see Father Frank. I have to go now, I hope you feel better!"
"Thanks," I shrugged. This was the evilest woman in the city?
One of her goons shoved me when her back was turned and they headed out the door. I watched for a moment while Hank snorted, then headed towards the chow line, then the restrooms beyond and waited for a few minutes in there, washing my hands. Then it was out the door.
Only as I stepped outside, a heavy hand grabbed my shoulder.
"Mr. Smith? Da lady wants a word with ya," the goon said, nodding towards the waiting limo.
"Why, I didn't do anything!" I yelped as he marched me down to the passenger door and opened it.
"Just get in," he growled, shoving me inside.
And that's how I found myself in the back of a limo with the Tarantula Woman.
"Mr. Hess," she said, giving me a sharp, penetrating look as the limo pulled out into the street. "I thought the Globe paid its reporters better."
"What do you want?"
"I had a few questions I wanted to ask you, like why you're here of all places?"
"I've got a few questions myself," I said to my own surprise.
"An arrangement then?" she smiled coldly, then nodded. "You first."
"I got a tip you were going to be here."
"That must have been a surprise," she giggled. I gave her a sharp look but nodded.
"You help to feed the mission?"
"Not just the mission. I also feed the women's shelter and street kids. I give the city restaurants a discount on trash disposal if they volunteer the food."
"What do you get out of it?"
"Helping others isn't enough for you?" she asked, glancing at me. She shrugged. "Sometimes I get information. You'd be surprised just how much I can learn in an hour. I'm curious, where did you come up with 'Tarantula Woman'?"
"I uh, heard someone call you that."
"Oh really? One of the 'City Defenders'?" she smirked.
"Hey lady, they do more for this city...."
"Doing what? Preening at their press conferences? Catching some idiot who gets themselves a taste of superpowers so they go rob a bank?"
"The city would be better off if they locked up all your kind!"
"You actually believe that!" she laughed, staring at me in surprise.