"My dad can beat you up," the little girl sniffles, rubbing her eyes with tiny hands balled into fists. Her hair is all tangled and ratty and there's something stuck in it. "I'll get him to beat you up."
"Like hell you will," the other little girl says. She picks up a handful of sand and throws it for good measure. "I'll put spiders in your bed. Eight hundred million spiders!"
"Leave me alone."
Vriska grins ear-to-ear and her front teeth are missing. "Make me. Bet ya can't!"
A man walks up to the communal rumpus yard fence and leans on it. He's wearing a suit and tie. He's wearing a hat too. It is quite distinctive.
He watches the little girl with snarly hair. He watches but doesn't say anything.
The snarly-haired girl sobs. Her shoulders shake and she stamps her foot and screams, "Go away!" Vriska looks taken aback, as if she doesn't believe a shout so forceful could come from such a small creature. "Go away, you insect!"
A giggle. Vriska tosses her hair. It's not tangled or messy in the slightest: it's cut in a neat bob. "Aradia, you are pathetic. Pathetic. Alright? Are you hearing me? Because I think you and your dad are nothing but a pair of stupid redbloods!"
Aradia's eyes go wide. "You take that back."
The man at the fence shifts his weight from one foot to the other. He lights a cigarette with a match.
Aradia's eyes go narrow. She raises up her hands and they begin to glow. Vriska puts her fingers to her temples, shuts her eyes, and grins. Aradia drops her hands, but not of her own choice. Her knees buckle; she hits the ground hard.
"Enough," says the man at the fence.
Vriska gives him a contemptuous look and scoffs and walks away.
"You okay?" Aradia looks up. Her expression is "no" enough. "Let's get you home." He scoops her up and carries her on his hip back to the car. He lets her ride up front. She falls asleep anyway.
They arrive. He wakes her. "We're home, kid." He carries her inside and sets her on the kitchen counter and digs a hairbrush out of a drawer.
"She said bad things about you," Aradia says. "And me."
He slowly brushes out the knots in her hair. "I know."
"Aren't you going to do anything about her, Daddy?"
He pulls the sticky thing out of her hair. It's a clutch of spider eggs. "It won't happen again," he says, grimacing, dropping the egg sac in the rubbish bin.
"Are you certain?"
Diamonds Droog considers his words and hairbrush very carefully before he answers his little girl.