Bored of the Flies

by Ken Carpenter

The wheezing gasps of summer’s demise have been providing the background music for us lately. As usual they are accompanied by the intermittent buzzing of a multitude of overly melodious flies, eager to make their irritating presence known one last time, and known, and known again.
They are hateful creatures at best, delighting in doing the two-step on a pile of dung just before searching out your dinner plate so they can grab a quick bite of dessert. Filth is the nectar of the gods to them, and spreading it is their primary occupation. Followed closely by their favorite hobby, driving people crazy.
There are those among us who can be driven to distraction by a single housefly. As a child I remember watching my Dad stalk flies with a crazed glint in his eye, hurling curses after those with the audacity to escape his deadly swatter. He took it personal when they trespassed on his domain, and few things in life seemed to please him as much as squashing them like a, well, like a bug.
I have noticed that same deranged gleam in my boss’ eye when he is battling a particularly pesky fly, but I suppose it could have been the light. Yes, I’m sure it must have been the light, for my boss couldn’t possibly become unhinged from the simple act of being outmaneuvered by a brainless fly.
One infamous fly story from the past still makes me feel like I just swallowed a hairball every time I think about it. It was the mid-sixties, and Stinky (name changed to protect the far from innocent) was the bane of every grade school teacher’s existence.
His lack of interest in classroom activities was matched only by his enthusiasm for obnoxious behavior. That being said, he wasn’t a bad guy, he just enjoyed disrupting the best-laid plans of those around him, especially teachers.
On occasion Stinky liked to catch forty winks in class, and he was probably the only student who was encouraged to do so. If he was asleep he couldn’t talk, and when awake he didn’t listen anyway.
He had the disgusting habit of napping with his mouth open and his tongue hanging out, and those around him pretty much avoided looking at him when it was naptime. One time they didn’t, to their great dismay, and what they witnessed haunts me to this day.
One huge fly was sitting on Stinky’s tongue and two others were circling in the near vicinity, as if jockeying for position or waiting for landing directions from the flight deck. Maybe I forgot to mention that halitosis was another of Stinky’s claims to fame, and his sudden ability to draw flies did nothing to diminish this reputation.
This sorry spectacle was unfortunately not the last time flies were witnessed taking advantage of his inviting launch pad, and I am eternally grateful that I was in an older grade so I did not have to see it. Flies have no sense of decency, that is all there is to it. Only humans can rival them.
A while back I popped a cup of water in the microwave for two minutes and when it was done I opened the door and a fly flew right out into my face. Alarmed, I backed away and took a defensive position. Who knows what strange powers a microwaved insect might have?
Apparently one power a cooked brain does not give you is common sense. Superfly circled me twice, flying in a drunken manner, and then he suddenly charged in and attempted to give me a judo roll. Howling fiercely I gave him a mighty karate chop and thought for a second I had him. Instead, dazed, he flew off to the back room and disappeared.
Now it seems that I can feel his beady eyes peering at my back all over the house, and it is giving me the serious willies. I have killed a dozen flies, but none of them looked like they had been lifting weights so I don’t think he was one of them.
I even tried Stinky’s method of lying back with my tongue hanging out, as a last ditch effort to lure him into the open, but it failed miserably. I thank God it did too, for I don’t think I could live with myself if it had worked. In fact, I’m almost sure I’d rather die than draw flies.