Friday, December 14, 2018

The Fly


Does my house need an exterminator? A clearing? An exorcism? 

Frank pointed the flies out to me, not that he needed to. It was unseasonably warm when I came to look at the house I would end up buying. Frank showed me around and took me upstairs to the attic. There were a few flies lazily buzzing at the windows and a few dead ones stuck to the sloping ceilings. He said that the summer was a bad one for flies. The house was pretty darn clean otherwise, so I just nodded politely and tried to ignore them.

Many years ago, my partner Becky and I bought a house in the country and arrived with our moving truck on a beautiful fall morning that was also unseasonably warm. The previous owners had not moved out yet and had all the doors propped open which allowed hundreds, maybe thousands of flies to enter. We waited no-so-patiently for them to vacate and finally we got in and began to vacuum up fly after fly after fly. We were subjected to flies for months after that. No matter how many we squashed or sucked up, there were always more.

So this feels a little like déjà vu.

Was Frank just a little careless in his pest hygiene? Did he leave doors open? Now that I’ve been here a few weeks, I can see that virtually all of the screens need replacing. Yes, the windows themselves are fairly new, but the screens look like they’ve been through bad times. Very bad times. I guess I know where the flies came from.

So on a sunny or warm day, I expect to find a random fly here and there trying to find it’s way outside to the pseudo-summer. When I do, I quickly put it out of its misery (and mine).

What I DON’T expect is the stealthy torturer at night. That isolated, mysterious and often invisible fly that starts to buzz around just about the time I’m drifting off to sleep. I can’t decide whether to turn on the light and try to find it or just ignore it and hope it just dies quietly in a corner.

After lying there for what seems like an hour, I finally turn on the light and look for it. Silence. Nothing. Kinda reminds me of searching for ghosts. I go back to bed.

Just as I’m getting comfortable again, buzzzzzzzzzz! I groan and the cat nestled in the crook of my knees starts to get agitated and jumps off the bed. I get up. I turn on the light. I see it! It’s skittling around like a crazy chicken with its head cut off. This must mean it’s gasping its last. Besides I can’t remember where the fly swatter is, and it won’t even stop for a second. So I crawl back into the covers and wait.

Just when I’m almost convinced that I can sleep with this damned thing bouncing off the walls—it dive bombs me! Right down the little hole in the covers at the front of my neck and down my jammies! I LEAP out of bed shaking and jumping around like a jack-in-the-box trying to get it out from between my boobs.

I can’t find it. It’s not in the sheets. It’s not in my pajamas. It’s not on the floor. It has disappeared. Will it come back to haunt me? Thank God my mouth hadn't been open!

I begin to suspect that I’m sleeping and that this is all a Kafka-esque nightmare. I get my phone and text a friend who is working nights, and I start to feel better. I think. I finally go back to bed. The next day I verify with my friend that I truly did have this experience. I didn’t imagine it. I’m not crazy. I really do have flies. 

As I sit here right now, listening to the evasive yet persistent tell-tale buzz of some insolent little monster, I think to myself, I’ll get every single one of those little bastards—if it takes me all winter. 

I’m not afraid of no fly!