• Paula Tiberius

Hurting A Fly

We’ve had an influx of house flies in our kitchen over the last few days. And by “influx” I mean that there are so many that it’s required to go on pesticidal massacres about every two to three hours. It’s disgusting. I haven’t killed this many living things in my entire life. Even as a kid I remember other kids squashing bugs like maniacs and not being interested in it myself. Maybe it was due to the endearing stories about my older sister having a pet pill bug.

Anyway, it isn’t pretty. They wiggle and flinch and struggle for their lives as we swat at them with our crappy orange fly swatter that doesn’t always kill in a clean fashion.  “That’s gotta hurt!” Richard cries out with relish as another one bites the dust. He taps the swatter with gusto against the sill, dropping a fresh specimen into the window groove. He’s a killing machine. I have a different method of squinting heavily with a tight-mouthed grimace and waving the swatter around hoping to hit something, not unlike Woody Allen killing the spider the size of a Buick in Annie Hall.

The swatter is crusted with blood now, its perplexingly unhelpful waffle pattern dotted with the severed heads of many flies. Those familiar multi-faceted eyes are so fascinating and miraculous – you can almost see why David Cronenberg wanted to make that movie. Yet it’s simply a battle that we must fight and win. We will not be overtaken by vermin!

I just can’t help feeling for the creatures themselves. It’s not that I want them anywhere near me. But I feel like they deserve to live happily ever after in some fly colony where they can thrive and take care of their little maggot offspring. They seem so tragic with their tiny legs twitching in the air as they meet their grisly demise. They instinctively try to survive when you attack. They want to get away. It’s heartbreaking.

Then again, I used to eat animals.

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