Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Lord of the Flies

Bed bugs may be the pest du jour, but the common fly can hold its own on the disgusting scale.

We’ve had a half dozen of the insects infest the condo over the past couple of days. Or it’s possible that there have only been two, and we keep killing the same ones over and over again only to have them make like Lazarus to disrupt our sleep and the watching of “Oprah.”

I spotted the first one yesterday morning. It was potbellied and fearsome. Among its powers: a surprising nimbleness despite its girth, and a cloak of invisibility that enabled it to escape death-by-magazine at every turn.

I ceded Buzz the kitchen and dining and living rooms and spent the rest of the day on terror alert lest he infiltrate my work space. Occasional reconnaissance forays proved futile. Whenever Buzz deigned to show his face, I attempted to shoo him out the door, but flies are not exactly herdable.

When Dave came home from work, I skipped the usual kiss-and-how-was-your-day routine.

“There’s a fly in the house.”

“Did you spray it?”

Damn. I had forgotten about the can of poison sitting on a shelf in the pantry. They may be outlawed by the Geneva Conventions, but as far as I can tell, chemical weapons are perfectly acceptable according to our condo association bylaws.

Dave gassed Buzz and assured me that my nemesis was off in a corner somewhere slowly asphyxiating to death. We cooked a lovely dinner, I settled in for a very special “Everwood” and then we went to bed.

I decided to read for a bit, and that’s when Fly #2 began circling the nightstand lamp. Or he could have been Fly #1, somehow immune to Hot Shot Flying Insect Killer.

“Goddammit. I thought you said you killed it.”

I sprang out of bed, barricaded myself in the spare room—shoving a pair of Dave’s jeans into the gap between the door and the floorboards—and waited for my man to do his job. I reflected on the absurdity of the situation. I had been held hostage all day—and now, perhaps, all night—by a fly. On a scale of 1 to 10, I was an off-the-chart weenie. I’ve seen PBS specials—half the planet is overrun by the insect. Do Africans cower in their homes? No, they ignore the pest. Why, I’m practically a poster child for a bin Laden rant against the infidel Americans who expect to live in a world without flies.

Dave reported back: “I can’t see it. I’m going to sleep.”

I pictured Buzz crawling on my skin or nesting in my hair overnight and conveyed my dissatisfaction with that particular course of action. He returned shortly with a carcass. After flushing #1 or #2 down the toilet, we called it a night.

Morning brought #3 and #4. Dave Hot-Shotted #3 (which could have been #1) and listened for his death rails. Number 4 was trapped in a window pane. I secured the latch, just in case he had any ideas, with the intent of suffocating him. The only flaw in my plan being that he’s trapped between glass and a screen, with plenty of not-so-fresh Chicago air to sustain his hopefully short life. If anything, I imagine #4 will die of sheer boredom. I’m prepared to wait him out.

I had just come back from a morning run when I heard #5. Or was it the last gasps of #3/#1, whose body was never found? He was hiding behind a living room blind. Thinking Dave was perhaps a bit stingy with the Hot Shot, I blitzed #5/#3/#1 with several sprays, checked in on #4 and went about my day.

Number six really pissed me off, or was it #6/#5/#3/#1. (Really, we have been appallingly lax on follow through. Where are all the corpses? That’s what I like about #4. I know where he stands.) This guy entered the No Fly Zone—the spare room/office. Here was where I would make my last stand. I grabbed all the weaponry in my arsenal: Hot Shot and a complimentary copy of Cuisine on loan from my mother. I swatted and sprayed, swatted and sprayed, swatted and sprayed. I turned on the ceiling fan, aiming to bash him with the paddles. Eventually he fell to the floor. I watched him in his death throes, convulsing on the hardwood. Sometimes, diplomacy is not an option. Sometimes, you’ve got to go nuclear.

I laid down the Cuisine (sorry Mom, not getting this one back) and stomped my foot. He was definitively, categorically, unequivocally, positively dead. Number 4—I’m coming for you next.


Post a Comment

<< Home