Last night my room was a battle zone. And I was the target of a kamikaze Musca domestica, commonly known as The House Fly.
I was just innocently lying on my bed, reading and relaxing, when the first surprise attack was launched on me. From there on it was war, but I was at a disadvantage from the start. This fly was beyond cunning and it seemed to have a humongous grudge against me.
Aptly named “fly,” it never settled on any surface, enabling me to deliver the death blow with my book. Uh-uh. It circled and dived, executing every manoeuvre in the Fly Fighter Pilot Handbook. I swiped in vain.
Nope, I lie. It did sit once, grooming its mandibles, watching me with its glittering compound eyes. Its wings flittered, warming up for the next onslaught. I briefly wondered what a mosaic me looks like, while slowly reaching for my weapon. By then it was airborne again.
I tried every defense operation I could think of. The book swiping was totally unsuccessful, the fly was a veteran at evasive jetting. I got up and fetched a large, thin paperback street maps to increase my swiping offence. Huh. It just throttled up the speed and perfected a few more barrel rolls, spirals and wing-overs. I could almost hear it cackle in glee at my futile counter-attack attempts.
Hmm. I remembered a scene from Mr Bean’s Picnic where he lured the fly with a crumb placed in his open book and then slammed the book shut, killing the fly. I fetched a chocolate bar from the kitchen and fortified myself against the stressful execution that was about to take place, before putting a sliver of chocolate in the book. Ha. Either the fly had seen that episode, or was on a diet, but succumb to the temptation of the sweetness, it did not. I gave up that plan, mourning the waste of a sliver of chocolate.
Next I fashioned a kind of funnel trap from the chocolate wrapper and placed it on my bedside table, out of reach. Maybe it will be fooled into exploring the exciting cavity inside the wrapper, I thought. Then I can just scrunch up the wrapper with my prey and say hello to a good night’s rest. More fool me. The air assault continued.
I fell asleep eventually. This morning the fly was nowhere to be seen – probably spying on me from its hiding place in the curtain folds or elsewhere, planning tonight’s air raid.
I had thoughts of revenge and could not help but think about the Irish folk song, The Fly, or the Shsh! Song, made popular by Foster and Allen.
“There was a little fly and it flew into a store
And it (shsh!) upon the ceiling and it (shsh!) upon the floor.
It (shsh!) upon the bacon and it (shsh!) upon the ham
And it (shsh!) upon the head of the little grocer man.
Now the little grocer man got a little spray gun
And he swore that he would kill the fly before the day was done,
But before he could count from one to ten,
The little fly went (Shsh!) on his baldy head again.
The little grocer man and his little grocer wife
Swore that they would kill the fly if it meant their life.
They got themselves a hand grenade and laid down on the floor,
Then they blew themselves to blazes while the fly flew out the door.
Saint Peter said, ‘Good people, you shall be repaid.’
The grocer got his angel wings and flew up to the sky
Then he dove down like a bomber
And he (shsh!) upon the fly.”
While writing, I looked for photos of fly eyes and learnt that a fly’s vision is so fast that it is capable of tracking movements up to five times faster than our own eyes. Seems like my revenge won’t be sweet after all.
If you can’t beat them, join them. Who remembers the horror movie, The Fly? Damn, that was scary. Except for Geena Davis in the 1986 version, of course.