Oh, don’t look at me like that. Liam’s a housefly, and it was a mercy killing. While we’re at it, Liam’s not his real name. His real name is Musca Domestica, or Murf, for short. At least that’s what it sounded like as I smooshed him with the wooden blinds. “Murrrrf.” And don’t think I wanted to kill one of God’s creatures – I’d spent hours trying to swoosh Liam out the door before I had to smoosh him, but what does he do? He goes over to the door and calls to his friends, then goes swooshing back with a sashay and a slight buzz and they all start to party like it’s 1999. I must’ve left an undrained wine glass out.
Next thing you know, Liam and his buddies are flitting around my face while I try to ignore all the goings on behind the blinds.
Up till then, I’d just been relieved that Liam, or Murf, wasn’t a hornet. As his shadow wizzed by me, strafing my earlobe, Liam dove between the slats of the blinds and struck glass. “Be careful,” my husband said. “I think we have a wasp in the house. Or a mosquito.”
I am used to wasps – we get one or two in the living room, every year, and every year, I grab the useless can of Hot Shot Wasp & Hornet Spray and try to drown the poor sucker in what ought to be enough poison to fell a racehorse. My couch is now saturated with toxins and one window in my house is sparkling clean because we keep having to squeegee Hot Shot off of it. The can says “Guaranteed to kill on contact,” but what it actually does, over the next forty minutes to an hour of writhing, insectoid agony, is cause the poor creature to enact a death scene worthy of a Shakespearean actor:
The poor bugger generally scoots his way slowly across the window ledge, about ten feet off the ground – flipping from his front to his back and back to his front again – then drops, slowly spiraling with one tiny leg waving, acting as an air-rudder for maximum spin. Looks like a synchronized swimmer who’s taken a header from an airplane at 35,000 feet without a parachute. Then he’ll convulse at irregular intervals, ensuring that no corpse is touched or disposed of before its time, for another twenty minutes or so. You think I’m exaggerating? Here’s actual film footage, taken from about the forty minute mark, six weeks ago:
I listened carefully. I went up to the hall balcony, where I have a view of the window-ledge from which lone hornets like to gaze longingly out the window at a world they will never, again, be a part of. There was definitely something there. Something bigger than a hornet. My husband offered binoculars, but I decided I didn’t want to know, that badly, what the something was. The point is, Liam wasn’t there. The lump, which was definitely not a breadbox and probably not a mutant wasp, wasn’t moving. “Probably not a wasp,” I said, to my husband. “He’s not in the usual spot, plus I think I heard him go shooshing by, and he doesn’t sound big enough, or angry enough, and his little body isn’t quite hard and crunchy enough as it hits the glass. Definitely too big to be a mosquito, though.” At this point, I paused to wonder what sort of mosquito sounds big enough to be a wasp, or how my husband could have been confused on this point. Maybe I had exaggerated just a tad about how loud the previous night’s mosquito was, while it was trying to decide which of my ears to whine in. Maybe, I planted the idea in his head that we had mosquitoes that were bigger than a breadbox.
At this point, the flies start partying in earnest. I have realized that there are at least two of them, now, and their buzzing reaches an annoying crescendo. I find Liam trapped behind the wooden blinds, in the kitchen, whining piteously as he body-slams the windowpane. The other one is still flying like a drunken Kamikaze pilot around the living room, barely a shadow on my peripheral vision. I look at Liam. “Shut up, you,” I mutter. “Don’t make me squoosh you.” I make a pot of coffee and hope that a word to the flies will be sufficient. I have not noticed, yet, that there are three of them.
Eventually, the frenzied buzzing and beating of a rather large, striped fly body against my kitchen window really starts to get on my nerves, and I try to extract Liam for this trap of his own making. I rattle the blinds, hoping he’ll notice that they are open and he’s not really stuck back there unless he wants to be, which it seems he doesn’t. What do I know, right? Maybe he was just trying to taunt the robin, out in the yard, buzzing a high-pitched, “Nanny, nanny, boo-boo, no lunch for you-ooo!” But he seems lonely and in need of attention, and I think maybe if he has company, he’ll stop trying to get my attention like a temper tantrum throwing wild child. Unfortunately, I manage to hit him with one of the wooden slats. I’m pretty sure he’s injured, and we all know there’s no fly EMT circling overhead to take him to the insect hospital. I’m pretty sure the exotic animal vet would just tell me there’s nothing he could do to help Liam, so, with a twinge of guilt and torn between trying to jerry-rig a splint for his crushed leg and wing or just squooshing him and getting it over with, I reluctantly decide to put him out of his misery.
It wasn’t quick, I shudder to say. I might as well have drowned him in the Hot Shot.
The other two must’ve heard Liam’s piteous moans and they started whining and buzzing and eventually they came over to try to claim the body. “ENOUGH!” I cried, and hastened to put them all out of their misery. It’s lonely in fly quarantine, without Liam. Rest in peace, Musca Domestica.
Author’s Note: I no longer know or care what day it is, and that includes the Blogging A to Z Challenge. Rather than give up and eat bonbons, I’ll play the game my way – it’s not cheating if there are no rules, right?
H, I, J, K, L, and M – all in one post!