I’d been hunting this one fly for at least the last day or more.
I thought I had a foolproof way to kill it — clapping my hands over its head while it was landed, because I’d heard they move backward and up when sensing wind, and this way, as soon as its dainty God-given wings felt the wind and it alighted with superfly speed, I’d be applauding it to death — yet apparently “foolproof” is not proof for some of us.
Today it landed on my water cup as I ate my lunch at my desk. I tried clapping it to death. No go.
It landed on my guacamole. Clapped my hands. No go.
Baked beans. Clapped. No go.
I paused. I considered.
“What if…” I started to ask myself. “…what if I need to treat this creature as one of God’s little animals…what if I need to practice a little compassion and empathy and understanding? What if it needed to eat for some greater purpose of which I was unaware?”
I caught myself. It’s not like it had a little Fly Family to feed back home. It’s not like this was a deer nibbling at some flowers I’d planted out back and then going to feed its fawn. Not even like a tiger killing one of my goats (if I had one) and feeding its cubs with my livestock. No. There was no deer or tiger sitting on the edge of my cup rubbing together its hooves or paws. It was a lonesome fly rubbing its apparently fingerless, toe-less, clawless, stick-figure front legs together — have you ever noticed how utterly devoid of detail flies’ legs are and how surprisingly horrifying that can be to contemplate? — wiping into my food and drink whatever it had landed on in the previous 24 hours.
It was dirty, and it was in this for itself. It had been flying around the living room, and specifically around my eating and drinking and working and existing area, and I had had enough. It had come down to this: who was going to eat my lunch? Compassion evaporated like August sweat on Texas asphalt.
One last clap of the hands, well-timed and uncaring of the consequences to my lunchtime peace, and the deed was done. It was temporarily stunned, having fallen to the side of my spoon (see arrow to right of spoon indicating initial impact), and then it climbed into the bowl of the spoon and up the neck and handle, like a prisoner walking the plank. (As you know now, I relished this, having taken the time to capture the moment for you to see.) Just after that second photo, it fell from the handle to the side of my bowl, and I took my napkin and ended it in the kill zone (see square with an X).
I realize this was a particularly violent post.
But with a fresh spoon, the rest of the baked beans sure did taste good.