A story about a fly



I saw a vague dark smudge move.  I just stepped into our walk in shower and had hit the wonderful lever that causes hot water to spew forth and I caught the motion in the corner of my eye. Some spray had fallen on the window sill where the shampoo and body wash bottles sit.  A small, discrete, but real, dark smudge moved behind one of the opaque bottles.

I reached over and turned the bottle to gain a better view and there he was.  A fly.

Mind you, this was a fly in mid  January. Dead of winter.  I don’t reckon I had seen a fly since….well,  at least since late September. (not that I was keeping track).  I started to squash him as he was just sitting there and he looked a bit done in.  Then I thought better of it. That makes a small gooey mess. And what would I do with the fly carcass? Instead, I splashed some steaming hot water from the spray on him. Soaked him good.

As the water hit him and the white tile sill, he squished up against the block window pane and waved one or two legs. It did not look as if it had done him any good.  I watched as he pushed himself further behind the bottle.  “Aha!”  I thought…’that will do you no good….I can just move this aside’.  And, I did. I moved the bottle aside. Now the water had come about half way up about him and something happened when I moved the bottle that flipped him almost all the way over.   I realized ….from his movements…his feeble waving of just one leg…he was dying.

He is a January fly….living on too long….and now he is dying.  “Well…” I thought,  “that is just in the nature of things.” How long DOES a fly live anyway?  I had no idea. Though I thought probably not very very long. A few months perhaps. This one looked as if he had had a good long life. He was rather a large fellow for a common house fly.  But now…he looked  well done in.  Like some old man dying on a pallet in the desert in Afghanistan or something….if the old man was covered with good dose of water.

Is he in pain?  I wondered.  Maybe the poor thing is suffering agony? The water had been hot. Can a fly sense heat like that?  Then I thought, maybe the ‘humane’ thing to do is to squish him. Yes.  Dad blast it, I’ll pick the blighter up and toss him into the toilet and flush him right down into the sewer lines and there’s an end of it.  (I felt a twinge of guilt that I had  purposely splashed hot water on him when all he was doing was trying a nice sunny spot to die here in the middle of winter. He probably had outlived all his brothers and sisters and all his old friends. It was just him. This rather large, lonely old fly whirring about in our house. Taking pains I suppose to not be noticed. (That must be how he’d survived so long.)

My god! Look at him now!  Is he dead?  He was absolutely still.  “He’s died”,  I thought.  Well,  there certainly is a difference between a dead fly and a live one isn’t there?  Still, to be sure I blew on him.  His one leg that was sticking up then moved…just a little bit. (or was it my imagination?).  “Well,”  I thought, “that might have been a movement or it might just be involuntary reflex.  I’m sure he’s dying.”

As I turned to my shower …scrubbing the right places,  lifting my arms… getting my scalp scrubbed and all the rituals and routines,  I wondered, “why  did he come up here in the bathroom?”  Then I thought, well, maybe it’s because we eliminate waste here.  Perhaps the smells of that attract him. Yecch!   Have to scrub the toilet better perhaps. We ran a very clean house but SOMETHING must have attracted him. But why was he in the shower?


Of course,  I didn’t think or ponder the lifetime of a fly any more. Soon I was out…about. Dressed and concerned with my very much more important life.  No more musings on Mr. Fly. My last thought of him was that I will have to remove his carcass….later.

However,  tonight,  when I came home,  I went up to the bathroom.  It has a laundry room off it and I had left some shirts drying in the clothes dryer that morning I needed to hang them up.  As I stepped into the bath…Bzzzz!  A black speck flew past my eye. Very fast.  It dissappeared. I know not where. I stopped for a moment. I walked back to the shower and flipped on the light. Peering at the window sill I searched for the dead old fly.

He was not there. 

He’s flown past my eyes- into the dark….victorious!