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12/22/00 My Fantasy World
12/02/00 Merengue!
11/19/00 Laundry in Public
11/09/00 The Fly
09/20/00 Land of the Jogger
07/30/00 Noisy Neighbors
07/14/00 Bulk-Shopping Madness
06/23/00 My Backpack

The Fly

I began to write a how-to piece on being ugly when a fly buzzed into my office. He circled overhead, landed on my arm, and otherwise made a pest of himself. I tried to concentrate. When the fly crawled into my armpit, it was all I could take. I stopped typing and faced him like a man. He sat on my shoulder rubbing his hands, fond of the attention.

Instead of swatting him back to hell the way I should have, I decided to trap him for a better look. I poured out my glass of vod -- water -- and moved in for the capture. The fly pretended not to see me, but come on, he had 32 eyes. Just as I went to pounce, the sucker danced out of the way. He seemed annoyed now, performing his little fly-bys next to my ear.

We played this game for a spell before I caught him off-guard by the window.

Slam! He was in my glass.

I covered the lid with a rejection letter and admired my prey. He bounced around like a madman bent on freedom. Ah, but I was in charge of his freedom now. I watched him bang his head on the walls of his new world, sorry to have ever met my armpit.

Then a strange feeling came over me, something I hadn't felt, well, ever. It was a queasy feeling that clogged my throat: I was suffering from mercy. I was actually concerned for that filthy, annoying, buzzing little beast. I got to feeling that it wasn't my right to contain a fly, no matter how much he bugged. I reflected on all the flies I had squished in the past, how I had taken pleasure in cleaning their guts off the table. I remembered the journal in which I recorded the kills.

Suddenly, it didn't feel good.

I considered the Right Way as defined by the Buddha, then Thoreau's story about warring ants. I thought about Pamela Lee Anderson just because.

Was I really going to let this fly fly? Who was I, and what had I done with the real Jason?

I inspected the fly up close and waxed philosophical. How was this creature different from any person I know? He was born to live out his days the best he could. He buzzed around, landed on the occasional turd, and procreated. It wasn't much different than being a human. In fact, unlike myself, this fly had reason to be here because his mom got pregnant on purpose. The big difference, I guess, is that if I kept a human inside a glass wondering what to do with him, someone might take exception.

It dawned on me that my fly guy might be suffocating. So I moved the paper back just a touch to let in some air and -- BOOM, he was out of there so fast it wouldn't show up on film. He darted past my ear and out the door, never to return to that sadistic monster in the computer room. Even as we speak, he is hovering above some nearby garbage can, telling the story of his abduction.

But I, sigh, I feel kind of empty. I wasn't done studying my new friend, who had so much to teach me. He is gone forever, and I'm left to my normal worries, starting with the cost of vodka.


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