We sat down to dinner late the other night, so the Diva ate a single shrimp and said, “May I be excused?” She’s maniacal about her bedtime. Have I mentioned that I adore that child? The single breathing being in the house who takes care of herself?
The rest of us started up the usual dinner chaos. I peeled shrimp for the boy, but the girlie peeled them herself, which made her brother jealous, so he told her she was serving her rice all wrong, and she started screaming that she IS NOT A BABY, although she totally acts like one.
While this was happening, Hot Firefighter Husband sipped his bourbon and I ground my teeth and we both watched a big enormous fly buzzing around the dinner table. It wasn’t a housefly; it looked more like the kind of monster fly that had been feeding on corpses. It was so fat it couldn’t even move fast – it was sort of bobbing up down like a drunken Dumbo. Remember Dumbo, the baby elephant whose ears were so big he could fly? I couldn’t ever get through that movie without crying. It was the original Disney depiction of bullying. Fucking bullies.
So we’re watching the fly, and suddenly we notice that there are two of them. No, THREE OF THEM. And then we’re all up spinning and slapping the air like meth-heads. The flies flew mainly around the sliding glass door, so Husband kept whacking it and came so close to putting his hand through the glass that I yelled at him to STOP IT! STOP IT! STOP IT! I grabbed a dish towel and expertly felled two in a row, then held an en guard position waiting for the next opportunity. But suddenly there were three of them again!
Stephen King, are you reading my blog? Because this really happened. Enormous buzzing flies with gross bug-eyes were materializing in our kitchen and it was making me feel like a really bad housekeeper.
We finally figured out they were coming from the sliding glass door, which is approximately one billion years old and has none of those rubber things that are supposed to keep bugs (and snakes! remember?) from slithering through the cracks. We rolled up a towel and stuffed it along the door track, but still they came, an army of flies, and we could see them outside, hurling themselves at the glass like suicidal birds before discovering the secret entry to our home.
“WHAT IS HAPPENING?” I screeched. “WHERE ARE THEY COMING FROM?” But I was not at all overly panicked, totally NOT SUCKING THE EMOTIONAL LIFE OUT OF THE ROOM, as some random man that I sleep with might have suggested I do sometimes.
Husband thought the swarming might be from all the dog poop in the backyard, but that’s impossible because I am a religious dog poop picker upper. Seriously. I know that seems unlikely because in other ways I’m practically slovenly. But I pick up piles and piles of dog poop every single day, and I don’t know why. Maybe it makes me feel a tiny bit accomplished, that I have two big dogs and the yard is poop-free.
Here’s my theory about the flies: One day the previous owner of this house visited the next door neighbor to bury her cat. The neighbor told me this later. “It better not have been in my yard,” I said. No, he explained, she had buried it in his yard, right near the property line. BUT. He added: Don’t worry. you’ve got three dogs and four cats buried in your yard.
And I was all WHAT? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? Stephen King, I hope you’re still reading. I have an honest-to-Purina pet cemetery behind my house. WHO DOES THAT? If you do that, don’t tell me. It’s appalling. So anyway, now we’re doing some work back there that requires digging and raking and mucking, and I think the flies have been feasting on the ancient decomposing newly uncovered pet remains.
Hot Firefighter Husband ran up to the store and bought some anti-fly pesticide and four flyswatters, and the younger children miraculously bonded to fight the swarm as a team. FlyBusters, you could call them. They wielded the swatters like swords and swung them haphazardly, knocking over plates and utensils and riling up the dogs to near panic mode. After killing them all and using paper towels to squish their guts out, the kids continued their sword/flyswatter play and every time a used swatter touched a piece of furniture, I pictured invisible pet corpse fly vomitus tainting it, and pretty soon I was almost insane. But then I noticed this new staff directory on the wall, and I calmed down. Because whatever. I’m not even in charge here.