J.K. 3, Flies 1

Even if it was an own goal.

For some reason, and in some way, flies are getting into our house. I hate flies. The aperture, wherever it is, must be very small, because there are enormous fat blowflies out of doors, but only the dinky ones inside. Those, of course, are harder to kill.

Most of the conventional weapons aren’t very good. The standard flyswatter gets gross, and can’t be swung against some surfaces. We have one of those electric badminton racket swatters, which is all but pointless. I bought some fly traps that are supposed to drown the little scumbags, and all I’m getting for my trouble is the rotting-corpse bouquet of the attractant. Charming.

(This is as good a time as any to remind all writers that it’s never okay to write “the sickly sweet stench of death.” There is nothing sweet about it. Go find a dead deer, inhale until you get the full decompository pleasure, and tell me how sweet it is. I’ll wait. Every writer who uses that description drops in my estimation.)

My favorite anti-fly weapon is good reflexes combined with a short towel. You know, the kind everyone has some of, but that are useless for everything else. Double up the towel, swing it randomly at the fly to tire it out, wait until it lands in a place where it’s safe to hit, and swooomp. Wall, ceiling, mirror, some windows, cabinet, all okay. Even if you whiff, you’ll agitate it, it’ll have to rest again, and eventually you’ll destroy the little vermin.

Or yourself.

Since the motion is from the elbow, a couple times I’ve felt a version of the pain I used to get from throwing too many sliders (or one screwball). Other than that, I’m mostly delivering the damage. Until today.

One of them was in our guest bathroom, and my swooomplust kicked into gear. You little bastard, you do not leave this room alive, I thought, taking a few swipes at the fly to get him worked up. (Call me a fly chauvinist pig, but I have a hard time seeing flies as female.) True to form, he soon alit on the mirror above the sink. He was in my sight picture.


I felt a sudden pain, as if punched in the lower stomach. Well, and another pain one further down. I missed the fly, but got myself a direct hit in the groin. Men don’t need an explanation of this. For women: the deep, sudden testicular ache is bad enough, but worse is the immediate pain in the guts. I didn’t even hit myself terribly hard, and it was almost enough to double me over. If I’d swung much harder, I’d have thrown up (that’s the next level). To envision the pain, imagine the worst gas pain you’ve ever had. Same feeling, same general region. It takes a couple of minutes to fade.

(This would seem to support the conventional wisdom that a good self-defense strategy involves a kinetic energy blow to the nuts. I don’t want to support that, because I believe it’s wrong. The problem with going for those is that you have to hit just right, and if you do not, you deliver your adversary a powerful adrenaline rush without harming him. Nope, I’m a believer in knee hunting as a self-defense mechanism. Impair the attacker’s mobility, and you now control the range of engagement. Plus, if someone is attacking you, breaking his knee sideways will cause him enormous pain, and since he’s attacking you, he deserves enormous pain.)

This was the first time in years I’d taken a direct hit there, and man, I’d forgotten how debilitating that was. So I guess that has to count as a score for the flies, even if it eventually cost that one his life.

Stupid flies.


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