Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Murder on the rue Bay View

The deer flies have been dreadful this year, even on cool, wet days such as yesterday. They were especially deadful (the mis-spelling is deliberate, for I have become adept at killing them) in the hot and still and humid days of last week. I'm aided in the murders by the dog, on our walks.

With her abundance of black, fragrant hair, Mia attracts the flies like, well, like flies to a honey. They are drawn to her as if she were a tiny black deer (dear?), which has the advantage that they leave the somewhat less hairy, somewhat more vindictive, character in this story for the most part alone. They circle her in squadrons, and seem especially bad where the trees overhang the rues we walk. To her credit, she mostly ignores them, or pretends to, except when they fly around her nose, whereupon she snaps her jaws and sometimes catches one.

This is not the murder part of the story. A fly buzzing in one's mouth is sufficiently disconcerting that she opens and releases.

I'm not so nonchalant. The flies' sole mission in life is to burrow under the hair and reach the skin and the blood. This is gross on several levels, not the least of which happens when a fly sneaks by all vigilance and crawls out when we're back home and flies to a window (why? trying to regain the wilderness?) and I smash it there, forgetting about the blood it's collected. So: in the first place, I hate to see my baby's blood needlessly spilled; in the second, prevention of same has become a sport to relieve the discontent of the day. I now look constantly down as we walk, waiting for a fly to alight and start to burrow. Timing and practice: move too quickly and the beast flies away. Move too slowly and the beast is gummed up in hair. My success rate for pinching out lives exceeds 50%. Next step in the game will be to try to pull off their right wings.

Can you imagine being so constructed that you'd brave anything - terrible fingers descending from above, Fox News fusillades - to achieve your purpose? You know you're going to die, or at least be terribly embarrassed, but you don't care, the blood, the prize, is so close. In this pestilential summer, is the danger worth it, ye plagues upon the body politic?

Post-post: a reader has commented offline that the description above hints at a comparison between deer flies and certain politicians. Since politicians are reptiles, any error in comparing them to biting bugs is mine.

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