Sunday, June 29, 2008

Fly Watch: Day Three

I would have never believed it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes and experienced it for myself in these last three days. Flies. Hordes…an infestation, like Hitchcock’s Birds. I walked quietly downstairs a few mornings ago to be greeted with dozens of black specs lounging lazily on various windowsills and baseboards in various rooms of the downstairs.

They didn’t move, not one twitch of their hairy legs, just stared at me with their 50 eyes each. Why were they there? How did they come in the house? Why were they just sitting there?

The only thing I could do was arm myself, and for the first few, it was easy to smack the life out of them. They bunch up, so swinging into a group results in several casualties per strike, but then it was as if they could communicate. As soon as they saw me, they’d not only scatter, but they’d regroup.

Twelve turned into 20. Twenty to 50. Fifty to 100. Soon, I would clear a windowsill of a dozen flies, turn my attention to another windowsill in another room, and when I returned to the first sill, they’d reinforced, organized and concentrated their efforts.

But for what?

They all seemed slow, mature, grown up flies with little energy or any desire for self-preservation. Huddled in the corners of the windows, they congregated as if ready for a counterstrike.

I upped my weapons, pulled out the Dyson and began sucking them up by the handful, pulling them from the skies as they tried to flee. It worked well and I soon gained the upper hand in the battle, as it was one of attrition. Their numbers dwindled before nightfall, but come sunup, they had returned in greater hoards than ever before, inundating the windowsills in numbers I would have—up until then—only imagined.

Where had they come from? Where were they coming from? Why here? Why now?

Two days prior, we had our first appointment with the pest control to spray the outside of our house for spiders and ants. We had come across several black widows lately and a dozen egg sacks in the rafters of the porch and patio, so we figured it was time to call in the professionals for a scheduled spraying.

The following day, every fly within three houses of ours decided that it was too hot of a fly zone to remain outside, so they found their way in. But how? All of the windows are now shut. The air conditioning is on, making the house positively pressurized, but yet, they still find ways in.

I pulled the couches away from the windows in the living room and for 20 minutes, I stood their watching the windowsill, the dirty windows and caked-on screen for any signs of break ins. There were none. I walked away for a few minutes, and by the time I had returned, there were three flies sitting there, mocking me, laughing perhaps.

They were sucked into the vacuum and probably beat to death by the dead bodies of their fallen comrades. It is a fitting penalty for invading my house… but then I thought, to my horror, that they weren’t coming in the house… that they were already in the house, hatching from God knows what and who knows where.

I tore apart the ground floor of the house. Everything that didn’t belong downstairs was put in a laundry basket and dumped in a big pile upstairs. I moved all of the couches, chairs, tables and knick-knacks, half expecting to find a maggot-covered piece of half-rotting hamburger that Matthew hid because he didn’t want to eat it…maybe a month ago. Or perhaps Elsa couldn’t make it outside quick enough and I had yet to find it, hidden under some random end table.

I vacuumed, I washed down the windowsills, I swept the cobwebs from the corners of the rooms. I sat and watched. The flies kept coming. It’s not like we live in a slaughterhouse or in a barn with cattle; this is a residence where people live, relatively clean people, so why would they want to stay here?

The only thing that makes sense is that they’re lethargic, slow and seemingly sick. They sit on the sills in vast numbers unable or unwilling to fly away, and if they do, they’re slow, fat and easily sucked out of the air and into the vacuum.

It’s been three days now, three days of the constant struggle, me against the flies. I tore apart the family room, pulling out every piece of furniture that wasn’t nailed down, the couches, tables, pictures, lamps… I even empted out the cabinet under the TV. I dusted, I washed, I rinsed, I wiped. I vacuumed the ceiling fan, the fireplace, the couches. I washed the windows, the hearth, the back of the TV, the glass in the pictures on the walls. There was nothing, no source, no obvious entry point, no obvious Mother Fly sitting under the cushions of the couch squeezing out dozens of flies by the minute.

In the past three days, I have killed at least 250 flies… in our house…IN OUR HOUSE.

What the hell is going on?

The infestation seems to have subsided, as I’m only seeing one or two every couple of hours instead of dozens. The family room has never been cleaner. Tomorrow is the kitchen… same thing. No surface will remain untouched. No fly will live.

When all of this is over, at least the house will be spotless and I can avoid Kara’s “Let’s get a maid” conversation.

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