Infinite flies

It was a hot summer day, and there were a lot of flies buzzing around at the building’s side door, where I usually enter and exit the apartment. There are bushes on each side of the door, and a cement porch with no walls, and seriously, a swarm of flies — hundreds.

You don’t need a PhD in entomology to understand, only two things could draw this many flies — either an ample supply of fresh shit, or something dead and rotting.

Whether it's shit or a dead animal I don’t know, but the same thing happens once every summer. Never happens twice in a summer, and it never doesn’t happen — once every summer, each of the 17 summers I’ve lived here, just for a few days at the height of the heat, there’s a flood of flies at the side door.

I suspect it’s intentional. Someone is dropping either fresh turds or a stale kill in the bushes by the door, every year. It's a tradition, for the fun of seeing people flail at the flies as they’re coming and going.

To be honest, it’s something I might’ve done to annoy the neighbors, when I was younger. I never did it, but only because it never occurred to me, so I’ll congratulate the artist. Good work, asswipe.

Anyway, I reached into my pocket for my keys, squirmed and covered my mouth so I didn’t inhale any flies, put the key in the door, opened it and quickly entered. Maybe 20 flies followed me inside.

I walked down the hall toward the door of my apartment, shooing flies away, which was hard to do because I was carrying groceries. At my apartment door, I inserted a different key, entered licketysplit, but unavoidably a few flies came in with me. Maybe six or eight?

Putting away the groceries, I knew what was coming, because like I said, this happens every summer. Those few flies would fly-fuck and spawn more flies within a few days unless I promptly hunted ‘em down and killed them.

But I was lazy. After putting away the groceries I melted into my recliner and watched an old movie on YouTube — Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959), which now seems an auspicious choice.

A few days later, there were flies all over the apartment — three or five in the bedroom, another three or five in the other bedroom (‘the office’, where I work), and probably more in the living room, but I never go into the living room so who cares.

I would occasionally slap at ‘em in mid-air with a Tupperware lid that’s about half the size of a piece of paper, and works much better than a manufactured flyswatter. You go whoosh, and then hear a tiny satisfying ‘pop’ as the lid smacks ‘em in flight. Another fly down.

The flies weren’t a big worry, I thought, because while I am definitely a slob, I’m mostly a slob with dry things that flies can’t feed on — there are empty cardboard boxes littered around, and dirty clothes, old zines, milk crates, winter mittens not yet put away, and everything else in the galaxy, but nothing much that flies can eat or drink. They’d be gone by the next day, right? Happens once every summer.

Only this time, they weren't gone the next day. Instead there were hundreds of them. It was far worse than any previous summer, and I'm not sure why. It had been extra warm for a few days; maybe that was a factor? Maybe it's global warming? Who the heck knows, but by the next afternoon there were so many flies in every room, I had to go to war. 

During the late afternoon the flies were attracted to the closed windows, where warm sunshine hits. Crawling on the glass, they were easy to target with my Tupperware, one or two or three at a time, splat splat splat against the glass. I racked up a dozen kills in only a few minutes, then went into the other room, racked up a dozen kills there, and returned to the first room for another dozen. About fifty flies were dead before the sun went down, and then, without sunshine to lure them, the easy kills were over for the day — or so I thought.

A few hours later I wandered to the kitchen for a glass of cold water, glanced into the office/bedroom, and saw something I hadn’t seen before. Something that grossed me out, though I'm a fairly gross fellow by nature.

The lamp was on, because I'm lazy and never turn it off, and it was the only source of light in the room. Flies love the light, I guess. The lamp had hundreds of flies crawling on it, and more circling for a landing spot. The lamp was so covered with flies, that’s what caught my attention — the room should’ve been brighter, I thought. Maybe a light bulb had burned out? And then I noticed the infinite flies.

There were so many flies that killing a dozen would have made little or no difference. It was time for the big guns. I darted to the 24/7 grocery, and they were out of the generics so I came back with a can of genuine Raid™.

Haven’t used any aerosol insecticide in decades, and I’m pleased to report that they’ve greatly reduced the stink factor. Last time I used Raid, even just a little, I had to avoid the area for days, but this time the smell was far less unpleasant, and the air was (or seemed) perfectly breathable in five minutes.

And, boy howdy and goodbye, it killed the flies. I only sprayed the outside and inside of the lamp, and only for a few seconds. Same for the lamp in the living room. Then I went to sleep, and when I woke up there were still some flies flying around, but they were circling closer and closer to the floor — and the floor was crowded with fly corpses.

Over the next two days I've splattered about a dozen stragglers, and now I’m fly-free. 

As it was happening, sorry, I was too disgusted & too busy swatting flies to think of taking pictures. The images here were swiped off the internet, from other poor souls who've gone through something similar. I doodled the image of the infested lamp. All images are approximately accurate, though, except for the sweep-up image, above. I had about half that pile of flies — but in each room, so it works out about the same.

The bedroom got a different treatment, because my cat lives there so I didn't want to Raid it. Instead I hung one of these and closed the door. The bedroom flies were all dead within a few hours.

I've swept up and vacuumed away most of the dead flies, but I'm still finding more — in the shower, in the sink, in the toilet, in my pots and pans in the kitchen, in the butter and peanut butter (because I’d left both out, and un-lidded), on top of canned foods and the fridge, in empty glasses, all over the table, in the silverware drawer (left open, cuz I'm a dummy), in my pill case, in an open soda, on my lava lamp, on the cover of The New Yorker, and everywhere else. Found a dead fly somehow balanced on the bedroom doorknob. Found two others hanging precariously by one leg stuck to the wall. Found half a mangled fly that the cat was licking in her fur. Found a dead fly balanced on the vertical top of my monitor, several on my blanket and pillows, three on the scanner, and two on my keyboard — one on Z and one on 8. After flicking them off, I decided to write this.

TL/DR: This will sound like an ad, but: Not much Raid = lots and lots of fly corpses.

Next year, when one of my neighbors does the 18th annual prank of leaving something awful in the bushes by the side door, I’m not going to walk through the cloud of flies. Instead I’ll get back into my car, drive around and park on the other side of the building, and enter at that door. It's a longer walk, but I expect there'll be no flies.



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  1. I get my second Covid shot on Friday. Is it stupid of me to be scared as shit

    1. Not stupid, but the problems if any are quite temporary. I had no issues at all. It'll be AOK.

    2. Captain HampocketsJuly 25, 2021 at 5:57 AM

      It seems like the older you are, the fewer problems you'll have with side effects. The pattern has helt true among my friends and family - youngest have worst symptoms, oldest have fewest symptoms. I'm 47, had about 1/4 of a day of needing to be wrapped up in bed.

    3. 28 here, a whole day in bed after my 2nd Pfizer

    4. Like I got covid and I had to stay in the hospital on oxygen, stingy potasium and coughing up blood. I dont want to relive that....ever

      Like biggest fear is I have to go through that again

      Id rather cutt off an apendenge with a rusty dull knife

    5. We have a limited number of appendages, so please don't do that.

      I haven't heard of any problems with the vaccine worse than a day of nausea, which would be angel food cake, compared to what you've been through.

    6. So did the second shot go well on Friday, no awful aftereffects?

    7. I had to cancel because I have probably the worst cold ive had as an adult. Least in the past 5 years. Still sick, so I get to enjoy that vaccine once Im better. If I ever get better.

      Talked to the doc and she said that because we all wore masks last year we technically had a break from colds and flue. Now that we are back at it its literally like the first time you ever get a cold as a kid…miserable and no comfort from modern medicine what so ever. Something to look forward to.

  2. I usually like but this is only grossout porn.


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