"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers theme for TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon artist's musings melding metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Lord of the flies--Finis

Days passed--shrieks, spray, swat, scoop.

We tried the fly strips, tacked up everywhere. If flies laugh, they did. She buys some foul smelling fly traps. After the being seasoned to the smell in the wall, these flies don't even notice.

Shrieks, spray, swat, scoop. Guts on the windows. Morning and afternoon. Doors to bedrooms shut. Wife goes out and buys high powered spray poison. Two or three times a day, spraying under the cabinets.

We clean out under the sink, scan under the cabinets with flashlights. Then I see them...two holes near the dishwasher and the disposal. That has to be where they're coming in. Out comes the packing tape, taping those shut. We've already taped shut a couple of air vents and the fireplace, to no avail. And we use the high powered spray to hopefully seal the holes under the sink.

"It's supposed to be a barrier," says she.

Fewer flies, fewer shrieks, fewer swats and scoops ensue. The smell is almost gone, except for the foul smelling fly traps. We take those outside, to ward off flies on the back porch. Still have some bugs out there, but now we have this foul smell too.

We empty all the bottom cabinets of pots and pans and a potporri of stuff from back in the hidden recesses of the dark corners we haven't seen for years...throwing a lot of it away. All the poison-encrusted pans go into the dishwasher for cleaning. It takes several loads, and they're all deposited on the dinette table.

Everyday for three weeks, I get home earlier than her, and she calls, "Any flies?"

One day I report, "No."

We get soap and water and mop and disinfectant, and swab the inside of the lower cabinets. Back go the pots and pans. More scrubbing and cleansing of windows, counter tops, windows, everything. This is the cleanest the kitchen has ever been. No smell. No flies.

For two fly-free days, we hold our breath. One house fly and a dead cicada husk on the outside screen cause brief consternation, but they're not creatures from the critter. Actually, the husk is still there...a metaphor of maggot mania.

This past week, fresh from the farmer's market, and my trip to Avalon for fresh fish, she cooks for the first time in about six weeks. "We've recaptured the kitchen," she exclaims. But I don't feel I won. Lesson: Lord of the flies? I don't think so. We just outlasted them, with the help of pesticides. Folks, when it comes to insects, we're outnumbered.

Yesterday, I notice that the air vents are still taped up.

Several friends have asked, "Did you ever figure out what it was?"



  1. Somehow he's left out the horror of it all...

  2. the fretting, the thought that it might not be good to come home, that the office might somehow seem a better place to hang out, the flashing moment across your sight that you no longer know it it's a fly or a floater on your eye, and then there is the sound--you might think they are gone but if you stand very still and listen, there is this slight hum? would you call it a hum? a jittering hum...the joker fly and this joker fly is not lone or dispensable, he's like that guy on the Terminator that you think is gone, but he's never gone.

  3. Anonymous is a poet, and a descendant of Poe,

    Thank you...the horror is in our minds

  4. And how would you describe the horror?

    How about Mr. Kurtz in Heart of Darkness, "The Horror, the horror."?

  5. the hum sounded both solitary like there was a little buz nearby and every now and then I thought the whole attic had a hum to it and well, you can imagine where the mind goes with that image


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