I was quietly reading a marginally interesting book when I noticed a huge, big, fly buzzing around the room. The kind that sometimes bites. “I’d better get rid of that fly,” I thought. Being too lazy to get up immediately and fly-swatter him to death, I considered another solution. When he flew onto the open window and landed on the screen, I jumped up and shut the window. He was trapped. He would never get out of there. He can just die there of starvation, thirst, and/or exhaustion. The heck with him.
Later, I sat down to watch a movie on my DVD player which was right next to the fly prison. I watched him flying about trying to escape. As time passed, I became distracted by his restless search.
I knew it was hopeless and actually started to feel guilty and sad for him. Is that a good way to die? Helplessly trapped like that? But, if I let him out, I’d just swat him to smithereens anyway. Which is the better death for him? Slow and agonizing or quick?
“Wait a minute,” I thought, “this is silly. Just pull the shade so you don’t have to watch his desperation.”
I did that. I was able to watch my movie and go to bed without a qualm.
Next morning, I pulled the shade. He’s dead. No, wait, there he is hanging onto the screen but not moving at all. A sturdy fellow.
As the room warmed, he began to fly about. I gave up, I couldn’t stand it. I opened the window. It took a while but he finally realized he was freed from his jail. He flew lazily about the room over my head.
I was on the phone and told a friend I was going to have to be an executioner. I didn’t want to kill him, but I couldn’t have him buzzing all over, maybe biting me.
But before I took on that job, I decided to go out onto my deck to check out the weather. Just as I was about to step out, I saw the fly clinging to the window on the door … Hurray, no execution, nobody had to die. I shooed him out the door and he disappeared into the sky.
I was relieved. It was the perfect end to the story. Not only that, it had to be a good omen.
Not sure why I think that, but it feels true.
— Carole Wendt is a Litchfield native who had a long career in media before returning to her hometown to retire. She writes occasionally about her life for the Independent Review.