Runcible Spoon

poetry and prose webzine

Poetry Prose Submissions Contributors Home heart logo Privacy Notice Links

I Wouldn't Hurt a Fly


       It was a cold December morning with below zero temperatures outside. It was just the kind of day to stay inside, wearing my pajamas and reading headlines in the local newspaper. It was such a lazy kind of day that I sat for twenty minutes choosing between pancakes or waffles for breakfast.


       As I sat in my big, overstuffed chair, drinking my coffee, staring down at my fuzzy bunny slippers, I heard a rather annoying sound. There was a fly buzzing around the lamp. The fly would bang against the glass of the bulb and then bang against the fabric of the lampshade and then bang against the bulb and…. This unpleasant noise was distracting me from my perfectly tranquil day. Buzz, bang, buzz, bang, Another buzz!


       Finally, the fly escaped its lampshade captivity and flew off toward the kitchen. The poor dear must have been tired. It landed on the nearest wall and hung there to regain its strength.


       I began to feel sorry for it. While I didn't want it pestering me, it was a lifeform, deserving survival. As the old saying goes, "All life is sacred".


       I contemplated what action to take. I immediately dismissed using the fly-swatter hanging from a hook on the wall. I’m not even sure why I have it.


       I noticed an empty, lidded baby-food jar on the counter. Perhaps I could capture the fly, thereby relieving myself of its annoying buzz and still qualify as a responsible, caring creature.


       I approached the perched critter with the jar in my right hand. I could see its wings twitching and could even see its green-black, compound eyes moving around, looking about. Its legs were rubbing together. It must have sensed me. The fly flew off.


       Darn it all! The fly went right back under the lampshade. Buzz, bang, buzz, bang, buzz…. This is not the best way to spend a peaceful, quiet, cold morning in pajamas.


       The fly must have learned from its first encounter with the hot bulb, for soon it bid farewell to the lampshade and found sanctuary on the vertical wall again.


       I was most careful, very dexterous, and whomp! The fly was in the little container. I clapped the lid down and screwed it on. Mission accomplished! A dent in the paint where the glass rim of the jar had struck the wall the hardest would be a lasting reminder of my success.


       I took a quick look to be certain my quarry was indeed my captive. I set the jar down on the end table and went back to reading the paper. Buzz, bang, buzz, bang. The poor organism was looking for a way out of the jar.


       I couldn't let it loose in the house as it might find the garbage or the syrup that I planned on applying to the hot cake stack I had decided to have. I couldn't keep it in the jar buzzing and banging. That would be inhumane. Life can be full of misery, loneliness, and suffering. I couldn’t add to the pain. I would break the cycle.


       I picked up the jar and headed to the front door. I would let this little, living creature free. Perhaps it had a family. No, of course it did. Flies breed like rabbits. To set the fly free was the correct action to take.


       I looked down to move the door sock. What the heck? There were dust bunnies on my slippers!


       As I opened the front door, I felt the arctic-chilled wind burrowing its way up my pajama bottoms. I opened the jar and made a thrusting motion towards the outside.


       The fly flew from the jar, towards the door, past the door, and… fell... dead… onto the icy porch … its wings… frozen.


Hugh Dudley