I’ve always held that it would be better to fight 100 duck-sized horses than one horse-sized duck.
But after this last week, I’m no longer as convinced size is more advantageous than large numbers.
Now, I want to make this clear — I’m a clean guy. Disorganized, sure, and distractible. But I’m all about making sure the kitchen is clean after a large dinner, the carpets are vacuumed after a get-together, and laundry is done quickly and efficiently. The dryer isn’t meant to be a part-time closet, folks.
So when my house came under assault from a swarm of flies, I absolutely lost my mind.
At first, these obnoxious sky raisins arrived after a strange (read: putrid) smell started emanating from somewhere between the laundry room on the first floor and the clothes closet on the second. We have an exterminator on retainer, so we called to let him know it seemed likely one of his traps caught something.
He never did find anything, but he helped deodorize in the crawlspace and I, foolishly, thought the episode was over, since the flies disappeared as well.
Little did I know they were only the advance party, scouting out new locations to infest.
A month later, without warning, I walked into my home to find dozens of the things on my windows.
My wife and I, we went HAM — she in the living room, literally drowning flies with her homemade environmentally-friendly cleaning solution from afar before collecting their tiny corpses, me in the kitchen doing my best impersonation of an angry Bruce Banner with a fly swatter. Ray smash.
After the massacre, we scrubbed and vacuumed and bleached our house like we were cleaning up Chernobyl itself. The only thing missing were the full-body hazmat suits and geiger counters.
We collapsed on the couch hours afterward, unaware that the nightmare had only just begun.
They returned the next afternoon like nothing happened.
I left my wife to fight the good fight while I put my height advantage to use, scouring the exterior of our home for any sign of where the flies might be originating or entering. I made several educated guesses and fortified the domicile — I’ve yet to hear of flies being able to defeat anything as tough as duct tape.
Again they returned, in even bigger numbers than before. I was beginning to wonder if these were zombie flies, returning from their tiny graves over and over to haunt us.
At this point, we decided to go full Home Alone — fly paper by the windows, traps in the corners, zappers outside, you name it. If I could have rigged a flamethrower to go off any time a fly buzzed below it, trust me, I would’ve.
I started feeling like a Bond villain in my own kitchen; I’d be eating my Wheaties and watching John Oliver or Trevor Noah when I’d hear the frantic buzzing of a fly caught in one of my various snares. Swiveling on the bar stool, I’d turn to face the doomed insect, fingers steepled, smile cold.
I just want you to know that this is nothing personal, Mr. Fly. It’s purely business.
By this point, we’ve killed hundreds of flies, and hoped our message to the horde was clear: Beware, here there be humans.
We hoped in vain.
By the next afternoon, I brought in my secret weapon — my pump-action Bug-A-Salt shotgun.
I bought this on a whim years ago, and remains my prize Goodwill find to this day.
Normally, it sits by my work desk during the summser months to catch any wandering musca domestica unawares, next to a container of Norton’s Iodized Salt. I kept a kill count on my whiteboard.
Those hunts were strolls in the park compared to the bloodbath awaiting me at home.
It didn’t matter that the largest battle in Game Of Thrones history was happening in front of me that Sunday night — when the fly buzzed past my ear, I grabbed my Bug-A-Salt hidden under the couch cushions and seasoned the living room like it was a Thanksgiving turkey, the fate of Winterfall be damned.
House Miller-Still: Not today, flies.
Maybe it was the excessive use of kitchen spices. Maybe it was the fly heads on toothpicks, placed London Bridge-style around the yard. Maybe, just maybe, it was me threatening to ruin “Endgame” for them.
Whatever the reason, they’ve since left us alone. For now.
But me and my Bug-A-Salt? We stand ready for the next time we hear the buzz, buzzing in the deep.
Let them come. There’s still one man yet in this house who still draws breath.