A Fly On The Wall
Where I come from is dark, dank and no one lives longer than a day. Except for me that is. My name is Roscoe T. Fly. I am a fruit fly, by trade and watching humans is my game. Those whose faces I now find reflected in the shiny red facets of my compound eyes, are far more interesting than most. Perhaps you will watch with me a while? I can’t read human minds, but a fly sees things and learns. I think one of them intends to kill the other.
I’m not exactly your common fruit fly. Most can count their life in minutes and get but a single day of life. But when the other fly’s wings grew ragged and dropped off: their abdomens curled under and their iridescent scarlet eyes shriveled to sad and sightless dark orbs, I persisted. I used the tingling in my finger nubs to seek warmth. I crawled into a crack between a couple of bricks in the foundation of The New Yorker Hotel. It’s a mid-town art-deco landmark after all. No Budget Pod would do for this Manhattan fly.
I shook my wings out of my pupa in the dumpster out back and have watched the most delicious humans come and go from these rooms. Somehow I remain fresh as a daisy, day after day, occupant after occupant of room 439, my current favorite haunt.
I have watched humans die before. Usually it interests me little. The more flamboyant, though less popular, Muscus Domesticus, common house fly, gets all excited when something dies. Those cretins will eat anything. I am a fly of excellent tastes, and dine only on the most luscious yeast and the odd juicy bacterium.
The couple about to engage in the human mating ritual are not very different from others I’ve seen these many years. The one whose bloated body might look good if he were lucky enough to be an insect, is a male. The deep folds of pink resemble the lovely segments we arthropods are blessed with. He is round enough to more resemble a larval form than we sleek mature flies. His head is shiny with no discernable sensory hairs on the fleshy dome. The rest of his body is covered with many course dark hairs, but those tiny eyes….scary.
She is different. Smaller and hairless except for her head, her large eyes stare cold and vacant. Her appendages are long and slender. She has a grace to her form I rarely see in this species. Staring at the wall or the ceiling, she doesn’t smile or glance his way. I think she is focused on the wad of green paper that lays on the nightstand. Humans place great value in the stuff. She just lays there as he rubs the appendage he will use to fertilize her. Humans appear to use this ritual chiefly for pleasure. A fly would never waste so much precious time, resources, or energy on a process that doesn’t produce maggots. After all, isn’t that what life’s about? Or it was until I discovered room 439.
Finally, he has stiffened the thing sufficiently. He climbs on top of her and inserts the thing between her limbs, slamming his bulk against her delicate form. She moves with him, but doesn’t wrap her arms around him and squeal or scream in ecstasy as they sometimes do. She stares. I love the screamers. Their whole-hearted passion vibrates every hair on my body. I watch her suppress a yawn.
I have seen this behavior time and time again. I know, this time will be different. I watched the man hide something shiny beneath the pillow earlier. As she eliminated liquid wastes in the bathroom, he took it from the small leather bag and tucked it under to snow-white mountain of a pillow.
Sometimes they hide surprises for each other only to spring them and delight. Shiny stones on metal bands or chains, are clearly welcome surprises. The squealing and pressing of lips together told me that much, long ago. No squeals of delight this time. The thing the man hid is called a straight razor.
In decades past, I watched human’s use similar gleaming blades to remove hair from their faces. I know they shave with very different objects now. This object is for cutting quick and deep.
The woman stifles another yawn as the pace of his flopping and grunting increases. He shouts now; “Filthy, stinking whore.”
She blinks but does not respond. I watch her eyes shift from the money to the clock on the nightstand. I have been watching from my usual far corner but I fly near and light on the pillow next to her face. I look into her dark glistening eyes. She doesn’t notice the gnat on the pillow inches from her.
Gnat is what most humans call us, completely unaware of our musical genus and species designation. Drosophila melanogaster, rolls off your tongue, doesn’t it? We are among the noblest of flying insects. Our species has been used to teach the principles of genetics in human classrooms for decades, I have read. We are tough, breed quickly and require little but a moist medium to live and produce offspring. The egg I came from was laid in a tiny dollop of vanilla pudding splashed in a corner of a dumpster.
His grunts reach a crescendo I know signals the end of the ritual and he lays still. I watch as his hand slides slowly beneath the pillow.
For all these years, I have watched. The things these eyes have beheld would fill an entire human book with tales. I am smaller that the mole on this man’s left buttock, so I watch. This will not be the first killing I have witnessed. It happens far too frequently. This time the victim is more lovely, graceful, and innocent to me. This time I cannot merely watch.
I wait as he spreads his legs wide on either side of her, pinning her with his weight. Her dark eyes widen and look terrified to me as he produces the razor from under the pillow and laughs. He says nothing at first, but waves the razor in front of her and then presses it against her soft white neck. She struggles beneath him. He laughs again, and speaks. “This world won’t miss one more filthy whore.”
She says nothing. Her eyes wide and her breath ragged with his bulk and her struggle. I fly into action, to the tender opening between his massive boulders of flesh he sits upon. It is far too caked with filth for me to land. My presence would have little effect there anyway. I take a terrible risk and fly into his hideous blue eye. One hard blink and I am history. The muscles of his eyelid will crush my body and end me. I have to try.
As soon as I land, I jam my proboscis hard into the pink gooey flesh in the corner of his eye. I feel the quiver that signals his impending reaction and flee for my life.
Hovering close, I see him rub his eye and I watch her fingers close around the lamp on the table next to the bed. She smashes him between his eyes now squeezed tight. He grunts and goes limp. Blood wells from a gash in the side of his head the size of the Grand Canyon to me. Wiggling from beneath his bulk, she whimpers just once before pulling on her little red dress and running out the door with shoes in hand.
He doesn’t move. His eyes are open but my hovering in front of him draws no contraction in his eye muscles at all. He is dead and she is safe. I will need to find another room for a while. The House Fly trash will soon arrive, drawn by the odor thick and sweet, too soon to permeate my favorite room.
If you think me a hero, and I certainly feel like one, you should know my entire name. The T in Roscoe T. Fly, stands for Timothy. I chose it myself from the writing in a book I find in most of the rooms. Now that we know each other better, I have many stories to tell, would you like to hear another?