The Biggest Aftershock


Swatting fliesThis is embarrassing to admit: I’ve had flies.

We are usually pretty free of flying insects in this area. We don’t have screen doors, and we leave our doors open most of the time.

It was raining the day the flies arrived. Our doors and windows were closed.

It started out looking like an episode of Hoarders:  Gigantic flies clinging to the ceiling, walls, and patio doors.

Did I mention these flies were HUGE? The insect version of an old, military transport plane:  Low flying, lumbering through the air with a loud hum.

These suckers were so slow, you could kill ’em with one swat.

I got my Google on, and discovered we had house-of-horror-flies.

They were coming from SOMETHING DEAD, either very near the house, or INSIDE THE HOUSE.

Oh dear Lord.

Hoarders was now a Stephen King movie.

The flies were in the living room, and the master bedroom directly above it.

Clearly not fans of my cooking, they steered clear of the kitchen.

In an effort to recover the body, we checked the attic, closets, and cabinets. We pressed our ears against the walls and heard nothing.

John, the exterminator paid me a visit.

He walked around the exterior of the house. No signs of any “rodent activity.”

Together, we sniffed through the interior of the house.

Despite being cursed with a sensitive nose, I wasn’t getting even a whiff of anything “off.”

It was unsettling to think something was rotting somewhere in the house.

I wanted to employ chemical warfare, or detonate a bug-bomb in the house.

John said it was futile.

To get rid of the flies, we had to find the body, or once the “food source” was exhausted, the flies would disappear as quickly as they had appeared.

I was disgusted, and on a mission.

The flies arose with the sun, deployed in squadrons of 6-12.

I skipped my Grandmother’s antique gold fly swatter,

The "Gucci" fly swatter retired from active duty.

The “Gucci” fly swatter retired from active duty.


and chose a small Aerosoles catalog as my weapon of choice.

My weapon of choice. Casualties were all shoe flies.

My battle-worn weapon. Casualties were all shoe flies.

It had a comfortable grip, adequate range, and didn’t leave any collateral damage.

Each day, I quickly made my morning kill, and then got ready for work.

By late afternoon, I was on the hunt again.

In the evening, just as I climbed into bed, they buzzed around the lamp on my bedside table.

I was going out of my mind.

“That’s it!” I yelled as I threw off the covers, and again armed myself.

After my final round of daily serial killing, I could turn in for the evening.

This became my routine.

I decided it was time to call a varmint hunter, like Elmer Fudd; but effective.

Then on Friday night, a 5.1 earthquake hit.

I heard the quake coming, and then our house shook for a very long 20 seconds.

We swayed for a few more minutes. The commentary from the neighbors echoed the TV news anchors:

 It’s still going.

We’re still moving.

Outside, in the dark, the house appeared fine. The pool water was eerily sloshing about.

There wasn’t much else to see.

I forgot about the flies. I was bracing for aftershocks.

Saturday dawned bright and sunny.

The previous night’s excitement had given way to a quiet morning.

Suddenly, there it was:  A horror in the grass.

This sight rattled me more than the subsequent 4.1 and 3.2 tremors that afternoon.

A mere 10 feet outside the living room doors, lay a medium-sized, grey, furry carcass.

Dental records would have been required to identify the deceased.

Obviously, the body had been moved, and I suspect Mother Nature was an accessory.

Her seismic shift had shaken it loose from somewhere.

But from where?

I don’t need answers. I’m just grateful for my second chance at life.

I realize I narrowly escaped death on Friday night.

Oh, do you think I am being overly dramatic?

Trust me, If I had walked outside during the shaking and been hit with that thing, or stepped on it…

I would have expired on the spot.


4 responses »

    • But in the children’s book – the carcass is a cute critter that is separated from his family – until the quake shakes back together again?
      We are alive and well and fly free!


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