by Robert Eichelberg Aug. 24, 2005
I remember my first conversation with the insect. What a marvelous technological accomplishment it was--a true revelation into the secret world of the musca domestic, what is commonly known as the house-fly.
Our conversation began politely, each of us asking the other about long-contemplated issues. He asked me about what my sight looks like with just two eyes. I asked him about how flies are able to dodge a swatting hand with such remarkable speed. We talked about mating, and flying. He was in awe when he learned that humans could move about in water. I explained that his was called "swimming". Our conversation continued on for a few hours and I was impressed with his politeness and quality of the conversation even though the Translator often delayed to find adequate words to satisfy each participant's understanding.
Still, at a certain point, I could not help but ask the flying beast what its reasons were for its crude and obnoxious behavior--its rather lustful attraction to fecal matter and decaying foodstuffs. After all, these pathogen carrying insecta from the order of diptera have been responsible for much human misery throughout history. Our conversation suddenly turned sour by such prodding on my part.
"You arrogant humans!" the insect responded from the Translator. "You are ones that create filth. Your garbage overwhelms everywhere you go. We simply use what you waste. It is YOU who are the obnoxious ones!"
At this, I felt a surge of anger overwhelm me. Who did this small, insignificant fly think he was! How dare he!-a mere fly thinking he was better than a human being. Absurd!
I immediately released the fly from the Translation Dorm and he took off flying toward the window. I believe he must have sensed what my intention was. First he landed on my desk, and I approached cautiously with a towel in hand. I wound up the towel, cocked it behind my back, then swatted at him with all my anger. Unfortunately, the repulsive thing was long gone by the time the towel connected with the desk. He came back around and flew towards my head, and for some reason, I ducked--as if he could actual do me bodily harm. I laughed a moment at my childishness.
I looked around the room and spotted him at the window, begging towards the light of the outside world. I smiled to myself, knowing at that moment that the disgusting beast would be easy pray. Suddenly made stupid by the lust of what he thought should be an escape, I took advantage of his bewilderment, and I snapped the towel at the fly.
On the shelf below the window the soon to be lifeless fly wiggled its legs. I retrieved one of my lab tweezers (I was too repulsed to even touch the maggot loving thing) and crushed him as I picked him up. I then opened the window.
"Hope you learned a valuable lesson", I said before tossing the fly out the window and onto the sidewalk two stories below.
I finished up my notes and cleaned up the lab. I was through with musca domestic, writing in my lab journal that there is of little scientific or cultural interest in such a vile creature. Instead, I shall focus the Translator on other, more respectful beings.
On my way out of my office, I happened to search the ground for where the fly had landed. I was surprised to find it, but more surpised to see it nudging along. At first, I thought the thing might still be alive, and was simply wounded. But on closer inspection I realized it was indeed dead, but was simply being dragged home by a black ant, euphoic at his pending feast.
I nodded, amuzed. Resourseful things, those ants are, I thought to myself. Perhaps I will interview one them tomorrow in my Translator.