This blog contains material I wrote and posted on between the years 2005 and 2011 only. It does not contain any new material. For newer writing, please check my main blog (Bill the Butcher).

Friday, 12 October 2012


"It was the best thing I ever did,” said Musca. He walked quickly with short steps, as usual, to the window and turned round. “You see the garbage dump there? Well, you can’t see it from this distance, but it’s literally buzzing with flies. Billions of them! It’s a fly paradise.”

“And so?” The journalist, Nebulo, looked puzzled. “Flies are everywhere, and they’re still there around the dump as well. You said the thing you made was the best thng you ever did, but, well…”

“Yes. It was the best thing I ever did.” Musca almost swelled with pride. “You know how flies spread disease? Well, they’re menaces, flies are. Worse than bloody mosquitoes; at least mosquitoes are clean.” He went to his desk and opened a drawer. “What is this?”

Nebulo studied the proffered object with some surprise. “It’s flypaper, isn’t it?”

“Yes, of course it is.” Musca nodded. “Flypaper, you know, is so much better than those aerosol sprays to kill flies. You don’t damage the ozone layer and you don’t spray poison on uncovered food, and besides you can leave the windows open.

“But flypaper has one great disadvantage. Flies don’t really get attracted t

o it. They more or less wander to the paper by themselves and get stuck if they do. I needed something more, something that would cause flies to actively seek out the paper and get stuck in it.

“I thought of scents. The first idea was of the stink of rotting garbage. That would probably work, but it would put off anyone with a sense of smell. Then I thought of sugar solution, but I only wanted to murder flies; not bees or wasps.

“Then one fine day the idea came to me: sex.”

Nebulo raised his eyebrows. “Sex?”

“Fly sex, you understand.” Musca grinned without humour. “I took fly pheromones. Male and female sex pheromones, and set out to synthesise the essence of them. It took months. Yes, months before I could make the pheromones cheaply and easily enough. But at last it was done.

“What did I do? I bought the stickiest flypaper going and drenched it – absolutely bloody saturated it – with the mix of pheromones. Then I took that sheet of paper and let it near that succulent garbage dump and sat back to watch.

“In one hour, that one square metre sheet of fly paper caught one hundred and ninety thousand, six hundred and eighteen flies. I counted. There was not a square millimetre of the sheet that wasn’t covered with flies, and the garbage dump was fly free. I could see them swarming after me, eager to commit suicide on my fly paper, buzzing after me as I packed up the paper and got ready to go home.”

Musca raised a hand and waved it irritably at a fly. The fly came back and sat on his hair. He seemed not to notice. “Yes, they came swarming after me to screw the paper, and I thought I had it made. The only flies who would survive it would be the ones without libido, and I wasn’t interested in them anyway. If they didn’t want to screw, they wouldn’t reproduce, and that would be the end of it.

“You’ll understand how happy I was. I repeated the experiment several times, and each time I was astonished at the results. I was about to apply for a patent. I think I could have made the country fly-free. Alas!”

Musca wiped away a manly tear. “That night I was visited. I don’t really know how to explain it better. I woke to find Him next to my bed. He shook his pedipalps and unfurled His proboscis, and cleaned His compound eyes with His forelegs. Then he took my precious fly paper and …uh…”

Musca made a slightly painful motion, as though it hurt him to sit. “Never mind that. Anyway, He took the fly paper and – a moment after that He was gone.

“And the next morning I stopped the research, of course.”

“Of course,” agreed Nebulo. “And this Him you refer to, it would be…?”

“Beelzebub,” said Musca, whispering and nervously watching the fly, which was now sitting on his hand. “Beelzebub, Lord of the Flies.”
Copyright B Purkayastha 2009

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