By Sean Mahoney
I’d been focusing on chores yesterday, Sunday. Primary was to get rid of the freaking fruit flies that decided to hold their annual company picnic in my kitchen as soon as this August monsoonal heat hit.
Normally my wife would help me, but she got fed up a while back and split. Which at least got me to quit drinking, but some things always come back to haunt the house.
Anyway, I went to Ace Hardware and bought this fly paper ribbon stuff. It was nasty, and I got sap-like crap all over my fingers, but pretty soon I also had three sticky fly ribbons hung up and spiraling precariously down from the ceiling over the kitchen sink, inviting the fruit flies to their doom.
Problem was, even hours later, hardly any fruit flies had been caught. In fact, they didn’t seem to show much interest in my strategically placed sticky fly ribbons at all, the little beings flying right by toward more preferable regions of the kitchen.
One of those regions, a place the fruit flies did very much show an interest in, was the last wine glass I’d drank from before getting on the wagon and quitting drinking for good. I’d left the glass above the sink with just a hummingbird’s puddle remaining at the bottom, never to be washed or rinsed, as kind of a symbol, an empty reminder that I was through with the sauce, and boy weren’t those fruit flies pleased I had!
But they’d also given themselves away, the aggravating little pests, and their weakness would be my strength.
So I went out to the garage where I’d stashed the remaining wine and booze I had, in case any imbibing guests might stop by (just because I quit drinking didn’t mean I had to burden everyone else, I figured), dug out a nice Sonoma County Pinot Noir, popped its cork, and drizzled some wine down the fly paper.
Then I sat back and waited to see what would happen.
Sure enough, just moments later, the little sons-of-bitches came swarming around the wine-soaked tape, me remaining quiet and still by the counter so as not to frighten them off. One landed, stuck, then another, and another. Ha!
I uncorked the bottle of pinot again and carefully drizzled some more of the purple magic on the top of the fly ribbon catchers, the wine trickling down the spiraling tape like a miniature dream.
I looked down at the bottle, completely full except for the drops I’d poured for the fruit flies, and just like that (yes, just like that—that’s how it works for me, anyway), it made sense to have a glass and, feeling a celebratory mood, I hopped down from the wagon and drank.
The fruit flies continued to arrive at the sticky ribbon for the wine, me growing more jolly in the brightening kitchen light. I continued to share my wine with the fruit flies as the night grew late, my new little wino friends going through four bottles, and well through a fifth (one of my wife’s chardonnays she’d left behind) before I suddenly found myself floating in the early Monday morning gloom. I realized I’d fallen asleep on the kitchen counter using a dish rag and an oven mitt for pillows.
The oven clock said 7:23, and I would be late for work, again. I was looking down the barrel of a long, nasty day, and thought to throw my legs over the side of the counter and force myself up. But I couldn’t.
From my pounding head through my bloodstained view I saw the fly papers, hundreds of melting little fruit fly carcasses drunk and hanging over the kitchen sink. Even some big, meaty, black flies had crashed the deathly party and become stuck in the irresistible trap.
I wanted to move, but, strangely, like the fruit flies, was stuck. I didn’t know if I was going to throw up or not, but it didn’t really matter. The bathroom may as well have been on the moon, and, come what may, it was all apparently out of my control.