Thursday 23 August 2018


I know flies. I’ve camped with them.

I heard how they eat. A lot of them land

on things and put down their proboscis that

sits at the front of their heads. Some saliva

comes out and this starts to digest whatever

they’re sitting on. Then they suck the stuff

that they’ve started to digest back up their

proboscis. You can feel that saliva moment

just after they land on your skin, slightly moist,

slightly cool. Then there are the biting ones, that we

call horse flies. Their probosces are like daggers.

They jab that into your skin and suck the

blood up through the dagger. I thought I had

all this figured. The flies that do the saliva thing

are the ones we call house flies and the

bigger house fly type are blue bottles. And there are

some shiny green ones that love horse shit.

And the horse flies come in medium and large,

the medium ones are nippy and when they

land on you, you can hardly feel it, until they

stab you with the dagger. The large ones are

like flying caterpillars, fleshy and angry, and

a bite from them is like being attacked by a

fork-prong. Once I saw one by a swimming

pool waiting to get my shoulder. I grabbed a

flip-flop and threw it and it hit it, first time. End

of horse-fly. I’ve tried a hundred times since

and never got one. That’s it, I thought: house

flies and horse-flies. Then one day we were

sitting at a table and I felt something bite me

and I looked down and all I saw was a fly. But

that kind of fly doesn’t bite. A house fly. Then

there was another. These little house flies

were biting me. I got one and when it fell off,

there was a little drop of blood on my leg. I

picked it up and looked closely: its proboscis

didn’t have the little spongey saliva bit on the

end. It was pointed like a tiny needle. It was a

tiny horse fly disguised as a house fly. It didn’t

say it was a horse fly. It just turned up acting

like it was any old house fly but then did the

horse fly thing in my leg. Not just one of them.

There were hundreds of them. And under the table.

Always under the table.