Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Big Game Hunting

After dinner as a family, which I titled "The Fall of Saigon," I retreated to my study for a few minutes. When I come back out, I walk toward the kitchen.

"STOP!" Gloria shouts. I freeze.

"Fly," she says, hissing through her teeth. She holds the flyswatter in a death grip with her right hand. The killing hand.

"Almost there," she whispers, stalking across the tile with the stealth of a Special Forces operative. She reaches Waypoint Alpha, by the dishwasher, then reconnoiters to Waypoint Bravo, by the refrigerator. Charlie is on the leg of a chair next to the kitchen table. The hot zone.

Gloria winds up and, well, flails at the fly.

"Where is it?" she asks.

"I don't see it," I say.

"I think I got it," she says.

"You didn't get it," I say. "After that swing, he probably thinks he can kill all of us. He's flown to Home Depot to look at redecorating schemes."

Then, on the floor by the chair, I see it: the dead body of a fly. Gloria sees it at the same time I do and shouts in gleeful triumph.

"I DID get it!"

"No way. That's another fly. This is what happens when you don't sweep the kitchen often enough."

"There is no way you can say that's not the fly," she says, still giddy.

"Maybe it's the fly, but you didn't kill it," I say. "That swat wouldn't have broken a soap bubble."

"Hmph," she says, and if you're married, you know exactly how that sounds.

"It could have died as you swung the fly swatter," I say helpfully. "Maybe it had an aneurysm as it saw the fly swatter heading its way in super-slow motion."

"I don't believe you," she says. "You're a sad little man."

"It could have been a suicide. I'll look for a note."

In the end, as always, we decided to do the only reasonable thing.

Autopsy results are in two weeks.

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