In the second year of the pandemic, in the depths of a blistering mutant summer, amid the throes of planetary climate change, we began to hear talk of an Insect Apocalypse. Certainly, they’d multiplied beyond nightmare. Humans limited their time outside while animals endured and suffered.
We kept our windows closed but, alas, a fly found its way into the house. It was extraordinary because of its meager, even less than traditional, size; in a time when bees had grown to the size of adult thumbs, mosquitos the size of an open hand, and spiders constructed webs that spanned rivers. This tiny throwback to picnics of bygone eras had managed to find sanctuary in our midst, a near impossible feat as we are twenty-one stories up and never open the windows.
At first we took pity, beguiled by the wonder of it.
But the fly was a pest. It loitered on our food, buzzed about our heads when we tried to sleep. took irritating treks on our skin. We waved it off in the hope that it would conform to our ways. But it was defiant in its right to infringe on our lives and prove its superiority.
It was faster than us.
It was confident in its primacy.
We began to believe that this was the thrum of evolution, the New Normal in the form of a revised ascendancy of species.
We acquiesced and the fly accepted our capitulation.
Time passed and we began to accept our amended status. An alternative place in the universe had imposed itself upon us.
One evening as my spouse watched the news and I scanned the newspaper for some evidence of scruple, the fly lingered on the table before me.
Slowly I rolled the paper and adjusted my body to a more forward but unthreatening posture. I raised the ploy.
The experiment in coexistence ended, the insect a smear on the glass, my karma defiled (alas, not the only occasion). A life canceled, the evidence wiped clean with Windex and paper towel. But I’m repentant and will work to stave off further rash instinctive reactions in an effort to improve my standing in the karmic system of a precarious cosmos.