Shoe fly, don’t bother me

Published 10:11 am Wednesday, June 22, 2016

So my husband came in from a meeting one evening and unknowingly brought a visitor in with him.  We’ll call this visitor Buzz.

Moments later I noticed my husband walking around with a swatter in hand, his eyes on the ceiling. He was still in his suit pants, and I’ve been married long enough to know what that means. (Get out of the way.)

“He’s resting somewhere. I just know it,” that man of mine muttered, “regaining his strength.”

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“He?” I asked, scanning the ceiling for clues, but explanations weren’t really necessary. I’d already caught sight of Buzz and was pointing, “Over there.”

Our prey had made it to the ceiling fan, and he was diving into the blades like they were a Sirens’ song from Homer’s Odyssey. But not for long. “So they’re attracted to the fans?” I dared to ask. “Or is it the light . . . .”

I was told to keep quiet, and I did, even when my husband couldn’t get a location on the target and took a jab at my housekeeping instead.

“Could be caught in a cob web,” he stated with no hint of apology, moving to shake down a schefflera and a pile of piano books.

“Come on, you stupid thing.”

(Clarification: That last quote was directed at Buzz.)

The Horsefly Whisperer was tapping the blinds, so I decided to watch from the safety of a recliner where I could turn my attention to some reading material (The Daily Leader, most likely).  My husband noticed we were no longer double-teaming and decided to hit below the belt.

“When he puts a garden hose-sized hole in your leg tonight, you’ll wish you had helped me.”

I paused to consider that word picture – and a proper response.

“Maybe you got him,” I threw out there. I was ready to move onto other things on the schedule, like some homemade strawberry ice cream leftover from last night’s church social that was calling my name. “Yeah, maybe you got him.”

“No, no,” my husband countered in frustration. “It’s something they do.”

Something they do? You mean horseflies have strategies?

The hunt had taken the hunter to another room of the house by the time Daughter No. 2 came downstairs and plopped into the chair beside me. She was brushing through her head of just-shampooed hair when her father returned.

“There’s a horsefly in here,” he announced, making sure eye contact was involved. “And he’s REALLY big.”

“Where?” our teenager asked with proper horsefly respect, the kind obtained from years of pool experience and personal knowledge of the insect’s attraction to wet heads. She scanned the length of the room, then searched my face for some sort of explanation. I debated telling her about the strategy business, but thought better of it.

“Shhh!” my husband ordered. “Listen!”

We did. All three of us, frozen for what seemed like forever. Nothing. And that’s pretty much how round one ended: Horsefly, 1. Homeowner, nothing.

A few days later the family was gathered to eat lunch when Daughter No. 1 cocked her head and said, “What’s that noise?”

This time the sound came from down low, an erratic thumping against a square of scored concrete. It was hard to hear above the din of granddarlings, and the rest of us were too absorbed in a discussion about a kitchen renovation I’m pushing for to notice. (Hey, my faucet broke; it just makes sense). So that’s why with absolutely no fanfare at all, Daughter No. 1, great with child and wearing Sunday shoes, made light work of putting our poor horsefly out of his misery.

Fortunately I was tuned into the drama by this point and gave Buzz a proper Kleenex burial. My husband, however, learned of his daughter’s cunning display of courage hours later and, to be honest, seemed somewhat deflated by the news. He had only this to offer regarding his adversary’s surprising lack of resistance at the end: “Our chase wore him out. He was obviously on his last wing.”

And there you go. A little horsefly humor never hurt anybody, did it? Except for Buzz, that is.


Wesson resident Kim Henderson is a freelance writer who writes for The Daily Leader. Contact her at