The Spiderman Is Having You For Dinner Tonight

So you’re in Australia, on the first day of a heatwave with temperatures forecast to hit 39-40 degrees C for the next three days. You do all your important work early in the morning before it gets too hot. Guests have just left and in your innocence, you say, “I’m going to air the guest room for a bit, while it’s still cool-ish.” So you open the French doors.

Ten minutes later, you re-enter the room and find yourself in an impromptu scene from an Alfred Hitchcock movie. There are flies everywhere – all over the ceiling and walls and every available surface. Hundred of flies, possibly thousands – you’ve never seen anything like this before. There’s several dozen large flesh-eating blowflies, oodles of those medium-sized annoying bushflies that crawl into people’s eyes and up their noses, hordes of tiny little flies with lacy wings, and a plethora of midges, all over every surface you can see.

After the initial shock of seeing this mass gathering of the order Diptera all over the room, you grow freshly alarmed at the thought that they might do number twos all over your pristine white ceiling and plaster. So you brainstorm ways to remove them quickly. Fly spray is not an option – you don’t like poisoning people, not even strangers, and it might actually make the cleanup messier to kill all these insects. You experiment with chasing them back out of the open French doors, but the buzzing dark clouds you raise from one surface just re-settle on another.

So you hit upon the idea of vacuuming them all up. That should work, but it’s going to be extremely tedious. So you close the French doors, get your iPod, and work to music while you stand on a chair and run the sofa attachment in sweeps all over the ceiling, and then the walls. The midges all get sucked down the vortex first go; the little lacy-winged flies are nearly as easy. The bushflies require chasing and persistence. The blowflies are very tricky to catch – it’s best to wait until they settle on the door glass, and then go after them.

The iPod starts to play Lullaby when you’re back to standing on your chair, extending the vacuum wand all over the place like some long-limbed insectivore having a rather extended dinner – and you think, “Perfect! Yes! This is as excellent as when Golden Brown came on by fortuitous coincidence when I emptied the compost toilet cartridge into the hot compost bin last year!”

And as you’re suctioning up hundreds of flies, you sing along, with dark emphasis, to the bit that goes, “The spiderman is having you for dinner tonight!” Bwahahahahaha!

This wasn’t work I really needed, on top of everything. I shall have to organise a flyscreen for those French doors. But, it was work made not only bearable, but memorable, by that musical coincidence!

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