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Old 12-17-2012, 08:14 AM
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Tau (Offline)
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Default Black Fly by Tor

Black Fly

Many people have heard about black flies. But they can never "know" about them until they have experienced them in the Adirondack Mountains. It must be something to do with the weather and other extreme conditions. All of the crawly or air born creatures are bigger and nastier (probably due, in part, that they are New Yorkers - well, upstate). I swear I have seen mosquitoes in the dead of winter at forty below out of the corner of my eye. As best as I could tell they seemed to be wearing little parkas and were walking using snowshoes rather than flying. But that could just have been a bit of ice on my glasses. Never the less, in the summer the mosquitoes and even houseflies are tough. I have tried flyswatters but end up having to resort to a claw hammer to end their existence. And then there are the black flies.

I recall a spring when the weather was cool and damp and it went on like that for the entirety of what the calendar identifies as spring. After winter in the Adirondacks the spring greening happens very quickly - warm or relatively warm weather does not last long so everything that grows does so at breakneck speed. That speedy growth applied to all living things and especially our insect brethren. During that cool wet spring those little tormentors grew at a pace that was talked about in Revelations.

One day late in that spring I was in my office at the residence for the mentally retarded doing my best to manage the place, when one of the staff staggered in her arm wrapped in a bloody rag. She was a large sturdy Adirondack woman but at the moment she was pale from a loss of blood. "The nasty thing bit me!" she said. I said, "Sit down, what bit you?" She said, "Iím not sure but it was big and hairy and fast. I ran over to me from behind a tree, bit me on the back of my arm and ran back behind the tree." "I know this is going to sound crazy", she said, "but the thing looked like the biggest bug I ever saw!" I thought she must be delirious from the loss of blood so I had the nurse patch her up and take her to the hospital.

But I had to find what had made this attack and get rid of it before the residents got home from their day program. I called together two guys (Joe and Sam) who were doing some work for me in the front yard and arming ourselves with baseball bats from the recreation locker we crept into the trees behind the house.
It was very quiet and still in that patch of trees. We knew something was up because no birds were singing. We stood back to back to back so we could see in all directions at once. Nothing! Joe said, "Is that a wing sticking out from behind that tree?" As I turned to look a thing as black as the inside of a cow and about the size of a medium sized dog came around the tree and charged at Joe. The thing was as ugly as 1950ís Sci-Fi movie monster and had what looked like two big fangs protruding from its mouth-thing.

The speed of the attack surprised Joe and before he could hit the thing with his bat it took a large bite out of his leg. But then Sam and I were on the thing with our bats. The thing took a blow to its head (well, the general area of where I thought its head was) and turned from Joe toward me as Sam connected with his bat. Those two blows only seemed to agitate the beast. But fear being a great motivator Sam and I took turns smacking it like it was a railroad spike. Joe was on the ground wrapping his shirt around his leg so he wasnít much help. But between Sam and me, we beat the critter into a pile of dead flesh.

Once we were sure it was dead, Sam and I collapsed on the ground next to Joe. It took all our strength to dispatch the thing and now we just looked at it for the first time. I had never (I thought) saw anything like that before. Then I squinted my eyes as I looked at it and it came to me, this was a black fly - the biggest and nastiest I had ever heard of but never the less. I left Sam to guard the carcass and went and called an ambulance for Joe all the time my head spinning. While we were waiting for the ambulance, I went in the house and brought out a bathroom scale to weigh the thing - 42lbs! Good God! Who would believe such a thing existed. But we knew there were things in these wilderness woods that no one had seen.

It must have been the shock of the encounter because the three of us got to talking and laughing about the whole thing and started wondering what black fly would taste like. Sam took out his knife and cut steaks out of the bug. We realized that we had, out of necessity, beaten the bug into a pulp just to keep it from getting us and now had cut it into steaks so there was no body for proof of its existence. So with nothing else to do we fired up the grill and threw the steaks on. The "meat" took a long time to cook (it was very bloody) but in the end it got done and we sat down to eat. What did it taste like? - Well, to be honest it tasted nothing like chicken.

Yes, I know it is hard to believe this story. Many will say that mountain folk are prone to exaggeration. I guess I have to admit I have exaggerated somewhat - the bug was only 10 lbs but it was real mean.
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