An Old Fly Swatter

Published by Victor Barr on

Tim heard a buzzing inside his dream, a small rush of air fluttered by his cheek. There it was, that incessant buzz again. He peeled open his eyes and saw the little fly swoop over his nose.

He tried to swat it with his hands, but they were held back by the bed sheets.

Damn fly, Tim thought, I’m going to get him

He rolled his aching body over and pushed away the sheets. He felt every one of his eighty-seven years on earth. He looked around his bedroom, the fly flew over his head, mocking him with its energy.

Where was that fly swatter again?

He could imagine Agatha chiding him, telling him not to worry about it, it’s only a fly anyway. But she was gone and now he was on his own for the first time in over sixty years.

Tim grabbed the clothes off the floor and pulled his shirt over his drooping shoulders. Next, he reached down and grabbed his pants. The damn fly took that moment to buzz his head.

The fly swatter is in the kitchen.

Tim stood up, stretched his tired limbs, left his mess of a bedroom, and wandered into the kitchen. He sensed a thousand eyes watching him as he grabbed the fly swatter off the hook on the wall.

Where was that fly?

The buzzing over his head drew his attention. There it was, just above the door. He was going to finish the little bastard once and for all.

“Wack!” Tim swung the fly swatter with all his might and missed. He brought it back up and saw the tattered remains of plastic dangling from the metal handle.

“It was an old fly swatter…” Tim muttered to himself.

“Buzzz,” his enemy flew right by Tim’s face as if laughing at him.

“Damn fly.”

There was nothing to do but go to the local grocery store and get a new fly swatter. He was determined to get the little bastard before he did anything else

“Wally World,” read the sign above the door, that sign pissed Tim off. He missed the old supermarket and its local owners. Now it was some corporate place filled with young punks.

There was one of the young punks now.

“Good morning, welcome to Wally World, how can I help you?” the kid smiled at him.

“It’s morning alright,” Tim frowned, Agatha was the one who did all the grocery shopping, God, he missed her… “I need a new fly swatter.”

“A fly what? Ummm, not sure sir, what are you looking for?” The kid shrugged.

“You know a fly swatter; it’s made for killing flies. Comes with a long handle… don’t tell me you don’t know what a fly swatter is.”

“Ohh, I remember, my grandparents used to have one hanging on a hook in their kitchen.” his face lit up, and he motioned Tim to follow.

This new fancy supermarket had everything. Items labeled organic this or natural that. He longed for the days when a grocery store was simply a place to go buy groceries.

They wandered to the very back of the store, and the kid rounded a corner and stopped. Tim was so overwhelmed he almost ran into him.

“I think they should be somewhere around here,”

“You should warn a fella when you’re going to stop like that,” Tim felt Agatha looking at him, frowning at him for being so grumpy.

It’s that damn fly’s fault.

“Where are the fly swatters kid?” Tim looked at the shelves and saw a wide array of new-fangled gadgets. There was a strange box labeled ‘Mouse trap,’ it didn’t look like any mouse trap he knew.

“Didn’t think you could build a better mouse trap anyway,” Tim grumbled

“Yes, sir it’s the latest and greatest. The mouse doesn’t feel a thing, no chance of them suffering.” The kid seemed excited by the stupid device.

“I don’t care if some rodent suffers, I just care about swatting the fly in my house.”

“Here it is – The Fly Zapper 1000. It’s battery-operated and made to kill all sorts of flying pests.  Twenty bucks.” He smiled and handed Tim the contraption.

It resembled a fly swatter – sort of.

“Hey kid, I don’t want no electronic gadgets. I just want a simple fly swatter. You know, a metal handle and a flat plastic top for squishing the little buggers.”

Why can’t things be simple anymore?

“Let’s see, you can get these strips of a sticky fly killer. You hang it from the ceiling and the fly gets caught in it and they die, you don’t have to lift a finger.”

“I want to lift a finger; I want to lift my entire hand and smack the little bugger into the next room!” Tim’s voice rose with his heart rate. Sorry, Agatha, he thought to himself.

He peered at the shelf and its wide assortment of bug sprays and traps. “I don’t see a fly swatter…”

“I’m not sure if we carry those anymore.”

“Don’t carry them? Do you expect me to use that stupid fly zapper for twenty bucks instead?” Tim couldn’t believe it. What has happened to the world, they weren’t even making fly swatters anymore?

“It has a money-back guarantee.”

“Money back guarantee?” Tim sighed, “do you have today’s newspaper?”

“Yes, it’s up by the till.”

“Ok, I’ll just do this the old-fashioned way and use a newspaper.” Tim shook his head and walked back up the aisle toward the entrance.

“I wish Agatha were still around,” Tim mumbled as he walked past all the strange things that lined the shelves.

When he got to the front of the store, he picked up the newspaper. He read the date on the top; it was exactly one year since Agatha died. One year already…

Oh, Agatha my love, I’m coming soon – I hope

Tim gripped the newspaper tight and walked out the door, he sighed as a single tear rolled down his cheek.


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