Drawing Flies

My wife and I were trying to find our way around this apartment complex.  There was a unit we wanted to look at.  We had the number, but we couldn’t figure out which building it was in.  A bright-eyed little boy appointed himself as our guide.  He waved his hand back at us, signaling for us to follow him.  He led us down a winding sidewalk, passing through a series of arches and doorways, always looking back to see if we were keeping up and making impatient little hops in place whenever we fell behind.

As we went along, I compared the number I’d written down on a scrap of paper to the numbers of the buildings we passed, and I began to figure out the layout of the complex, and I realized that the boy was leading us the wrong way.  There was another winding sidewalk just across the way from the one we were on and there was just a little plot of grass between them.  I caught up with the boy and pointed out that we could just cut across the grass and head the other direction on the other sidewalk to get to the building.  I could even see a shaft of sunlight breaking through and shining down on this other stretch of sidewalk as though it were especially provided to light our way.

The boy just shook his head and pointed along the same path that we had been traveling.  He said that this was the only way he knew.  He said that there would be seven doors to pass through and then the sidewalk would loop around and join up with the other sidewalk across the way and take us to where we wanted to go.  I tried to explain that we could get to the other sidewalk right now, that it was just over there, and we just had to cut across the grass.  It seemed like a needless detour to go all the way around.  I appealed to my wife on this, but she just shrugged and said, “Well this is the only way he knows.”

So we followed him.  Finally we came to the last of the seven doors.  This one led to the apartment’s laundry room.   Before he opened it, the boy shushed us with his finger, explaining that his mother was sleeping inside.  As he quietly slid the door open, I could see the figure of a woman with dark hair sitting in the shadows across the room.  There were an inordinate number of flies buzzing around this figure.  It’s mouth gaped open and showed that most of the teeth had fallen out.  One eye stared, still and dead, while the other festered with a swarm of maggots.

We had to pass through this laundry room to get the door on the other side and continue along the sidewalk.  It was the only way to go.  My wife crept forward, trying to be careful not to bump into the boy’s mother and knock any loose rotting parts off of her.  I kept my head down and my mouth shut tight.  I didn’t want to accidentally swallow any of the flies that had been feasting on the corpse.

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2 thoughts on “Drawing Flies

  1. An extraordinary dream, full of the kind of “dream-logic” (or is it “dream-psychology”?) that one doesn't question at the time, and a touch of Hitchcock's Psycho.

    The boy taking you this way, though it wasn't the direct route, so that he could show his dead mother to passing strangers, so that it would no longer be his secret, or problem. Or perhaps there was a weird pride involved . . .

    Which reminds me of this anecdote shared in a national newspaper.

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  2. Yeah, there's a lot of irony in that story. Guy think he's showing off how accepting or open-minded he is, but yet he's just using someone in an incredibly demeaning way.

    On the other hand, there's a part of me that wonders if some of that was a spin that the people telling the story put on it. I've known some very cynical people who can project the absolute worst motives onto others in any given situation. You know, the kind of person that goes, “Well he's clearly just showing off!”, and you realize that they're really telling you more about themselves than the other person. I guess it all depends on how much it all went down the way it's depicted. There's a fairly damning quote at the end, but the quote is within a quote, and it's not entirely clear that the person is quoting something that was actually said or just paraphrasing what he supposes the guy's thoughts were, as people sometimes do.

    Then there's the fact that guy is a political figure of some sort. I don't know if he's someone who's currently up for any kind of re-election over there, but I know that over here they love to “dig up dirt” on people during elections, and it can get extremely petty.

    Anyway, the whole thing is mess anyway you slice it, and someone, somewhere down the line was being incredibly insulting to this woman.

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