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The Small Story of a Fruit Fly

They are always flying around our house. Near the fruit bowls, or at the dining room table, and although they’re nowhere near as much a nuisance as the big flies, which make that horrendous buzzing noise and slam themselves into the windows with such force you can hear a small bump, they are still irritating.

On this particular evening everybody else had finished eating supper and I was the last person still seated, slowly enjoying my dessert and milk.

As I was staring off into space and thinking about whatever came to mind, I saw a little black shape flying towards my face—one of those stupid fruit flies!

I jerked back and swatted it away.
Did I hit it? They usually move too fast and avoid my hand. But I don’t see it flying around, so where did it fall?

Oh. Great. Into my milk cup.
Not into the actual milk, but into the froths just above the liquid. I could tell it was desperate to get out, but the inside of cup was so slippery it wasn’t making much progress.

Frantically (because the last thing I wanted was a fly floating in my milk) I blew a big gust of air, in the hopes that it would carry the fruit fly up and out of the cup.

Sadly, it did just the opposite: the little fly was blown into the milk and floated on top of it, helpless.

I grimaced and looked around the table. What could I use to get him out, now that I had just made the situation worse? Now not only was the thing pitifully trapped in the sea of milk, I had also kind of lost my thirst, seeing the fly floating in my drink.

Oh! I could use my fork—I had finished eating with it. I picked it up and dipped it into the milk, and to my surprise, because I honestly didn’t think it would work, the little fruit fly appeared on one of the tines, with its soaking-wet wings plastered to the utensil. (I would like to think it saw the fork descending into the cup and grabbed a hold with its tiny legs, thinking it a prospect of escape, but I guess that’s imagination.)
I set the fork down on my paper plate and studied the fly. It was motionless.

Did those two seconds of being in milk kill it? I felt a pang of remorse; I didn’t want it to die.

I turned back to my cookies, nibbled on a few bites, and peered at it again. It was moving—the fly’s tiny legs were thrashing in the air! A bunch of questions jumped into my mind. I wondered if that’s what its legs did when it flew, and if so, was it trying to fly? I watched, intrigued.

As I studied it, I even found his eye, and tried to look him in the eyes, you know, for reassurance—but it was such a small little space you couldn’t really tell it was an eye.

After a few moments of watching its thin, wispy legs move about, I decided to try and help it into a more comfortable position.
Because, right now, it was upside down in midair on one of the tines on the fork, held only in place by its soaking wings.

I carefully turned the fork over. Now the fly was right-way up, but it was still moving its legs, suspended in air by its wings stuck to the fork. I took the corner of a plastic baggy nearby and carefully separated the wings from the wetness of the fork. The fruit fly fell and landed on the plate below, on its back.

Feeling sorry for the tiny guy, I held the baggy over him and the little fly grabbed a hold. I turned him over and he began to walk on those spindly, thread-like legs across my plate and onto the plastic baggy which I had put aside after he was upright.

Multiple times he fell over, but I always helped him up, and I watched his determined journey up the slanted plastic mountain with something like awe.

A few times, his wing, (which was still wet) got stuck to the plastic, and he tugged and tugged and I suddenly got afraid he would rip his wing off, so I helped him and he kept climbing. Higher and higher he climbed up the mountain-shaped plastic baggy.

And he made it to the top.

That is how I left him, perched triumphantly on the top of his little mountain, where presumably he would wait until his wings dried and he would fly again.


A few hours later, when I turned on the light and checked his mountain, he was nowhere to be seen. I smiled a little to myself as I walked out of the room, with thoughts of a triumphant, happy little fruit fly occupying my thoughts.



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