Where did the giant fly come from? We just don’t know.
What we do know is that reaction to the fly varied among officials, from a strong desire to swat it, to a demand that we nurture and study the insect. A call for manure went out and many small farmers responded.
Government officials googled “housefly experts” and called in the nation’s top extermination professionals. The State Department reached out to a number of sub-Saharan African counties where fly knowledge is both broad and deep.
A complete media circus geared up. Entomologists identified the fly as a “him” (or a “he”). Someone on the Internet named him Buzzy and the name stuck. A line of Buzzy apparel appeared. The Macy’s parade included a Buzzy balloon, which some young children misidentified as the real thing. Intellectual property and copyright struggles broke out.
The celebrity kerfluffle masked a true human, or [I]Musca domestica[/I], or human/[I]Musca[/I] drama. Dr. Lizbeth Pile, placed in charge of the bug, postponed her wedding to get a new lab and dunghill set up.
“Sooner or later, you’re going to have to choose between insects and humans,” said her fiancee, Dr. Lumbert Stuck, an expert on ants.
“You should talk,” said Dr. Pile. “If a giant [I]Eciton burchellii[/I] showed up today, you’d be building an ant farm and our nuptials could go hang.”
“Just the same, I’m warning you,” Dr. Stuck said.
Dr. Pile referred to Buzzy as her “baby.” Military talk of strikes on the bug drove her to distraction. In her view, insects represented the future of the planet. Many of her best friends, now including Buzzy, were bugs.
Buzzy’s special status was challenged by the appearance of two more flies. Both were huge, although only half the size of Buzzy. One of these flies, dubbed Hank, belonged to a farmer in Iowa, who discovered him out standing in his field. The other, Betty, was owned by the city of Tallahatchie, as she lived at the town dump. Quick book, magazine, and TV movies deals were done. However, the Hollywood careers of the pests were cut short when studios discovered that mocap animated versions of the duo were cheaper and easier to use, with regular houseflies wired up for the motion capture process. The regular houseflies did not have annoying managers. Rumors circulated, suggesting that the two new giant flies were actually from south of the border. Of course, neither of them had papers.
There was talk of setting up some sort of cage match between Hank and Betty, or perhaps a reality date. Plans were thrown into confusion by the advent of Grouchy, Arnold, and Iris, three flies almost as large as Buzzy. Jealousies began to develop between regions of the country.
“I warned you,” Dr. Stuck said to his potential bride. “Folks don’t realize it yet, but if something isn’t done, humanity will be wiped out within a year or two.”
Lizbeth stared at him.
“Do you mean what I think you mean?” she said.
“That’s right. There is only one person with enough knowledge of houseflies to develop a poison that can affect these gigantic specimens.”
“Poison the bugs that I love?”
“You have to choose, Lizbeth, between me (and the rest of humanity), and Buzzy. Otherwise, soon, nobody will be able to use the bathroom in peace, ever again.”
Dr. Pile dithered. She procrastinated. Perhaps her fiancee was wrong. Perhaps these humongous bugs were a passing fad, like the Kardashians.
Then, Buzzy died, apparently of old age. The nation was thrown into a state of shock and mourning. Dr. Pile sat out on Buzzy’s dungpile for hours, inconsolable.
Distraction arrived in the form of twenty giant bottle flies. However, interest in these iridescent critters wore off in less than twenty-four hours.
The nation was prepared to move on. The appearance of hundreds of new “big” flies caused talk of a mass-extermination program. Handheld spray cans were useless. Green advocates began a search for giant frogs and lizards – anything to control the giant-fly population. Flypaper companies long moribund stirred and returned to production.
The first giant horsefly diverted folks for a while, but after it bit and killed the beloved racehorse stud Diva Pleaser, a mob tarred and feathered it. They would have lynched it but horseflies don’t have necks.
“This is it,” Dr. Stuck said. “I have a lab up above the snow line. You can work there in peace, Darling. Or we can turn the world over to your precious [I]Muscas[/I]. Fly with me to Vegas tonight. We’ll buzz over and marry, and then zig zag back to the lab. After you wash off that dung, of course.”
Dr. Pile stood with tears running down her face, little baby flies walking to and fro over the exposed areas of her dermis.
“It’s [I]Sophie’s Choice[/I] all over again,” she said. “What kind of a world do we live in, where you have to choose between your beloved man and your beloved houseflies?”