Terror flies by the dashboard light

By JAMIE PATTERSON,

I was not in the mood for the mockery sure to come my way as I walked by up my driveway, having abandoned my still-running vehicle down the road.

The lights were still on. The engine was still running. The radio was still blaring Elvis Presley.

And my dignity remained somewhere under the glow of the interior lights.

My exit, although dramatic, was ill-timed perhaps. But it was absolutely necessary.

A swarm of horseflies began diving around my face in the darkness. Other than the faint, green glow of my radio and dashboard, I felt alone and ambushed in the abyss. I abandoned the vehicle at the bottom of the driveway and made a run for it. 

My husband Jason shook his head in disgust when I told him to retrieve my vehicle, adding that I “wasn’t going to live like this.”

Born and raised a true Southerner, I am well accustomed to the horsefly. Those creatures have tortured my summer days since childhood.

But, is it just me, or do they seem exceptionally horrible this year? It seems to me that they have developed into something way beyond a mere pesky bug. They are demons, terror with wings. And they have an attitude this season.

Jason thinks I am overreacting. He is wrong of course. They are vicious creatures that will stop at nothing until they have spread horror throughout the land.

Case in point:

According to James Parton, who authored The Life of Thomas Jefferson, the wretched horsefly may have played a role in the creation of our very country. It was a hot July afternoon when the foundation of our Independence document was interrupted by…the horsefly.

“Near the hall in which the debates were then held was a livery-stable, from which swarms of flies came into the open windows and assailed the silk-stockinged legs of honorable members. Handkerchief in hand, they lashed the flies with such vigor as they could command on a July afternoon; but the annoyance became at length so extreme as to render them impatient of delay, and they made haste to bring the momentous business to a conclusion. "

I hope Jason finds that passage and gives it a good examination. Creating one of the most important documents in human history was put on hold because of the dreaded horsefly.

Another case in point:

Somewhere in the Brazilian jungles, there is a Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History researcher who is trapping and studying horseflies. Her research even calls them, “blood-thirsty predators.”

Blood sucking? Does that sound like a creature you should calmly react to when it’s closing in on your neck? Sure, mosquitoes are blood-sucking and annoying. But why does a horsefly bite feel like I need to be receiving a medal for bravery?

“Horsefly mouth parts contain two stabbing knife-like blades that lacerate the skin; this is why their bites hurt so,” the researcher said.

Stabbing? Knife-like blades?

I think I have proved my point. Horseflies are violent, calculating criminals. And I am not embarrassed that I live in fear of them daily during the summer months. No spray will help you. Your screams will not be heard.

It’s the year of the horsefly.

You can find me inside the safety of my home, away from the knife-wielding beasts. It is a battle I am not prepared to fight.

Good luck, and good night.