The Hearth and The Uncontrollable Fly Massacre

We have become murderers.

It didn’t begin consciously. I suppose it never does.

It happened at a slow and baleful pace.

Otherpeeps are collectively living in an old (and by old I do mean a squawking raven atop Edgar Allen Poe’s unruly hair) Victorian house purchased for the neat sum of four hundred smackaroos. It is not without it’s rustic charms, and I’m sure people pay thousands to build ritzy facsimiles, you know, good ol’ shabby chic-ness. But, here, if you want insulation, you have to put it up yourself. If there are holes, you plug ‘em up. And, if you’re cold, gosh darn it, you build yourself a fire.


But, oh yes, back to the murders in the heartland.



We didn’t realize it, but we had roommates. And, no, not some waylaid jam band that had built a home for themselves after their van broke down on the way from Omaha to Lincoln.

We found ourselves amidst those pesky critters that always park themselves at the wild-eyed end of civilization. Yup. Flies. They’re everywhere. And, they’ve been feasting on feed corn and hay, so they’re extra-wide guys, lumbering like linebackers cocky after an effortless victory over a much scrawnier visiting team. They wield their wide bellies and thick wings to and fro, doing fly by’s alongside your eardrums just to make you that much crazier. I think of Captain Willard on the last leg of his search being driven increasingly more mad, I assume because over-sized flies were perched on his shoulders buzzing: Kurtz, Kurtz, Kurtz. Or, the fly covered pig head from Lord of the Flies comes to mind as well. Simon thought it was the disembodied dead pig talking to him.

But, I know now… It was the EFFIN FLIES.



The flies subside, however, after the cornhusk sun dies down, only to give birth to a fiercer moon and a sky speckled with red stars and pulsing planets. When peering up through the clean Nebraska night air, the sky is filled with everything you never see if
you’re an east coast city dweller. And, everything is that much bigger. It’s as if the super-sized cows, super-sized farm equipment, and super-sized farm lands have taken their cues from the mammoth cosmos up above. It is a stunning sight to behold.

Also, during the night, we have been building a fire in the sitting area of the house. The room is decorated creatively with mismatched chairs and a giant deer rug, whose subject stares up with brown eyes the size of my head. He hates the flies, too. We cook communal meals with menu items such as collards and corn bread, pork tacos, chickpea salad with a yogurt dressing, chili and spaghetti, to name a few. Yes, in bed we shiver and sleep next to an insect morgue, but at least our bellies are full of delicious eats. The fire is a serious step-up in at home entertainment. The lights flicker and bounce with tiny lightning storms, and emit cool blue rays (and yes, I acknowledge the Blu-Ray DVD pun-to-be-had). The best thing about a fire(besides the heat) is that it allows a warm acceptance of silence to fill the room. Instead of giving our jaws the breaks they so need with the background of some Chuck Lorre sitcom or the Biggest Loser, we can let our minds drift off as the fire crackles. It’s as if the fire does the talking we don’t have to.


Needless to say, it’s been peaceful and reflective living, in spite of the flies and our murderous attitudes towards them. There’s something to be said for taking a step away from the neurotic living that is commonplace in the city. If the task of the day here is to cut wood to build a fire, things start to seem a bit less daunting, or even important for that matter. It doesn’t mean we’ve turned into listless farm drones, but there is less worry over the make of your pants, or why this person didn’t email you back immediately. The daily concerns are dealt with more simply, the joys less filtered. I like it, even if the drinking water here tastes like gravy.