Monday, June 25, 2007

The Roads Like Ice


There are dead fish flies hanging on my office window. They come every year for a few weeks, living for a day and breeding like mad before reaching the end of things. They don't bite you, but people hate them because of the smell their dead bodies make, the way they slicken the roads like ice. Having grown up in a place where the beasties are far less innocuous, I don't mind them so much. I can sit and watch them for many a minute, safe and protected behind glass as if seeing some spectacular movie play out. This fascination speaks to my high tolerance for repetition -- Fish Flies Are Out! Fish Flies Year One. Fish Flies Dance On Window.

When fish fly season comes every June, these insects cover the buildings, so much so that the houses appear to be moving. It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before, beautiful and repulsive, otherworldly. One night during the worst of it a couple of years ago, I went out to eat at a place that was covered with the creatures. Sitting at a table with my friends, we watched them cover the window to the point that you couldn't see out. They looked like moving blankets and they looked like snow, never like themselves except when one was alone. You have to look closely not to be deceived! I took some leftover food home from that night, toting my take-out container through the assault of their bodies which seemed like an eerie kind of storm. When I went to the fridge the next day, one lone fish fly sat on top of the Styrofoam box, clinging from the night before. I wanted the food, but I couldn’t bring myself to eat it. I had to throw the entire thing away, the valuable sullied by a creature that had made a strange journey to a cold place where it would die but remain intact, as if nothing had ever happened.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"It is not enough to conquer; one must know how to seduce." Voltaire
Cocktail Hour
Drinking music suggestion: Tattoo You Rolling Stones
Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Monday! Thanks to everyone for the incredibly kind and thoughtful comments on "Dead Girl, Live Boy." You guys (note the Detroit influence instead of the Texas y'all) are the very best!

16 comments:

miller580 said...

When I was nine or ten my Nana took us to Metro Beach. We walked across the boardwalk in the height of fish fly season. We walked in our cheap dime store 99 cent flip flops. With every step you could hear the pop, the crunch, of 10 or 15 fishflys. With every step you could feel each body squish under your foot. This noise, that feeling-- to this day causes shivers up my spine and into my brain.

I used to hate them for causing such a trauma. Or maybe I just used to hate. When I first started to drive I hung out with this group of high school stoners...we would all drive down Jefferson every chance we could. In my boat of a car, with the radio pounding out Guns and Roses, I would weave and fish tail, chanting die, die, die; killing as many as possible--only to gag and heave later at the smell as I rinsed their corpses out of the wheel wells.

In Florida, we don't have fish flies. We have love bugs. Love bugs, like fish flies live only a day or so. But their life is so much better, because the male and female attach themselves together and fly around their whole short life, procreating. It's sort of sad when you happen to come across a single love bug--flying around looking for its mate. But I guess a single love bug must be better than living life as a fish fly on Jefferson Ave.

Thanks for the memories.

Cheri said...

It's a great thing to write about, those damned fishflies. The climate is changing in this area, notably, going from winters full of snow to 70 degree Christmas Day's as if we were in Florida. Winter has been reduced to merely some sleet and a few freezing days, but even so, those fishflies come regardless. I haven't heard of them being anywhere else but maybe Ohio, and even there, there is no explanation for them.

JLCGULL said...

I love fish flies. Next to french fries, they're my favorite snack. Deeelish as a fish.

The Mad Hatter said...

One pill makes you larger and one pill makes you small....Hey, Michelle, lay off those small pills or JLCGULL might go after yooz!

Short bus and Special said...

You could go too accent schools!

rush limbaugh said...

I know what its like to have those damn flies buzzing about you constantly. Creepy little insects.

Like the DAs in Florida when they smell blood.

Inspector Clueso said...

Vot are dees skools, eh?

Huge Hefner said...

Jessica Biel on GQ. String bikini.

Oscar Winner said...

Biel will appear in a seemingly gay-related movie, at least from the flick's title.

the walking man said...

Those fish flys must have some use other than fish food but I don't think there is enough fish to feed off of them. Miller 580 lolololololol
we so bad in the city of Detroit even they don't come here, but I did have that same fish tailing experience on Jefferson or Harper one year when they were especially thick, one thing I know for sure if you go east of I-94 the closer you get to Jefferson the more you want to keep your mouth closed.

uhhhhhhhhhhhhh hey baby pretty please...hahahahaha that's as close as i ever got to seduction and it never worked either.

Peace

mark

realbigwings said...

Fabulous photo~

I've never heard of fish flies, but their name sure sounds gross enough.
It IS mesmerizing when insects coat surfaces, shimmering.

Tim said...

Very interesting. I've never heard of fish flies and I'm glad we don't have them in this part of Ohio. There are quite enough pesky insects here, thank you. :)

eric313 said...

Every Detroiter has a fish fly story. I once made a fish fly into an astronaut. He flew right into my bottle of Coke, just opened, one sip taken out, right before I could get the cap back to the lip of the bottle.

Launch time.

They also have the amazing ability to make one not want to leave their house. In that capacity, they are much like the nightly news.

Take care
my friend

Susan Miller said...

Never heard of 'em and glad of it.

Great pic.

eric313 said...

Yes, Susan knows of what she speaks. The pic is outstandingly adorable.

Charles Gramlich said...

Reminds me of Land of the Giants. I loved that show.