A couple posts ago I mentioned that one of the more entertaining things in Albania was watching bugs fry at the Taverna Tafaj once they got a bug zapper. Today I thought I’d talk about the Great Albanian Fly Massacre.
In Albania, I started out with a host family and then, for complicated reasons deserving of another post, ended up de facto homeless for a while and stayed a month here and there with a couple fellow expatriates and through part of winter with a fairly stern lady and her daughter and their other boarder before finally finding a place of my own.
Because I had a place, and despite it being a good walk from the center of Tirana, and because as I’ve mentioned before everyone had to come to Tirana for immunization shots and money, my apartment ended up as a kind of hostel for several friends.
However, because there was a large trash pit behind my apartment building, my apartment was also a tourist destination for large groups of Albanian flies. (Note: To any entomologists out there: I know that’s not their real name; no, I don’t know what their real name really was; shut up.)
One summer, my friends Nancy and Eddie were in town for business and/or shots and we were basically hanging out in my place as we were either waiting for something to happen or were too hot and lazy to go do anything. Either way, we were suffering from the heat and humidity and the sudden infestation of flies.
The fly infestation was bad enough that we were constantly brushing them off our faces and away from our ears. Finally, one fly too many tried to settle on my face and I got tired of brushing them away and something deep inside snapped. I remember feeling a sort of frustrated rage (similar to what I now get dealing with computers) rising up. I rolled up an Albanian newspaper and started swatting flies and the walls, on the ceiling, on furniture, anywhere. My goal was to turn them into “good bugs” (As my mother is wont to say: the only good bug is a dead bug.) At first there were enough flies to turn two at once into good bugs.
After about five or six kills, the glare of crazed joy in my eyes and the fun I was having inspired Eddie to roll up a paper and join the massacre. Nancy didn’t join the killing but directed us to flies we hadn’t seen yet. We went off into other rooms to find fresh kills. I remember that Eddie also had a glare of crazed joy. I also seem to remember him getting more kills despite starting late, but that’s because he’s from Georgia where most insects were invented.
By the time the blood lust settled, the mangled corpses of over 80 flies decorated the walls of my apartment. It took a while to clean the mess up (meaning I didn’t clean the mess up for a while) but the cathartic release was well worth it.
Also, survivors must have got word out to other flies (everyone knows flies talk to each other) to avoid the crazy human because I never had a fly infestation that bad again. All I had was a few teenaged flies buzzing my apartment on a dare. Not that many made it out. (See, I told you something snapped.)