We were playing cards when my sister Bev announced, “there’s a big black horse fly in your window,” referring to the bow window she was facing in the dining room where we were playing cards, and she was right. While not actually a horse fly, there was indeed a large black fly frantically buzzing against the window, trying in vain to reach the great outdoors just beyond its reach.

So I hurried into the kitchen, grabbed the flyswatter that hangs suspended on a hook on the side of the fridge, and in full Jack-the-giant-killer mode, advanced on the fly in question. Taking careful aim, I attacked ... and missed, whereupon the fly flew. No sooner had I sat back down than two flies appeared in the window and I proceeded, much to Bev’s amusement, to miss them both.

Minutes later, there they were again, still too dumb to look for an easier way out, and there I was again, still swinging and still missing while hoping against all odds that third time might finally be the charm.

“You’re hitting next to them,” she told me, and she was right. For some reason my radar was off kilter. The breeze from the flyswatter’s near miss was probably enough to send them sailing, which got me to thinking.

I began to suspect this poor aim/bad radar thing might also have something to do with my recent tendency to make so many mistakes while typing on my electronic devices. I had been blaming it on my fingertips being wide (although they aren’t really all that wide) and thought maybe they were just nicking keys near where I was meaning to hit.

However, after giving the matter even more thought, I began to suspect it might be more a lack of hand-eye coordination than a radar problem, so I began paying more attention.

Sure enough, there are times when my finger will hit the key next to where I want to go, even as I’m watching, and it is always to the right, as it also was when swatting at the flies. Interestingly enough, and lending further credence to the hand-eye thing, it doesn’t happen when I’m touch-typing with those same fingers and relying on muscle memory rather than visual clues.

I have no idea how long this problem with coordination has been going on, since I hadn’t previously even been aware of it, although I doubt it had been a longstanding thing or I would surely have noticed before now, which makes me wonder if it might perhaps be age-related, as so many other things seem to be. Or then again, it might be as simple as lack of attention to detail, although I still lean toward the hand-eye thing, whatever the basic cause might be.

But be that as it all may be, I have at least been upping my game, swatting-wise, lately. It seems like a whole new batch of houseflies must have recently hatched. Smallish flies all of the same size suddenly began appearing on my kitchen window and, not meaning to sound bloodthirsty, but I have been using them for target practice. They are young and nowhere near as wily as the older more experienced flies, so although they fly about wildly, I am still able to smack and flay with maniacal abandon, even chasing them down into crevices and corners until finally emerging victorious, albeit with a bit more cartoonish ineptitude than grace.

I never did see the two original big flies again, but last Tuesday we were playing cards here again when Bev, with a definite smile and perhaps even a snicker in her voice said, “There’s a fly on your ceiling.”

I quietly got up, picked the flyswatter off its hook, and slowly approached the target.


“She actually hit it!” my sister exclaimed, amazed, as the small fly lay on its back on the windowsill, dead as a doornail with all six legs sticking straight up in the air.

Rhea Bouchard Powers is a writer from Cumberland.

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