few flies flew
(Two flies feeding on a rotten fish in an alley-way)
hey – take a break. no use gorging yourself
lay off it for a minute. let’s talk
well – let’s see…what do you think about Nietzche?
what’s that – some kind of cheese?
never mind. well, what about zen?
is that a fly?
zen says ‘oh uncompounded fly, no squashed doom awaits thee’
i like the sound of that. what does it mean?
it more or less means you won’t die because you don’t exist
a fly said that?
a zen fly
what was it on?
it was on a fast
well there you go
what do you think about while you’re flying around in circles all
where to land
and while you’re landed?
when to take off
do you think our brains are big enough?
big enough for what? we couldn’t bear the weight of anything
bigger could we?
i mean intelligence
that doesn’t weigh anything does it? anyway we seem to get along
alright with what we’ve got, don’t we? you know, flying around, finding food and all that
ever thought of doing anything different?
what do you mean?
oh i don’t know, instead of just buzzing about making a
nuisance of yourself
what do you do other than that?
i wrote something this morning
oh – where?
there – on the window
i don’t see anything
it’s invisible writing
what’s the point in that
i don’t want anyone to read it
then why write it?
i was bored
what does it say?
few flies flew
i like that – it’s a good title
it’s not a title
i still like it – it’s a good story
it’s not a story
it’s not a poem
what is it then?
have it your way. written anything else today?
on the skylight
that’s good – that’s really good. anything else?
on the light bulb
oh witty. more?
that other window
in the ointment
that’s a tragedy isn’t it?
it could be
is that all?
on the wall over there
walls have flies
yeah, i get it: walls have ears, walls have flies. nice one. you’re quite the scribbler aren’t you?
you’ve got funny looking eyes
is that so?
yeah, real funny looking. like marbles. were you born like that?
i was in a collision
uh-oh – fly swat?
as you see
yeah, i noticed that you fly a bit lopsided, – sometimes
upside down, and don’t seem to see where you’re going half the time
i only see half of things
which half is that?
the worst half
you’re a virtual cripple. no wonder you’re into the beer dregs
i hadn’t noticed
you don’t when you’re brain-damaged. what line are you from?
i don’t know. how about yourself?
my father was a horse-fly. my mother, i’m not sure, probably
that accounts for it
accounts for what?
the mean look you have
that’s my nature. you’re pretty small aren’t you?
you don’t have much weight to throw around
i don’t want to throw anything around
oh yeah? well, big and beefy with a ferocious voice and things
know you’re coming and get out of your way?
why want things to get out of your way?
it makes it easier to get what you want
you need to know what you want first
everything knows what it wants. it’s instinct, or something. you
know what you want – right?
come on – you know you do
i’ve forgotten my lines
you don’t have any lines
you mean there’s no script?
well what’s the plot?
we don’t know the plot
well what then?
you make it up as you go along
so there’s no real account of anything?
just your own account
how can that be relied upon?
what else is there?
i don’t like the sound of this. remind me of who i am
a common household fly. a carrier of germs
and how long do you think i’ve got?
it could be minutes – it could be less. on the other hand you
might be flying around in a frenzy for a thousand years. – who knows?
what about significance?
well the way i see it is, either everything is significant or
nothing is, – or, some things are, – some of the time
yeah – that’s it. listen, what’s the last thing you want to do
before you perish?
that’s a hard one –
go on, have a go: fly, feast, fornicate…
i don’t know
have a good laugh? encounter the god of flies?
ah, get away, go on, – proceed – proceed undeterred
proceed – undaunted, – undeciphered, – unhinged, – proceed
Bert was telling me about how ill he’s been. How he’d had parasites in his stomach. It was really interesting. He said the way you get them is that one of them – usually a male – crawls into an empty cup on the shelf one night and waits, and next morning when you’re drinking your tea it floats down the gullet hanging on to a tea leaf. Once in the stomach it gorges itself, eating round the clock, and in no time it’s the size of a large toad.
Then, one day, a wonderful thing happens. A female parasite comes down. Not clinging to a tea leaf but sitting elegantly on a corn flake that’s floating on a stream of fresh milk. And she looks alluring – even if she’s not that attractive – because the male’s been on his own down there, and anyway he’s not the cat’s whiskers himself – kind of an ugly blighter to tell the truth, what with his long tail and everything – so he’s not really expecting a whole lot out of life. So he’s all charm and flattery and says in parasite lingo something like Well hi there cute lips, what brings you to this neck of the woods? And she says something like Hallo there big boy, what’s cooking? And he, hearing a rumbling up above, cops a look up the old gullet and yells (just to frighten her) Lookout – there’s a pile of soup coming down! Jump up here quick. And she sort of hops up onto his knee – well the equivalent of a knee – and sits there looking cute with a You’re my hero look on her face, and they watch the soup come pouring down and it’s beef and barley – his favourite – and he’s in heaven.
Well now things get serious because it doesn’t take long before she’s almost as big as him, since he’s been letting her get all the choice bits so she can catch up. And then they start getting things organized and that means sorting food into different categories in separate heaps, because they’re particular creatures and they don’t like everything mixed together like pig’s swill. They make barriers with mashed potatoes and pizza crusts and such like to form holding tanks, and they keep the meat in one and the fish in another and vegetables in a third and liquids in another and that sort of thing. And with all this work to do they don’t often have time to sit down and have a proper meal together but just gulp stuff down while they’re working. Then the host’s mealtimes are something else – a real hectic time for those below. It all starts coming down, piles of it, big bits, small bits, chewed and unchewed, huge hunks of pizza swallowed whole, streams of soup, great dollops of pudding, sardines that look as if they’re still alive, bacon and bread and pineapple and crabs legs, custard, meat balls and noodles all coming down together like some hellish stew, not in order at intervals, just a whole mess washed down by a tidal wave of gurgling liquid – tomato juice beer coffee wine milk pop – you name it – all mixed together.
Well the male gets himself in a right state and he’s calling out instructions to his partner, something like:
What’s that liver doing floating in orange juice? Grab it out of there! Look – the fruit’s got gravy on it! Steer that macaroni cheese over to the side there. We’re going to need another holding tank – here, use that crust of bread to start a wall.
Things go on like this for some time, then one day the inevitable happens.
Guess what, she says. And he says: You’re hungry. Guess again, she says. And he says: Err, you had a weird dream last night that you had parasites. No, she says, I’ve got a bun in the oven. He stares at her: You’re not serious, he says. At a time like this! How are we going to cope? Look at the size of you – there’s no room for another one. The size of me, she says, what about you? Don’t change the subject, he says. Well, she says, let’s not start arguing. We’ll just have to move. You know that’s impossible, he says, we’re too big to get out. And she says: Well, we’ll just have to manage somehow – we could go on a diet.
So they go on a diet but that just makes them depressed and so they drop the diet and start eating more than ever, and before long there are three of them and the little one is eating more than the other two together, and there are squabbles over who gets what and how much.
And meanwhile poor old Bert is suffering something awful: no energy, always tired, anemic, swollen stomach, cramps, indigestion, dizzy spells, belly aches, and eating, eating, eating, – he’s become a bit like a parasite himself, he just can’t stop eating.
He does the rounds of the healers, takes all the tests and tries all the cures, but nothing works. The parasites know how to avoid the medicines – they smell the stuff coming down, clear a path and just flush it right through.
There’s only one way of getting rid of them and that is to go on a fast. They’ve got to be starved into submission, then they waste away, shrink back to the little things they used to be and having become miserable and afraid of starving to death, one day they’ll say Let’s clear out, and leave through the back passage. But Bert won’t even consider it – he’s too fond of his grub – so things simply get worse.
At last they’ve grown so big that they can’t move in there.
They just lie there wedged together with their mouths wide open taking it in turns to gulp down whatever’s coming through the opening. By this time Bert’s in hospital on the serious list. The doctors decide to slice him open to have a proper look in the stomach. Three parasites as big as rabbits are lying there, mouths open. They drag them out and break their necks. And that’s the end of it.
Fred’s dead. Died last week. A flea got in his ear – bored a hole through to his brain. That’s how the rain got in. Water in the brain. It’s called ‘rain brain’.
Just imagine it – all that water sloshing about in there, it would make you seasick. Your thoughts start floating around and some of them sink, cause they can’t all swim you know, and the heavy ones go down like lead weights, but even the good swimmers can’t be swimming about forever, can they? So they cling to the sides waiting for the water to go down, but it don’t.
So you’ve got all these sopping wet thoughts and you’d like to wring them out and hang them up to dry – air your thoughts, you know – but that’s not all, cause in with the rainwater come little germs, and once in the warm old brain they mate with one another – they’re lusty little sods – and before you can say Jack Robinson you’ve got a population of parasites living there, and then a speeded-up evolution happens, and next thing you know there’s teeny-weeny fishes swimming about, and what are they feeding on? You’ve got it – on thoughts.
Yes, they’re eating your thoughts up one by one. And they’re especially fond of fishy thoughts, so if you have a thought about going fishing or having fish for supper, most likely that thought will no sooner be thought than it’s gobbled up by some hungry, upset little fish, and you never get to go fishing or have that fish supper.
And them fish, they like the fresh thoughts just as we like fresh fish, and they’re not keen on old thoughts, memories and such like. No, they hang about waiting for new thoughts to come out, and sometimes they’re eating one end of a thought while you’re thinking the other end, and that’s when you get stuck and forget what you were saying, and go “Where the hell was I? – oh never mind, it’ll come back later.” Well, it won’t.
And the new thoughts, they see what’s coming and some of them try to get back where they came from, try to get unthought – so to speak. Then there’s them that swim for it and try to get into memory before they’re caught.
It’s just awful. It’s chaos. The poor old brain doesn’t know whether it’s coming or going. I tell you it’s a hell of a thing to live with.
And that bleedin’ little flea, the cause of it all, is perched on a dry bit of brain having the time of it’s life, sucking it dry. Wouldn’t you just love to reach in there and swat it? Course you know how hard it is to kill a flea…you’d have to swat the whole flippin’ brain to get it, and that’s more than likely what old Fred did, and more than likely too the friggin flea saw it coming and slipped out the way it came in, – ‘cause when they did the autopsy they found the water and the little fishes and drowned thoughts and everything, but no sign of the flea, no sign at all. – Aint that just the worst pits you ever heard of? Eh?