It’s early, and I’m awake. Such unusual occurrences invariably have causes, and as I stare fuzzily around my room, the reason for my unhappy predicament slowly becomes clear to me. There is a faint buzzing noise coming from over there, somewhere by the curtain. An intruder, of the flying kind.
All thought of sleep is quickly forgotten. In a trice I’m on my feet. My family are prepared for these eventualities. We are in the possession of all manner of fly killing machinery (what honest household is not?) including several spray cans of RAID and a heavy duty fly swat for the more hands on assassin, but the equipment is all the way downstairs and I am not inclined to make the journey in my current state. In hindsight, of course, that would have been the sensible thing to do…
So I seize the book from my bedside table. It’s a big one, the kind with pictures. Perfect for the task at hand.
The intruder is wandering around the top of my bookshelf. I spot him lurking in between a couple of Enid Blyton books I can’t bring myself to throw away. My eyes narrow. It’s far too early for subtlety and so I hurl myself into the fray with reckless abandon, bearing down upon my foe and screaming with the thrill of battle.
My enemy takes to flight immediately. The chance for surprise lost, we become locked in a deadly struggle. For several minutes I pursue him violently about my room, swinging my book this way and that as I attempt to dislodge him from the air.
He dodges all of my flailings with contemptuous ease. I tire of the conflict before he does. Mid-swipe, the book falls through my sweaty hands. My foe returns to his perch on my bookshelf, wherefrom he surveys me, naked and bested, with an unkind mixture of scorn and derision in his many eyes.
I crawl into my bed. Things are looking desperate. I know I haven’t got the stomach for another fight. But I can’t back down. Otherwise he will perform a victory dance intermittently on my back for as long as I remain in bed. I reason that man and beast must be able to strike some sort of accord, such as sometimes exists in war between worthy opponents. I am the first to set conditions. ‘Take my bedroom, it’s yours,’ I cry. ‘Only refrain from making your landings upon me.’
The winged tormentor does not care to bandy words with me. Territorial trivialities are of no concern to him. As he understands things, the skies of my room are his domain. And if I am too weak to defend myself, then that’s shame, to be sure, but he does not see it as a reason not to use me as a resting place in between his aerial forays. As if to prove his point, he buzzes over to me and brushes my arm. Instinctively I beat him away, but he’s already gone. He’s got what he came for.
Utterly defeated, I curl up into a ball, trying to expose as little of my vulnerable flesh as possible to the mischievous hunter. ‘Maybe he will take pity on me,’ I think.
He doesn’t. For the next hour we play a game, he and I. The rules are simple. First he waits for me to fall asleep, at which point he lands on me, so as to startle me awake, before retreating to survey his handy work. He repeats the same procedure over and over again until I get up and go downstairs.
Why? Because why not? That’s why.
Well played Mr Fly. You’ve won this round. Now I’m going to get my RAID. If I were you, I wouldn’t be here when I get back.