dear fly

It began on a sunny afternoon at our local city park along the scenic Little Wolf River. My dad had recently purchased a canoe and talked me into taking a short paddle with him down a stretch of the river to a park on the opposite end of town, a trip of maybe three miles. We hadn’t paddled far when the deer flies zeroed in on us and began to attack in twos and threes. We had a spray can of Off! with us and covered ourselves liberally with it, but whatever they used to make it out of back then, it didn’t work on deer flies. If anything, it made them bite us harder just to spite is for daring the attempt to repel them.

The further we went down the river, the more deer flies found us until at one point we sighted a swarm of them rising off the water’s surface and heading our way. They enveloped us like a scene from a cheesy nature-gone-wild horror flick and attacked us relentlessly. This is when I was reduced to a blubbering sack of bleeding meat. I dropped the paddle in the bottom of the canoe and spent most of the rest of the trip slapping myself silly, wailing and crying. When we took out at the downstream park, the bottom of the canoe under my seat was a carpet of dead, bloody deer flies.

I’m pretty sure we never paddled that particular stretch of the river again.

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