by Stu Russell
Towards the middle of summer, the days were longer and seemed to last forever. The heat caused the air above the rice paddies to shimmer and the odor of the human excrement used to fertilize the crops became overpowering. We had heard all the old stories and had exhausted the various versions of what would happen when and if we ever went home. New avenues of entertainment would have to be traveled if laughter was to be found in our room. On one such day an idea intrigued me. I gathered the necessary implements and began to stalk my prey... I was after the elusive fly, the national bird of North Korea.
I went over to the window and waited. In my right hand was a match box cover and in the left was the box itself. In that Korea has many flies, my wait was short indeed. Once a large specimen was found, I moved slowly placing the box over him. Once this was accomplished I slowly closed the box until it contained one large fly, and from the sounds of things, it was a very angry fly. So far my actions had raised little curiosity among my roommates.
I returned to the table with my towel. As I pulled a single thread from the towel, Crowe leaned forward to see what I was doing. I tied a small loop on one end and inserted the other end into the eye of my needle. I drew the string through and was able to use the needle to close the loop. I was now ready for assistance, and since Crowe had exhibited interest, I asked him to slowly open the box until the fly stuck his head out. I closed my miniature lasso on the fly, and as soon as it was secure, Brad opened the box to release the fly. He came out fighting and made a run for the window. The fly dashed to the end of the string and hung, suspended in mid air, as he reached the end of his line. In a matter of minutes five of us were participating in the new indoor sport of fly flying. The other three looked on as if we had lost our minds. As with all thing, this too became boring, so we decided to test our new found pets on their ability to carry weight and found that the average fly could carry four feet of string. This allowed them to fly horizontally at about a height of five feet off the floor. We were never able to determine endurance because someone lit a string on fire to ascertain the fly's reaction. As the string got shorter, the fly flew higher and faster, until the fly itself was consumed and fell to the floor smoking, not unlike a World War I Spad.
Fly flying was a very short lived activity. It spread to other rooms, but once PP had built a harness for a wasp and flew one at afternoon exercise, all interest was lost. Between not wanting to get caught doing something bizarre even by our own standards and relating more to the fly than was healthy, we put a quick end to this sport. Although there was some lively discussion about rat racing, nothing came of it because Doc warned us about rabies and that it was one of the diseases that corn starch and hot soaks could not cure.
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