I saw a huge spider web with a horsefly trapped, unable to get away. I called my friends to come over and see it just above the kitchen window. I dragged a chair over so we could take turns looking at it through my magnifying glass.
Mom says the horseflies are terrible and tells me to plan on spending more time indoors. Dad says I have to toughen up and I should put together an army to fight them off—at least off our block so I can play ball with my friends.
We talked over my father’s suggestions and collected the biggest spiders we could find and put them in a pickle jar. We used shoelaces for reins and practiced riding them. One by one we dismounted and let the spiders build their strong webs.
Soon we had our playground covered with protective webs and we watched horsefly after horsefly assault the web trying to break through to get us kids only to be recoiled by our barrier and many were knocked unconscious so we fed them to the spiders and they only got bigger from eating these tender morsels.
After a few weeks of doing this mom said we had to stay outside and sleep in our sleeping bags because the spiders were too big and my father couldn’t do anything but call an exterminator. The next day a squadron of flies came over, partially blocking the sun by their numbers.
They flies suggested we work together to get rid of the spiders; the following morning we saddled up the flies and flew from web to web and held the magnifying glass so the sun would blitz the spiders. The acrid smell was brutal to us kids but it energized the flies.
We were a good team, us kids and the horseflies, but unfortunately, the flies didn’t keep their word.
Paul Beckman’s latest flash collection, Kiss Kiss (Truth Serum Press) was a finalist for the 2019/2020 Indie Book Awards. Some of his stories appeared in Spelk, Necessary Fiction, Litro, Pank, Playboy, Thrice Fiction, and The Lost Balloon. Paul curates the FBomb NY flash fiction reading series monthly in KGB’s Red Room.