Shoo Fly Don't Bother Me


Steven Kling wanted more than anything else to be a published novelist. And he knew that given the chance he could sell just as many horror stories as that other Stephen-the one who lived in Derry, Maine.

The other Stephen had an edge, Steven admitted. Gee-whillakers, stories just fell into the guy's lap from all the weird inhabits who haunted Derry. Steven Kling lived in the most uninteresting of all uninteresting places—Overland Park, Kansas. It was the most homogenized place Steven could imagine-that is, if he could imagine anything from his house that looked like thousands of others that dotted the city's monotonous landscape. What Steven Kling wouldn't have given for one odd thing, one little monster that would terrorize the area, but not too frightening—Steven might have nightmares! A giant worm would be nice! Maybe a werewolf who only came out during a full moon-that way Steven would know when not to go outside. Steven was willing to provide the perspiration; he just couldn't seem to find the inspiration.

It happened that one day, Steven Kling was doing what he always did, sitting at a blank computer screen waiting for something to happen. He sat for perhaps two hours just staring-got up and had a piece of pie. He went back to his desk and stared some more. Nothing happened. Steven checked his controls. Spell-check-working. Thesaurus-installed. Delete and Insert commands worked fine.

Steven put his head down on the desk and wished like he had never wished before that an incredible tale would stream from his fingers onto the screen. Nothing. Well, nothing except a pesky bluebottle fly that just should not have been in Steven Kling's immaculate house. Steven got up from the desk and batted at it. The fly just ascended to the ceiling. Steven looked up at the fly and frowned. He could have sworn he heard laughter from the tiny insect.

Steven Kling left the house in his beige Toyota Corolla and headed for Lowe' s Hardware to buy a flyswatter. He picked the most unobtrusive one. The shelf didn't offer even one beige flyswatter. Steven paid for the swatter and returned home.

To his horror-yes horror-dear reader, the house was infested with Bluebottle flies when our Steven returned. He looked at the flyswatter in his hands and realized that he was hardly prepared for the massive insect invasion.

Steven batted a few of them senseless, but it seemed that for every fly Steven killed, two more appeared. It was time for the Big Guns.

Steven called the Orkin Man, who arrived in a garish green car with a giant logo on the side, and dressed like he was headed for Mars. Steven checked the front door to see if any of the neighbors were out to witness the horror of the strange man entering his house. Satisfied that the residents were all safely inside their homes, Steven closed the door and waited for the Orkin Man to get rid of his problem.

"Quite a swarm, feller," the man sprayed chemicals from a wand and smiled with tobacco stained teeth. "Whoo-doggies, these buggers must like you!'

Steven went upstairs and found a handkerchief to put over his mouth. The chemicals smelled odd, not like the normal smell of Steven's house. Well, sacrifices had to be made sometimes. At least he would be rid of the fly colony.

But when he went downstairs-Steven was certain that there were more flies-not less. It just didn't make sense. And where was the Orkin Man? Steven batted flies that were as thick as a dust storm and tried to make his way through the house. The man was nowhere on the first floor or the second. Steven opened the door to the basement. Flies swarmed into the room like air rushing into a vacuum.

Steven ran for the coat closet, grabbed his jacket, put it over his head, and forged his way back to the basement stairs. From beneath the jacket, he turned on the basement light and headed down the stairs to the unfinished basement. He could hear buzzing all around him as he concentrated on each step until he reached the bottom floor. It didn't take long for Steven to find the man—collapsed in the corner of the room. Steven jumped and stifled a scream, lest the neighbors hear the commotion and investigate. The Orkin man sat there as blue as a berry with the chemical pipe in his mouth.

Steven didn't know what to think-suicide? There was no other possible explanation. What was even more horrifying was that Steven might be blamed, if he called the police. Even if Steven were found innocent, there would be police cars with red lights, officers with guns, yellow police tape, and newspaper reporters. What would the neighbors think? Steven had no choice. He found some rope, tied it around the Orkin Man, pulled him up the stairs through the still-swarming flies, and dumped the body in his trunk along with his shovel. It wasn't easy finding a place to bury the body. Overland Park was definitely out. Steven drove south on Highway 69 until the landscaped finally resolved into large farm tracts. When Steven saw a dirt road that went off to the side, he headed east until he spotted a dense wood of Poplars, Cottonwoods, and Maples with a winding creek that promised soft soil.

Steven drove into the grove, parked, and dragged the body to a heavy thicket by the creek. He dug a shallow grave, dumped the body, covered it with leaves, and headed north to Overland Park. He was bone-tired when he finally pulled up to his house. How could he have forgotten? The Orkin Truck shouted "Murderer" from his driveway. Had anyone noticed? What was he to do?

Steven sighed, got into the truck, and searched for the keys. Nothing. Steven had a horrifying thought. The keys were obviously in the dead man's pocket-somewhere under the pile of leaves in southern Johnson County. Steven made it back to the grove in forty-eight minutes. Speeding might have resulted in a ticket. That would have drawn attention to Steven! No, he didn't hurry, but that didn't stop his heart from racing every mile of the way, until finally arrived again at the grove of trees. It took longer to find the spot the second time, but Steven finally located the leafy grave where the man was buried. He dug furiously through the damp earth, uncovered the body, and found the keys inside a buttoned pocket of the garish uniform.

It was almost Midnight when Steven deposited the truck in the dark parking lot adjacent to the Orkin Office, wiped it for prints, dropped the keys on the driver's mat, and walked home. Steven suffered from terrible nightmares that night. Horrible invasions of monster-sized flies whispered to him as Steven huddled under his bleached white sheets. The following morning, Steven had hardly slept a wink. But the chemicals must have worked. The bluebottle flies had vanished as quickly as they had appeared. Steven didn't care why the flies were gone; he just hoped that they were gone forever.

After a breakfast of tea and dry toast, Stephen went to his study and sat down at the computer. Steven stared at the blank screen. If he just had some inspiration, Steven knew that he could write a horror story that would fly off the shelves. If he just could live in a place like Derry.


Mount Olympus, Home of Zeus

"Never, again!" Zeus roared from his throne.

"Can't you just give him one more chance?" Melpomene, one of his nine daughters tickled Zeus' beard.

"Don't make me get out the lightning bolts!" Zeus shouted. "Help poor Steven Kling, she says—so what do I do, I send him a whole colony of Bluebottle Muses ."

The End