fruit flies … or russian spies?


by clairetattersfield

art by natasha gaffen

If you have ventured, well, anywhere, in Burlington in the past few months you might have encountered a biohazard scourge akin to the locusts of Exodus. They travel in packs and attack their prey with zeal. They don’t hold back, they take no prisoners, and they gradually suck the will to live from any who encounter them. It’s the fruit fly plight.

The fruit flies came hand in hand with the heat, which rolled in the first week of July. We experienced record-breaking swelter, typically associated with the sulfurous magma pits of hell. If you listen closely you can still hear the clopping of cloven hooves, and then the steady hum of the impending fruit fly swarm.

These miniscule enemies of the state are just that: tiny terrorists. They’ll swarm anything, from a single banana peel at the bottom of your trash can, to your mail, to the mop bucket at your place of work, all the way to the depths of your soul and your last will to live. I posit three theories for why they arrived with such fervor and force, because truly, the only reason they could have arrived with such velocity is if we did something to deserve them.

My first theory is that we college students have transcended a new level of human garbage, and the fruit flies have evolved to accommodate this. They know none of us are bathing as frequently as we should, they know the seniors that have eaten nothing but Annie’s mac and cheese for eight straight days (and they’re ready to hop on that disregarded cheese bowl). They’ve been in your trash and know your deepest darkest secrets. They saw that mustache bleach and the flies have made their assumptions. Fruit flies have always been attracted to hot garbage, and it seems like they came to the right place.

My second theory is that our own Exodus is freshly in motion. Pharaoh, Wellness Environment Director Jim Hudziak, holds our therapy dogs physically and emotionally hostage. It’s been a while since I’ve read the old testament, but I’m pretty sure they Winooski River is about to run with blood and eventually Rally Cat will part the waters of Lake Champlain to lead the pups to freedom. If we’re sticking with Biblical metaphors, we could easily substitute this with the “pestilence” portion of the four horseman of the apocalypse. The other horseman, of course, being Tucker (death), Crusade against the Wellness Environment (war), and bananas of the grundle that are somehow both ripe and still green (famine.)

My last theory is that these aren’t fruit flies at all, but spies masquerading as fruit flies. Other governments of the world have highly advanced technology, and our cybersecurity has the strength and defense capability of a roly poly. These bugs are tiny robots that gather intelligence on us and deliver is to our enemies. They’re on campus, they’re in our homes, they’re in our showers. They swipe information off of our computers faster than you swipe left on that ROTC kid who’s in your American Politics class. Because of his tiny spies, Putin now knows exactly who is watching porn on the third floor of the library (you know who you are), who has been compulsively ordering VHS copies of old Frasier episodes, and he finally found out that the “hot single in his area” was actually a UVM sophomore catfishing the Russian president in exchange for extravagant furs and nuclear launch codes.

My belief is that the truth lies somewhat within all three. It’s a Venn diagram and the fruit flies are dead in the middle of my groundbreaking theories. What I do know for sure is that if there is an outlier to this data, and the fruit flies don’t fall under any of these theories, they’ll probably be dead by the time fall starts. Or they’ll continue selling our personal information to the Russians. One or the other. 

Categories: claire tattersfield, natasha geffen, news


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