I think (hope) this was a result of having not taken out the kitchen trash, even though the trash is in a sealed stainless steel receptacle.
Appalled, I googled “kill the tiny flies” and rigged a number of DIY death traps, which included two oversized bowls filled with water, vinegar, sugar, and dishwashing liquid.
Other sites I consulted recommended putting out glasses of wine covered in saran wrap and poked with tiny holes. But I didn’t have any wine, and frankly, if I had, I would have downed it there and then, straight from the bottle, fruit flies be damned.
So I improvised. Now my apartment is littered with half-filled glasses of cooking sherry, Miss Hannigan-style, plus several large glass bowls filled with home-brewed fly poison, all of which contain a rather alarming number of insect corpses. Each morning, I rise and dump out various stinking receptacles filled with dead bugs. That’s just a thing I do now, upon waking.
The first morning I also found a whole colony of fruit flies in the kitchen sink, which I sprayed with Raid until I felt so faint I had to go have a lie-down.
Which is all bad enough, really, but at least that was a private sort of shame. Unfortunately, the whole sad sorry affair went live in the public sphere when I went to a party Friday night. There, as we drank beer in the kitchen, my friend A killed not one, but TWO, fruit flies that were ORBITING MY FUCKING HEAD, Pigpen-style.
After A had slain the second fly, overcome by a fit of despair and intense self-loathing, I confessed my situation to everyone at the party. The hostess, a kindly woman, assured me they were in fact her fruit flies, but who can say, really.
The amazing part is that this post thus far is a just a prelude to one of the best stories I’ve ever heard, as told by the kindly hostess, a woman who spent most of her twenties living in, like, the Omar Little district of B-more. I think it was an elaborate attempt at trying to make me feel better.
So this one time, in her kitchen, she found a foot-long rat gnawing at her spice rack. (I love the idea that the rats of Baltimore are like giant gangster Ratatouilles, with the kinds of noses that can smell saffron buried beneath many millimeters of laboratory-grade glass.) Deeply shaken, my friend called her brother, confident he would murder this rat. Full of machismo, he made fun of her over the course of his 45-minute drive to her home—he on his cell phone, she barricaded in her bedroom with thick towels stuffed under her door.
Eventually, her brother arrived and let himself in to stalk the rat. His weapon of choice? A butcher knife.
At this point in the story, despite the fact that flies were circling my person as though I were a starving child, I just had to butt in. I mean, I would have to think for a long time about how I’d kill my own rat in that situation. Probably, I would bludgeon it, but in any case, I can tell you with complete confidence there would be no sharp objects involved. Judging from her brother’s choice of weapon, it seemed clear to me this fellow was not very serious about killing rats. He might as well have been killing a rat in a parody of a bad horror film.
“So what did your brother suppose he was going to do with that butcher knife?” I said. “Stab this giant rat to death?”
“Well, yes,” she replied. “But when he found the rat behind the spice rack, he dropped the knife and ran upstairs to my bedroom.”
Fortunately(?), her brother brought along some sort of varmint-eating dog who devoured the rat in the night.
Really, come on. Stab a rat with a butcher knife? I never.