Written by Jonathan Wojcik


   I guess I spoke too soon about our Maryland trip going flawlessly; typical of my last thirty years of experience as an organism, I was unable to enjoy more than zero public places without contracting one of the world's many varieties of rhinovirus, which my immune system has roughly equal chances of exterminating in a couple more days or DNA-digivolving into Influenzamon for the next two or three weeks to come.

"Who left all this fun here!? We'll take care of that!"

   Fortunately, I chanced upon a brand new, year-round party and costume store, Costume Cabaret, that must have moved into the "Festival of Bel Air" shopping plaza not long after my last visit, the single most desirable category of retail establishment to anyone craving their next Halloween fix, and while I was already acquainted with most of the other Holiday horrors they were stocking, the contents of one large, unmarked box immediately caught my eye:

   Big. Plastic. Flies. Big, plastic flies of a model I was completely unfamiliar with, which is an experience I haven't had in what has to be at least ten, maybe even fifteen years. Oh yes. I can clearly remember my last new variety of big, plastic fly. Those were packaged as "buzzin' bugs," they were only a dollar each and had a device inside to make them vibrate when you pressed their button. Mine were gradually faded by too much sun exposure, and I've never seen them for sale again. I was such a fool! But they looked so good in the back window of a car!

   These flies were more like giant versions of standard, bite-sized rubber bugs; legs stuck at odd angles, hollow undercarriage, crude paint job like some sort of authentic 1950's dime-store product. Exquisite. Trouble was, they didn't have a price on them. For such heft and quality, I guessed somewhere between five and eight dollars, so I grabbed three of them and took them up front for a price check with the really nice owner lady who had a tiny, adorable puppy following her around.

I figured, worst case scenario, two or three might run me $20. I was prepared for that.

"Oh" she says. "Those were left over from last year."

"Dollar ninety-nine. We're getting rid of them."

   If I'd displayed my true level of excitement at that statement, someone may have pondered, for at least a moment, how quickly the police could arrive. Having no concept of thriftiness, I figured if I may as well spend what I was already prepared to spend, and I bought ten.

   After all, if I'd never seen these particular flies before, who's to say I'll ever see them again? What if I lost some in a fire? What if someone burglarized them?? That mouth-watering tomato-red they're painted in would be hard for anybody to resist, and the simple, scientifically nonsensical green dots for eyes just plead to be taken home.

  The opportunity to stock up on a supply of big, plastic flies only comes along so many times in one man's life, and I can assure you every one of them is going to find a place in said life. If I had a hundred more, I'd find a hundred more places for them. The dashboard, the refrigerator, the shower, the big blue carcass on the ceiling that never seems to decompose any further, the possibilities are endless. There is never any such thing as the wrong place for a big, plastic fly.

   Here's what exactly ten of these look like on a passenger seat. I really couldn't fully appreciate what a joyful, magical thing I'd found until they were all in one pile, taking up even more space than the most pleasantly large ass. These are enough to melt down into a plastic child.

Honestly, I can think of nothing better to lift my spirits than either any ten flies or at least one plastic one. Two birds with one stone.

   As if things couldn't possibly get any better than that, the same store had a single, smaller, more realistic plastic fly lying around that I've only seen for sale online, at less than optimum prices. Having another nine of these might have been cool too, but I mustn't get greedy. I am already wealthier in plastic flies than most common folk dare dream.

   And, as a final bonus, there was this roughly life-sized, disappointed looking cicada. Maybe he feels left out, because I spent so much time talking about flies, and cicadas aren't flies at all, but true bugs, like aphids and treehoppers!