Shoo Fly

I’m not in prison, and I’m not losing it though if someone were to watch me killing flies this morning over a cup of coffee, they would likely grow uneasy. Is that middle-aged father losing it? Wow, he does not wear isolation well does he?

I’ve been outside each day, but I’m trusting myself less and less with each passing day. Leah and I pull each other back from the brink of panic with a little dark humor. We laugh about our new found obsession with disinfectant and washing clothing excessively while our 6-year old son goes on picking his nose whenever we sit down to read with him. Or how he opened the one mask we own and paraded it around the house, a resident nurse pretending to cough. Haha. The humor cuts; it is more surgical in its design to heal something hidden from view.

The changes in Chile have come swiftly. Group chats, exploding days ago with panic and speculation, have tapered into brief attempts to lighten the mood with a meme of gif. “How are you?” comes and goes from loved ones around the world. I have stayed largely silent preferring the human connections around the house to the technological field trips that lead nowhere fast, especially on social media where a fury of likes and hearts and hashtags leaves me exhausted.

Actual prisoners in Colombia lost it this week; 23 prisoners died at the hands of their guards. The fear Covid-19 in an overcrowded prison is on another level. I should be grateful for clean quarantine air and breezes that come each afternoon and flood into our house.

They come, however, with a consolation prize: black flies. They land on our food. They buzz around our heads. Occasionally they land on us, and we wonder if it might be time to shower. What day is it? Monday, right. That sounds about right.

“Hey, hand me the swatter!”

BZZZZZ pop. Another fly sizzles on the electric grate of a rechargable arbiter of fly death that our son wields and screams “ninja” when he annhilates another hairy germ transmitter. Our picket-fence prison is restless, and it is time to sweep up the flies this morning and mop the floors with apple-scented Lysol, so we can all rise to meet another glorious morning of pretending we are all normal. Mid-morning a truck will drive by with a loudspeaker blaring something in Spanish about staying inside. That’s when a little joke will be muttered and the first fly of the day will drift in to ninja town USA in Santiago, Chile.

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