You Must Believe You Can Catch The Fly

My dog, Lemmy, is obsessed with flies.

It’s beautiful these days in Northern Virginia, where Lemmy resides. To that end, I find myself working from our balcony and leaving the door open. I enjoy the fresh air. And the constant roar of Reagan National Airport reminds me of a simpler time when great winged beasts filled the skies with hellfire and fury. Sometimes, I simultaneously play the fife and lute to augment the ambiance. It isn’t easy, but that’s the level of authenticity I bring to imaginary scenarios.

Having the door open allows all creatures great and small to wander in and out as they please. Well, “all creatures” with either wings or access to the elevator.

This is a tremendous boon to Lemmy, who enjoys elevator access and the added twelve square feet of roaming acreage. “The favorite spot of the North American canis lupus familiaris is ‘on the other side of that door,’” said Sir David Attenborough, probably.

And it’s a great day for the random winged insect who ascends six stories to gain entry into the climate-controlled, neatly-appointed space that is Lemmy’s home.

I’m not really sure what Lemmy thinks a fly is. An alien? An exceedingly small flying squirrel? Whatever they are, Dingus chases them relentlessly, whining and jumping onto furniture for a better angle from which to continue whining at them. Every so often, he comes running outside to hide behind me, trembling. I’m assuming the fly swooped on him. Or maybe it showed him a crudely drawn picture of a fly throwing a dog off the balcony.

The Zen master in repose, contemplating the nature of pursuit

A few seconds will pass, and Li’l Bubs will muster the courage to launch another sortie against the insect intruder. I’ll continue typing, coldly oblivious to the war Lemmy is waging on my behalf. The click-click-click of his claws occasionally breaks through my state of workflow, only to be drowned out by the next departing Southwest Airlines jet.

To my knowledge, he’s never actually caught a fly. Or a squirrel, a bird, or a Southwest Airlines jet. He also has never caught a ball, a frisbee, or a treat. Catching isn’t Lem Dog’s forte; chasing is his bag. He’s part foxhound, after all. They’re hunting dogs, not getting dogs.

Having expended 25% of its lifespan taunting one particular dog, the fly has seemingly retired to the elevated safety of a curtain rod. Lemmy has curled up in the back of his mama’s closet, dreaming the impossible dream of someday vanquishing his nemesis.

And I’ve returned to my quixotic quest to translate absurdity into words on a page. It’s a hunt that excites, confuses, and scares me. It rarely results in a catch, yet I can’t stop chasing it.

Perhaps I’m more of a hunting writer than a getting writer.


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Want to read more stories like this one? Try Observe The Dog Biting Your Child, If You’ll Excuse Me, I Gotta See A Man About A Dog, or Fairness Only Works In One Direction (For Republicans And Dogs).

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