By Keren Tran

Hamburger with a Side of Flies

The flies had not yet realized that the humans around them were extremely hostile, so I formulated a new strategy in later meals — violence.
By Isabel Wu

The fruit flies didn’t bother me at first. I remember first noticing them on the grapefruit I was grabbing for lunch but paid it no attention. I had been hitting the gym lately as well as attending therapy and was beginning to learn how to reframe things in a positive way, and so I did. I thought I could reframe the fruit flies in my food as extra protein (it is bulking season, you know), like a type of new-age pepper. Unfortunately, the reframing was weak in my mind, much to the disappointment of my therapist, and collapsed instantly the second day. I was prepared to handle the rats that Adams is notorious for, but I was not prepared for fruit flies, small pests that proliferate like bad ideas, and toxic culture.

Upon this realization, I understood that a pacifist approach would be insufficient. The flies had not yet realized that the humans around them were extremely hostile, so I formulated a new strategy in later meals — violence. If a fly lands, BAM, my hand comes down like the gavel of a sentence-happy judge. In my mind, each dead fly was one small, fly-sized step forward for mankind. Nonetheless, it started to feel like a battle for territory, a battle that I could not lose.

One day I came into the dining hall and saw a sorry soul with the unfortunate job of assessing the fruit fly situation kneeling down, with her face to the floor. She was wearing a headlamp staring at a bunch of dead flies on a paper towel — I’m sorry but how on earth is that going to fix this problem, I thought. I wondered what exactly she was looking for, perhaps in an epic staredown with the fly queen, the flies would back down.

“We will never forfeit to you,” says the dying fly queen on the paper towel. She is in pain and drowning from the amalgam of cleaning products and apple cider vinegar the staff seem to be using on her. “Soon enough this will be our land. It only took a week for us to force your little students out of our domain.” The singular fly voice becomes a cacophony of fly voices and staked to the ground is Bezelbub, the Lord of the Flies, looking menacingly back at the lady kneeling on the ground. I am gripped with an urge to yell and chant and circle around her head. If we cannot defeat the flies, we must join them.

Order up! The guy staffing the Adams grill gestures towards you with your food. You grab your burger and head over to the tables to sit down, flies darting right and left in your field of view. You pull out your chair and sit down to enjoy your meal. As you are eating, some flies begin to swarm around your head. As you lift the burger toward your mouth your jaw unhinges for the delicious patty. Before you can react, a fly lands on the meat, and you bite. You smile, feeling the fly dance inside your mouth. Looks like your burger comes with a side of flies for today.