COLUMN: I once saw a lad punch a fly


As soon as the weather gets warm, we start having problems in the pub with barflies, they’re only tiny lads, bigger than a midge but smaller than a mosquito, they don’t bite or anything but they buzz around and fly up your nose every now and then for the craic. We’ve got one of those blue electric yokes behind the bar that zap them and they drop, but after one or two of them kicked the bucket the rest of them seemed to cop on and they all look to be avoiding the shiny blue light now.

Anyway, I was standing behind the bar one day and this boyo was bopping about the spot, weaving in and out between the taps and having an all-round good time. He was a bit bigger than the normal lads you’d see flying about, not as big as a house fly, but big enough to get on your nerves like, he must’ve eaten his crusts when he was a young lad to have gotten so big, there might have been hairs on his chest too but I never thought to look.

So, this strapping young barfly was starting to annoy a few of the regulars. They’d come in for a quiet pint after a hard day’s work, only to see the Arnold Schwarzenegger of the Drosophila melanogaster community disrupting the normal run of things. One of the customers took a proper disliking to Arnie though. Soon as he spotted him flying around, he had it in for him. “I’m gonna get you” he goes, the fly obviously understood what he was saying and decided he’d try and make this man’s evening a misery, he kept flying in and out of his personal space, taunting him, playing his own rendition of cat and mouse, poor fella didn’t know who he was messing with.

Watching this pintman hunt his prey was a thing of beauty lads. It was like watching a cat stalking a mouse, waiting patiently in the long grass, as little Jerry creeps closer and closer, unaware of the danger that lurks behind that blade of grass over yonder, closer and closer he gets, until he steps within range and Tom pounces, bringing a swift end to Jerry, and their time as a comedic duo on the telly. Obviously, there was no grass or cat in the pub, and if there was mice I wouldn’t tell you because the health and safety inspector would shut us down and I’d be broke, but watching this man follow that fly with such patience made me feel as though David Attenborough should have narrated the entire scene.

So little Arnold kept pushing his luck, flying nearer and nearer to our man in the corner each time, only to dart back out of range at what seemed like the last second. Eventually though, Arnie started to tire, he landed on the table in front of another, lesser hunter, but jumped out of the way just before the palm of a hand left him flattened. A narrow escape. Our hunter’s eyes never left him however, and followed him patiently, his pint of Guinness remained untouched and unloved on the counter, desperately begging for this ordeal to end, so that it may fulfil its duty of soothing a hardworking man’s tired belly. Finally, at long last, he spotted his moment, Arnold meandered too close to our protagonist, and in two swift motions, the palm of a hand batted him towards the wall, and a right-hook that would make the most diligent of boxers envious, ended him.

That young barfly flew too close to the sun, but he flew like no fly had ever flown before him, and none will ever again.
-Daniel Potter