The Short and Brutal Life of the Fruit Fly

Sylvia Shawcross

Now, there are only two types of people in the world and it has been this way since the second generation of humans existed: those who know history and those who don’t.

…And then there are those who pretend to know history. And those who know history only as it is written by the victors.

So, there are four types of people in the world.

And then there is the type that know history and just use it nefariously to sway those that don’t know history into repeating history, condemning us into learning nothing collectively until we all end up basically in a nuclear showdown on a dying planet without mustard for our hotdogs.

I forgot about them.

So there are five types of people in this ghastly world. Then there’s that sixth type—the ones who are trying to erase history altogether but let’s not go there.

The important part of this is that the people who know history are not having a very good time right now.

Most people who know history are cursed—haunted and stalked by their Vivid Imagination as if it were some character out of a Dostoyevsky novel.

Those-who-know crawl out of bed in the morning to face the misery of another day on Planet Earth. They do all those immediate prepper things, as most people do now, to face the onslaught of another daily apocalypse (aka known as working and/or looking for work and/or giving up on working and/or giving up looking for work and/or coming out of retirement to work or never retiring).

It’s always at this point that many, for just a few precious minutes, nostalgically reminisce about how once they used to take a shower, dress, eat, grab their wallet and race out the door to their full-time job with benefits in a peaceful country (at least in the western world).

It was such a simple routine. Sweet in its innocence really, like a newborn fruit fly on a rotten pomegranate that wafts in and out fluttering hopefully with the promise of a fulfilled life. A very short-lived life. If you’re a fruit fly.

Those-who-know, however, realize they are not fruit flies and that is a large part of the problem.

Now Those-who-know have to take pepper spray, covid passports, masks, cell phones, hand sanitizers, tablets, solar panels and those weird little off-the-grid fire starters that come in four colours just in case the car runs out of gas and you need a cup of tea on the side of the road with the homeless because you are them and they are you.

They do all this because they have ambitions that their lives will last longer than that of a fruit fly.

The important part being that no matter what Those-who-know do, their Vivid Imagination tags along. Their Vivid Imagination will just not let them lead the peaceful normal life of Those-who-don’t-know.

They can stand at the door and throw tirades of contradictory facts and statistics and propaganda at their Vivid Imagination to drive it away. They can play a buddhist in-the-moment chant thing on bongo drums just to remind their Vivid Imagination that history is gone and the future is not there to be gone yet and only the moment counts and things could always end up differently.

But alas, for some, no matter what they do, that damn thing keeps tagging along.

And it is particularly active and argumentative at lunch.

Those-who-don’t-know are baffled by Those-Who-Know. Utterly baffled. They might be enjoying their hotdog from Ernie’s pop-up stand but then they look over to see their friend in a glum paralysis staring at their untouched hotdog with tears dripping down their gaunt and pallid and somewhat mottled face.

And when they ask their friend what’s wrong, their friend will usually say really they didn’t want mustard.

For Those-who-don’t-know, this explanation is usually as far as it goes. Probably for good reason. Baffling but basically all they want to know. (Those-who-don’t-know tend not to be big on analyzing other people’s inner turmoil over hotdogs much. If they want to enjoy their hotdog. It’s an adaptation thing developed over generations really to preserve positive thinking. But that’s a whole other story…)

And for Those-who-know, this is about the only explanation they can offer because of censorship and stigmatization and name-calling and social ostracism and lawsuits and terrorism and conspiracy labels and stuff.

And sadly, none of it is their fault. Their Vivid Imagination keeps winning the arguments with them. Particularly when they realize there is possibly nothing imaginary about it at all.

Those-who-don’t-know fail to understand that their friend, gripped by their Vivid Imagination does not see mustard. And offering to buy them another hotdog without mustard only makes them cry harder.

You see, their friend sees the mustard which is grown in France which is part of NATO which is in a war with Russia in the Ukraine where history is repeating itself.

And all the farmers of the world are like the kulaks under Stalin where they were driven off the land for a collective farm and then people were literally starved into submission and is it true that 60% of the farmland in the Ukraine is owned by VanGuard and Blackrock and so we’re not really fighting and risking nuclear confrontation to save the Ukrainian land for the Ukrainian people but for the giant corporations?

And during the 1932 Holodomor millions of people died of starvation until there were no cats and dogs or even long-snouted weevils left. That’s what totalitarian collectivization does historically.

And that’s why some people don’t want mustard on their hotdog.

But never mind all that. The important thing is there are in fact only two types of fruit flies: the Common Fruit Fly and the Mutant Fruit Fly. No matter what variation of mutation we may have in the Mutant group, they’re simply mutants. (I haven’t however looked into their gender pronouns so I may stand to be corrected on that.)

But all in all, this has made life for the Fruit Fly very easy indeed*, they’re either common or a mutant and – knowing their place – they get on with their day. In this ghastly world.

Syl Shawcross lives in Canada – well, actually Quebec – and puts words on screens. And sometimes on paper. When she can find a pen.

*Yes. I know I titled this The Short and Brutal Life of the Fruit Fly when in fact fruit flies are happy creatures living fulfilling lives but you see I’m trying to be relevant to the times. Say one thing one day and deny it the next day. That’s how it works. For those in the political arena anyway. Hope and courage to everyone during such terrible times as we are living with the first casualty of war. The truth is usually somewhere in the middle. Maybe one day we’ll know.


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