Two months ago, I entered my new apartment to find that a minor fruit fly invasion had broken out, possibly due to some scraps left behind by previous roommates. I promptly set out to find traps, and what I found were these cheap apple-shaped cartons boasting a solid 1-star review on Walmart’s very own website. When I tried to find the name brand today I couldn’t find it (perhaps it was phased out of production).
The traps required water to catalyze a sickly sweet pungency that drew flies in, but would become toxic once ingested. Interestingly, the flies seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time sitting inert atop the containers without entering them. It felt as if I had just bought my flies tiny local hotspots to hang out at and get high off fumes. Inevitably, however, they’d drop in.
Nevertheless, I kept the traps undisturbed for the four weeks allotted by the product’s instructions, and indeed during that time I saw a noticeable reduction of flies.
After four weeks, I opened each trap in childish glee to discover what lay inside. As I expected from reading the reviews, each trap had become a sordid breeding ground for maggots, yet as I also suspected from certain implications within the instructions, this breeding ground was to be expected; it was for this reason that the product recommended the trap be left out for 40 days.
Doubtlessly previous users grew impatient, opened their traps, and were disgusted by the half dead sluice of flies and maggots at various states of degradation.
Of the 100 traps I purchased, 95 were entirely dead, graveyards strewn with rotting flies and maggots.
4 still had some life in them, although it was clear the life was failing, with many dried out maggot husks feebly clinging to the sides.
The last one was a surprise. Not merely lingering, but flourishing in the gelid wastewater. The trap was shaped like an apple, and the maggot-strewn mess at the bottom took on the form of a star.
I was just sitting there, watching flies land on the internet. Anonymous lurkers attacking friends — imagine daggers buzzing.