Ramona was the fly that now lived in my car.
I tried everything to encourage her to leave: opened all the windows, then the doors, swatting in her general direction to get her to fly away. She was decidedly uninterested, following a wobbly flight path to settle on my rear window.
I gave up, assuming she’d die overnight. I could vacuum her up over the weekend. But Ramona was a hardy soul. She buzzed around my head the next morning to let me know she wasn't leaving anytime soon, then landed on the radio dial. I tried to swat her with my purse, but she was faster than she looked, which was just as well, because I hadn't thought about what I'd do about the fly guts on my pocketbook if I did connect. She may have flipped me off before returning to her spot to groom her eyeballs.
I named her Ramona because yes, she was a bit of a pest. She reacted to what was on the radio, and let me tell you, everybody (and everyfly) is a critic. I couldn't listen to my true crime podcasts anymore, because she got all worked up and dive-bombed my face when they were on. Ditto most of my favorite music, including Prince, Duran Duran, the Beatles, and the Violent Femmes. Ramona would only stay calm if I popped in James Taylor. Not that I don’t love the man, but I was getting a little tired of “Carolina In My Mind.” (This was Ramona’s favorite. She liked to clean her hairy little legs in time to the music.)
I was a bit alarmed that she was still alive after five days. How was she surviving? What the heck did I have in the car that she could possibly eat? I decided to do a little housekeeping (carkeeping?) to figure it out.
Armor All: nope. I read the label, and there was nothing of nutritional value for the common fly there. Ditto the box of Kleenex I kept in the car. An empty CD case? Impossible, right? It was the Beaches soundtrack, arguably sugary-sweet, but still: unlikely.
Then I found it: an empty Gatorade bottle wedged under the driver’s seat. The lid was screwed on tight, but Ramona was pretty clever. I had no doubt she’d been living off of the dried sugar-water around the cap.
Except ... I don’t drink the sugary Gatorade. I go for G-2, made for dieters and artificial sweetener addicts. Surely Ramona couldn’t survive on aspartame alone? Now that I thought about it, she did look like she’d lost at least .000000016th of an ounce that morning.
Now I was worried. “Ramona?” I called out. “Can I get you a cookie or something?”
No response. For once, she kept her buzzing to herself.
I got out the Dustbuster and went over the car inch by inch, like a forensic entomologist at a particularly ponderous crime scene. I sifted through sand, dirt, a lint-covered mint that must've fallen out of my pocket at some point (ages ago, apparently; it had hardly any flavor left), until I finally found Ramona in the runner by the passenger side door. She was legs up, gone to Carolina in her mind.
My feelings were mixed. It would be nice to listen to my podcasts again without fear of insect attack. But overall, she’d been a good sort. “Sorry, girl,” I said, opening the door to suck her up with the Dustbuster. As soon as I did, a hornet flew into the car, making itself comfortable on my steering wheel.
Looks like I’ll be walking to work from now on.