Size / / /

Despite the compassion he bore

for them, some

things were out of the question.

Surgical repair, for example. Even

with a high powered

microscope and an assortment of

tiny instruments, one could no more

put a patch on a damaged

wing or red jewel of an eye than one

could treat gossamer or ghost-flesh.

Meanwhile, at work,

he sabotaged the containers of

chemical sprays, eradicated all

vestiges of spiders

and their nasty webs, left doors

and windows ajar, containers of

cafeteria food open,

toilets unflushed. Token efforts,

to be sure; the best he could

otherwise do

was open up his house to them

all year round, provide someplace

warm and nourishing

for them to breed and deposit their

gleaming eggs. One got used to the smell,

to the cloudlets

of black life, to the insane, high-pitched

buzz of their strafing, and when they

landed on him,

crawling about his pale flesh, he took

comfort, as, in the tickling multiplicity

of their legs,

they brailled his love and affection.

(Was it not the Seraphim who bore

six wings? Surely,

there was a hexapodal equivalent.)

Never, ever once, would he swat

at them, even in jest,

and while the accidental havoc

he's caused in his attempts to rid

the world of real vermin

might eventually be discovered,

although the media might puzzle a bit

over his self-applied

nickname (no southern sobriquet,

but a shortened version of the Hebrew

zebûb), not a single

one of his co-workers, family members,

or neighbors would fail to mention how

quiet he was;

how he liked to keep to himself;

the gentle sort of person who, under

no circumstances,

would ever harm even a fly.

Robert Borski works for a consortium of elves repairing shoes in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. You can read more of his work in our archives.
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