The Fly Prayer
The screen blared as I sat and waited for my two quarter ounces of machine killed, machine pressed, machine warmed beef. There were wars and rumors of wars read by Pundits and rumors of Pundits. Floods and waves, fires and winds swallowing and gnawing on the timbers and foundations of lives. And I asked “Why should it be so?”
A fly alighted on a red drop across the table. Through some facility of the oracle I can’t claim to understand I could see it clearly, alive and up close. It was every bit as monstrous to me as I would have been to it, if it could see me beyond its bottle cap hundred eye blur. Black bodied, hairy for grasping to and at things, but with wings like a clear poem and eyes like oil scum rainbows. Before it vomited all over the piddle of hypothetical tomatoes, corn syrup, and red #29; before it could pour acid and enzymes out the hole below its eyes to transform a little piece of my world into an external tendril of its stomach it paused. It put its little chitinous, hoary, black feet together to rub out a prayer before its meal.
What would a fly pray for? It would not plead its polite thank yous, its soul too small to dream of gratitude. It would not threaten us or think of its kin; some manner of insect jihad to replace and supplant us. No, the flies pray for paradise. A place of bounty. For heavy bellies to spew eggs and the maggots to grow fat and numerous and squirm in wriggling white tides full as the setting sun. A land where all the holes and pipes reverse and spew excrement and blood. A world that will rot forever and ever amen.
If they don’t pray with our earnestness, then at least they pray more reliably. What they may lack in sentience they make up in numbers. My burger and fries were brought to me, and I gave thanks as up and down inside me all manner of gland and pore leaked all manner of fluid so I could eat. If this world was the middle path between their heaven and ours, then I should rejoice that we had it so good.