Distorte is a collection of stories written by Pierce Gleeson

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Bluebottles can ruin a whole afternoon’s reading with their frantic battering against windowpanes. Though they do not inspire love, it is easier to evict them than to kill them. Reach up and unclasp the Velux and whip it 180°. It takes the insect a moment to register that what was inside is now outside. They have fallen through into the world. A tap to send them off is sometimes necessary. Their exit is as clean as their reputation is not.

Here comes the moth, tumbling out of the rug you’ve just hoisted. Forgetting how to fly, it seems. Resting anywhere he can, just for a minute. Give him a minute, for God’s sake. Landing anywhere but your skin. They know not to land on your skin. You never evict them, never kill them. Just shoo them aside. They turn to dust in the corners without a fuss.

The spiders are the house’s true residents. They were here the first time I stepped into the field that would become the garden, scattering ahead of my shuffle like pigeons in the park. Incredible numbers. And they’re still here, moved inside, tending their quiet corners. Abiding our temporary intrusions. One flits across the floor on hair-legs, appearing to levitate. Their behaviour suggests immunity, and like all the best bluffs it earns it too.

Houseflies seem less of the house than any of the others. It’s difficult to think of them dirty as you do elsewhere. Out here there is nothing but grass and dunes and cowshite. Then they are sandblasted clean. They tickle where they land, and they love to land, and they love to land on your skin. Shoo, shoo, shoo. Smaller than home. Almost graceful.

A bee is a terrible thing to waste. I step on three in a week, buzzing drunk on the floor. Each time my foot itches like I’m stung, but I am not. They might be coming from the attic or they might be confused in the late summer. None are killed outright; I have to find a shoe or a paper and kill them proper. I am destroying impossible complexity. You can see the balls of pollen clumped on their rear legs, orange from the montbretia outside. Sweeping later I discover husks, the golden fur has greyed within hours. They seem lighter dead than alive. Insubstantial.

Written by Pierce Gleeson
Posted on the 25 Aug, 2010