“If only Johnny and Jimmy and Stevie and Paulie and Susie and Jenny and Freddy and Danny and Sammy and Timmy were all here to see it,” Ernest the fruit fly says through the haze of his final moments on this mortal coil, remembering some of the the many brave flies who have already passed on ahead of him in the eviscerating months since August, leaving only one of their number to witness the fulfillment of all of their wildest insect dreams: Christmas Food Everywhere.
“Sugar just sitting on the counter in unswept mounds Jimmy,” the delirious fly whispers hoarsely from his final resting place on an overripe clementine, too weak to move, too happy to die. “Cookies in piles so high you could form a hundred colonies in them and no one would know. Four pies just went in the oven, all different, all fruit Jimmy. All fruit!”
The heady days of summer have come and gone for the once bellicose population of fruit flies in this kitchen. The fog of months that end in ‘ber,’ with their chilly temps and renewed commitment to cleanliness on the part of the humans, arrived – and with them the nightmarish killing off of the once teeming hordes of fruities. But not Ernest. Past all fly-limits he has hung in there, drawn on by the legends of what happens at the end of December for the rare sugar-blessed insect that manages to make it that far. He is the last. He is the best. And he is alone.
“Johnny. If only you could see it Johnny. They’ve got rum and some weird, sweet, eggy shit Johnny. They can’t finish it because they hate it even though they think they love it, so it just sits in mugs in shadowy corners, asking to be raided. It’s so beautiful it hurts Johnny.”
He remembers the cold nights, when he and his weakening brothers-and-sisters-in-legs all huddled on that one apple, watching their numbers dwindle from thousands down to a small, hardy band of survivors, the population literally “dropping like flies man, dropping like the flies God forgot.” He reaches for his cigarettes but can’t muster the strength to light one. His mouth is dry. The end is close. He is about to close all of his eyes, when a human enters the kitchen carrying a platter that is holding nothing short of pure shining heaven.
“Sweet Valhalla,” Ernest exclaims, “the legends were true. A Gingerbread house. An entire enormous home made of brown sugar covered in white sugar and adorned with candied sugar. Oh they weren’t lying boys, they weren’t lying. If only you could see it. I’m coming to tell you. Hold that putrid orange peel open in the sky brothers, old Ernie is on his way up.”