Happy Holidays! It’s OFFICIALLY HOLIDAY SEASON and oh boy do I have a gross newsletter queued up for you guys today. Absolutely repulsive so KEEP READING.
I went away for a week-long vacation (yay!!!!) during which I finally got to read Mary Roach’s Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers (yay!!!) and came home to a full fledged reenactment of her Body Farm chapter in my kitchen (boo!!!). Apparently, a rat died in my house while I was gone, and a mass of industrious flies got to work breaking down its carcass. And, you know, infesting my house.
It’s an Amityville Horror level invasion of the flies here. I’ve been running around my house with an electric tennis racket and a bottle of bleach for the past two days, trying to get ahead of this lesson in decomposition. And now I’m going to share that journey with you.
According to Roach's book, there are 4 stages of decomp (that’s me channeling Gil Grissom): fresh, bloat, putrefaction, and decay. What stage is my rat in? According to the fly life cycle chart that I just gagged my way through, it takes 10 days to produce adult flying insects. God help me, I also googled “how long does it take for a rat to decompose” and Orkin says three weeks. Using my newfound CSI powers of deduction that puts its demise at probably right before I left. Let’s go through the timeline, shall we?
Day 1: I am applying self tanner with a special buffing mitten so that I don’t repeat the mistakes of the past, aka looking like an extra from Jersey Shore.
The rat, a repeat offender who Chesa Boudin’s lax policies allowed to infiltrate my home, is scrounging around in my walls looking for food.
Day 2: Nolan is trying on his fifteenth pair of bright orange Crocs because despite being in middle school, he wants to wear these hideous plastic shoes and there’s NOTHING I CAN DO ABOUT IT. Also I’m pretty sure Mario Batali got cancelled!!!
The recently deceased finds an electrical cord to eat instead and fries its little brains out.
Day 3: Trying to explain how a wet dry electric razor works to my daughter, which is frankly traumatic.
Flies are laying eggs in the rat’s ORIFICES. GOD I AM SO SORRY I TYPED THAT BUT IT’S GOING TO GET WORSE.
Day 4: I am trying to upload my vaccine card to the Hawaii “Safe Travels” site for the 14th time and refreshing the results on Quinn’s COVID test while going through financial scenarios if she can’t get in. Trying to decide who I will blame more if I lose my deposit: the government or Joe Rogan. It’s leaning toward the latter.
Maggots are hatching.
Day 5: Yelling at my kids as we rocket over the Pacific Ocean because they don’t want to play “Halfway to Hawaii,” which is a ridiculous fucking MATH GAME that United Airlines tortures its passengers with on every flight to Maui. “IT’S MATH!!!!” I am yelling as they turn the volume up on their headphones and throw back another Coke.
The maggots are moving around in a “maggot mass” and I want to die for typing that.
Day 6: I’m rolling my eyes at the guy at the host stand who is saying he “forgot” his mask and is holding up the entire line of people DUDE YOU HAD TO FILL OUT A 14 PAGE QUESTIONNAIRE TO GET ONTO THIS ISLAND AND WEAR A MASK OUTDOORS AT THIS ATTACHED TOURIST ATTRACTION WHO THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU ARE KIDDING PUT YOUR STUPID MASK ON SO EVERYONE CAN GET THEIR MAI TAI ALREADY.
The maggots are turning into pupa and migrating away from the corpse. I have no idea how they do this. Do they crawl? Did they bring their vax cards and their masks????
Day 7: Laying in a hammock and reading Stiff. Occasionally calling out facts to my family, like “Did you know the body’s penis and testicles swell up dramatically during decomposition” unaware that a rat’s dick is currently undergoing this phenomena in my very own home!! If the rat was male!! I don’t want to misgender it!!!
Day 8: With my daughter and niece at a cultural garden outside of the ‘Ioa Valley. There are stray cats everywhere and the girls are squealing and running up to pet one, but I stop them because that shit looks like it crawled right out of Pet Sematary. Its eyes are glazed and its fur is missing in several parts and it could possibly be carrying a knife.
The pupa are living in the “puparium” (!!!) and turning into adult flies. They are no longer eating rat corpse. Good for them.
Day 9: Researching Hawaiian Night Marchers. Are they on Maui? When is the next Dark Moon? Is seeing them going to be a “good for content” experience or will I end up impaled by a leiomano? Hahahahhahaa I’m white as hell I’m totally dead. WHICH IS STILL GOOD FOR CONTENT.
Adult flies emerge from the pupa, MATE IMMEDIATELY, then lay their eggs on the rat corpse. And the circle of life begins again!
Day 10: On the way home, I’m seated in Row 53 - THE VERY LAST ONE - and the flight attendant gives me two free little bottles of wine for having a good attitude about it. Literally the first and only time anyone has ever recognized me for having a positive attitude, probably because I did not realize that I’d be walking into a teeming mass of insects hatched out of a corpse in 4 short hours.
This teeming mass of adult flies, having eaten rat corpse for 9 days, then had sex on it, are now flying around my kitchen with the carefree abandon of creatures that will die in 8 hours.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYBODY. PLEASE DON'T UNSUBSCRIBE.