The Cow and the Fly

By Patrick Hughes, UK

In the middle of the field a big brown cow sat. Her name was Cow. She was very plump and rather lazy, moving only once every few days when she had eaten her fill. Cow was happy with her life in the field, she had an infinite source of food, could sleep whenever she wanted and chose her own bedtimes. Yes. Cow was very happy. That was, until one day, Cow sat down on a particularly luscious patch of green grass and felt a painful sting on her rump. She had accidentally disturbed a very angry neighbour.

Cow leapt up from her resting place with a very sore bottom and started searching the blades of grass around him for any sign of the culprit. Soon, under a crumpled group of stalks the heifer found a very angry fly.

“What do you think you’re doing mate! That’s my spot!” The fly buzzed angrily, hovering by Cow’s right ear to make himself heard. “You’re so stupid and fat you can’t even see what’s right in front of you!”

“I’m not stupid” Cow mooed, but it did little to stop the fly’s verbal rampage.

“You probably don’t have the two brain cells to rub together and figure out what you did wrong! You maliciously destroyed my home, you freak!”

“It was an accident” the sonorous reply, still not quite understanding what this little creature was on about.

“Yeaaah, riiight! An accident! Do you think I’m that gullible you half-wit?!? You deliberately discriminated against me and I’m entitled to my rights!”

“But I’m telling the truth!” Cow was losing patience with this pint-sized pest.

“You’re just a privileged milk factory – you wouldn’t know real truth if it hit you in the udders and knocked that silver spoon out your…”

Cow started to walk away, albeit reluctantly, from her prime pasture. But that was surely the best way to get rid of this airborne agitator?

Unfortunately, as Cow found out, the fly could keep up easily with her plodding pace. Its wings beat furiously, making a high pitched whine almost as annoying as its voice. “Come on you mammal! Why are you walking away? Are you scared?!”

“No!” The bovine was now irritated. Why wouldn’t this nuisance leave her alone! “I am not scared! I simply do not wish to have to endure your company!” Cow stamped away, slightly bashful after her outburst and the fly was left hovering in her wake.

But not for long. Soon the fly was back – this time whispering in her ear. “You can’t get rid of me! I mean, I thought we were friends…?” The fly’s voice took on a tremulous tone, seemingly incredibly upset. “We’ve bonded so much together, but I see I’m not wanted here… I’ll just go back to my destroyed home and cry alone into the soil”

Cow felt incredibly guilty about ruining this flies day, even if it was an accident. She didn’t want to upset the poor guy and he was obviously very lonely. So instead she decided to make him feel better. “Hey!” The fly turned towards her.

“What?!” He snapped “Oh wait… yes? Are we still friends?”

“Of course friend! Now how do you feel about getting some lunch.”

All through the day Cow tolerated the fly. They had a sumptuous meal of the finest grass, and Cow stomached fly’s incessant witter on his current pet project of learning to play the grass whistle. Apparently it was a devious and complex instrument, explaining why it took 2 hours for the fly to cease his dramatic retelling of the latest note he had learned. They then played noughts and crosses with sticks and soil. Fly did not like losing one little bit, threatening to end the friendship then and there, so Cow let him win. She let him win at bowling. And at bridge. And at hopscotch (which he couldn’t even play)! Next they sat and gossiped for a while. The fly told Cow a lot about his mosquito girlfriend (“She’s away feeding in Africa at the moment, that’s why you’ve never seen her”), his exotic foreign friends (scarab beetles from Egypt and bats from North America). They were all apparently super cool and found him super cool to.

At the end of the day, Cow found her neck sore, from all the nodding she had had to do that day. She was settling down to sleep, closing her eyes as the sun crept below the horizon, that she heard the shrill voice that had tormented her day. “Hey bestie! I was thinking, given how you TOTALLY wrecked my house, that I could crash with you just for a night!”

Cow sighed. “Alright,” she said “Just keep it down.”

“Sure thing bestie! Now how about we stay up all night talking about me!”

Cow blearily looked around the field. She was in no state to be looking for food, being kept up all night by Fly’s inane chat had made her very tired. But she was hungry and her four stomachs demanded it. However her meal was interrupted by the arrival of the fly.

“How rude! You pea-brained, poo-coloured heifer! I thought we would be eating together! I can’t believe you have such disregard for your roommate! Speaking of poo, I am peckish, could you spot me some barter so I can find breakfast”

“Alright.” Cow said, indicating jars of milk stored for this very purpose.

“But I can’t go alone!” Wailed the fly, “I am far too weak to carry anything close to that, plus you still owe me for trashing my house…”

“Fine. Let’s go.”

A few hours later, Cow and fly returned, carrying an electric wing groomer, an inflatable mattress and breakfast, lunch and dinner for the fly.

“Gee thanks! I owe you one for covering for me.” said the fly “How was I to know I’d left my wallet at home!”

“No problem…” Cow muttered through gritted teeth. She was really getting sick of the fly’s shenanigans. “But maybe it’s time for you to think about getting back on the property ladder?”

“But why!? I’ve already got all my new stuff set up on your back. I mean there’s ample room… hehe… And this way we can stick together like the best buds we are!”

For two months the fly leached off of Cow, wasting her barter, annoying her to no end and all round being a pain in the neck. Cow had had enough.

“You have to leave!” bellowed Cow. “I am my own person with my own life who does not need to go around babysitting you all the time! I am kicking you out!” Cow began to shake all of fly’s miscellaneous junk off of her broad shoulders.

“HEY HEY HEY! Don’t be rash! We can sort this out! There’s no need to wreck all of my new stuff!”

“Don’t you mean my stuff, you foul-breathed pest! I have every right to do as I wish with them, I paid for them and you are an exploitative parasite and I will put up with it no longer! We are not friends! We were never friends! Now shoo!” Cow swished her tail and tossed her head to add gravitas to her statement.

Apparently it worked, with the fly turning angrily and buzzing towards the edge of the field. But before he left Cow thought she heard a muttered reply – “I’ll be back.”

And, as to be expected for such a tenacious and obnoxious he was. This time he brought his friends and family. Hundreds upon hundreds of flies came from near and far to aid their cousin’s call, descending upon the field in a black squirming blanket. The flies covered every inch of grass in the field as well as a majority of Cow. This was very uncomfortable and annoying, as is to be expected if most of your orifices are covered in fly, but also because of the myriad of annoying self-absorbed monologues! Oh how Cow wished this torture would end. But for three days and three nights the flies worked shifts, keeping up the irritating, crawling sensation all across Cow’s body and no amount of head or tail shaking would dislodge them.

However on the morning of the fourth day, Cow spotted a bright clump of white high in the sky.

“What’s that?” She thought as she was unable to open her mouth due to the flies.

But all would be revealed as the white flock began to descend, reminiscent of the arrival of Cow’s torturers. But this time it was salvation, in the form of Cattle Egrets! They descended on the field in a flutter of wings, a chorus of bird calls and a lot of insect screaming. They worked systematically through the field, gobbling up the flies left, right and Cow before landing on and around Cow.

“Thank you soo much!” Cow mooed gratefully.

“No problem!” Replied the biggest bird. “Thank you for stocking our larder!”

“Well I suppose at least someone got pleasure from it! Hahahaha.”

“Do you want to be our friend?” Chorused the birds.

“Of course I will!” Replied Cow.

“I’m deeply traumatised” Said Cow.