A visitor

By Lucy Wallis
Illustrated by Lucy McDonald

A fly came to visit this afternoon; a clandestine rendezvous. I had nothing to offer him but a cracker, not knowing what flies like, and not wanting to make tea.

Bonjour monsieur fly, say I, would you like to stay for a cracker? The fly whizzes around the room in response – which I take to be the affirmative – and I leave him a cracker on the table and say what do you think about the state of the economy? The fly whizzes around the room which I think means what does it matter if the capitalist framework tanks? Perhaps that will mean that we can build something new from its ashes.

So I say very astute monsieur fly, are you sure you don’t want a tea? And he whizzes around the room, which I take to be the negative, which is good because I was only being polite and I actually cba to make a tea. So I say have you read the Hunchback of Notre Dame? I’m reading it and it’s very good. You’re probably the only person who has managed to see the Birdseye view Hugo talks of in chapter 3 – do you think it’s beautiful?

The fly lands on the curtain and says Paris is most beautiful when seen from the air in high spring, when the rooftops range away from u like the ragged edges of a hastily cut hem and the freshness of the morning distills the air so that it looks like heaven. The bells, when they ring, sound like angels calling. Before anyone is awake but the baker, before the smog cloud has risen to the roof of the sky, before sound is born, that is when Paris is most beautiful. When she sings.
I look at the fly on the curtain, I do not agree. oh no, Monsieur fly, says I, oh no.

Paris is most beautiful when she is alive and awake and full of people. When the boulangerie lady says “Avec Ceci?”, and When the bus driver is grumpy. When there are children laughing. When there are verres en terrasse. When she is alive and breathing and full like a hive buzzing, making honey, and she rumbles like an old machine. Paris breathes, Paris murmurs, Paris shrieks and cries and howls and roars. She is not only beautiful when she sings.

The fly looks disgruntled and boops himself into the window as if to say What would u know? ur in here and not out there. There is no Paris for u anymore. Only these walls and these windows & ur closest boulangerie. Paris is mine and it is always quiet now and I like it that way.

I think monsieur fly has rather outstayed his welcome. Fuck u monsieur fly. He boops the window again, takes another turn of the room, and then quite without warning, he zooms past my head and out of the window as if to say: fuck u, too.

He didn’t even touch his cracker.

Lucy Wallis is a writer from either London or Oxfordshire depending on who’s asking. She’s the editor of this lit mag, and her work has been featured in various places in print and online. Her lifelong goal is to become a morning person, and she likes nothing better than cold pints on sunny terasses. Find her on Twitter & Instagram @thelucylist

Lucy McDonald is a London-based illustrator and soundmaker. Most often found in real life sporting huge headphones and wielding a pencil, you can find her on Instagram @lucy_walks_about