“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 said through the haze of his final moments on this mortal coil, as he remembered just a few of the many brave flies who had already passed on ahead into the fruity afterlife in the eviscerating months since August, leaving only Ernest to witness the fulfillment of all of their wildest insect dreams: Christmas Food Everywhere.
“There’s sugar just sitting on the counter in unswept mounds Jimmy,” the delirious fly whispered hoarsely from what would be 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 even know. Four pies just went in the oven. All different, all fruit Jimmy. All fruit!”
The heady days of summer had come and gone for the once-bellicose population of fruit flies in that kitchen. The fog of months that end in ‘ber’, with their chilly temps and renewed commitment to cleanliness on the part of the humans, had arrived – and with them the nightmarish killing off of the once teeming hordes of fruities. But not Ernest. Past all fly-limits he had hung in there, drawn on by the legends of what happens at the end of December, for that rarest of all sugar-blessed insects that manages to make it that far. He was the last. He was the best. And he was 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. So. Beautiful.”
He remembered the cold nights, when he and his weakening brothers-and-sisters-in-legs had 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 reached for his cigarettes but couldn’t muster the strength to light one. His mouth was dry. The end was close. He was about to close all of his eyes, when a human entered the kitchen carrying a platter holding nothing short of pure shining heaven.
“Sweet Valhalla,” Ernest exclaimed, “the legends were true. A Gingerbread house. An entire, edible castle 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.”