Dionaea muscipula – the Venus Flytrap. I have one and he’s special. I bought him back in May, when the hope of spring was upon me, and just as the weather permitted him to be left outside to his own devices. Neither he nor I could have imagined a rain-soaked summer like this one; it’s a miracle he’s still alive and eating. Ah! Eating. Now it’s a fact that nature throws up some freaks every once in a while: two-headed cows, three-legged rabbits, gay goldfish…whatever. I though believed I had bought the world’s first vegetarian Flytrap – I kid you not. I spent weeks checking on his welfare; the soil condition, the balance of sunlight and shade, although I think this summer they seem to merge into one and the same. I digress. Not once did I see a trap shut, not once!
Now there are 3 (animals?) insects I detest: wasps (bastards), mosquitoes (bitches) and flies, yep, those same houseflies that tread and throw up on your food when you’re not looking, so I started patrolling my balcony with an innocent plastic fly-swatter in my hand and, after downing a blighter, I would give it to the plant. However, after a backhand like Jimmy Connors (remember him?) the fly would be, how can I say, very dead. That would then necessitate an operation involving a match or toothpick to get the trap to shut. Tonight that changed. I came home from work, walked out on the balcony and there, sitting on the table fat as fortune, no doubt bloated after a session of stuffing, stomping and spewing, sat a blowfly. A thumping forehand, minus the swatter, took down the shining son-of-a-gun and it lay motionless on the floor. I picked it up by a wing and deposited it neatly into a trap. I guess it must have landed on a couple of trigger-hairs as it started moving, and as it did so…whoops! I hadn’t actually killed it. Well, I guess you could say I have now.
Then I had a li’l crisis of conscience. Giving dead flies to my plant doesn’t bother me, the same as a butcher giving someone a dead chicken doesn’t bother me, but the thought that it had about a second to realise it had a trigger-hair up its arse just as its world closed in on it gave me a pang of guilt. A little. Well, I guess all in all about five seconds, time enough to realise that my plant is as nature intended. Order has been restored. Good stuff!
Slightly out of focus picture courtesy of author who can’t stand looking over his balcony…