by Michael A. Kechula
Michael A. Kechula is a retired
technical writer. His stories have
won several awards and have
been published in 110 magazines
as well as 30 anthologies. He’s
the author of “A Full Deck of
Zombies—61 Speculative Fiction
Tales.” (paperback available at; eBook at and
“Members of the jury,” said the giant horse fly, “before you stands
a most despicable example of the human species: a serial fly killer.
According to sworn testimony, he’s murdered 5,322 of our noble

“Is this true?” asked the praying mantis in black robes sitting at the
judge’s bench.

“Yes,” I said.

“Tell the court how you committed these evil deeds,” said the horse

“With a fly swatter.”

“Hear that?” yelled the prosecuting attorney. “He just admitted using
a FLY SWATTER! One of the most horrific assault weapons ever
invented. So deadly in fact, that it was banned fifty years ago by the
Amalgamated Insect Nations. This evil human hid one in his
basement during the Fly Swatter Confiscation of 2009. Then he used
it to dispatch well over five-thousand of our brethren. The fact that
he hid a weapon of mass destruction in defiance of the AIN is proof
of malicious intent to commit premeditated murder on an unheard of
scale. I’d go so far as to say he had genocide in mind.”

“I’ve never seen a fly swatter,” said the judge. “Do you have one to
show us?”

“Yes. But I must warn you, it’s not a sight for weak stomachs.”

“Do all members of the jury feel you can handle this? If not, I’ll have
the bailiff distribute barf bags. Let me see the hands of those who
think they’ll need them.”

Several fly legs shot up.

After the bags were distributed, the prosecuting attorney removed a
plastic fly swatter from a locked case. It was stained with fly blood
and guts. When he showed it to the jury, many regurgitated,
including some without barf bags.

The judge had to order a fifteen minute recess.

During the break, I thought about all the flies I’d killed. In my mind,
I hadn’t killed enough of those disease carrying bastards.

When the trial resumed, the horsefly said, “According to
eyewitnesses, you killed a fly that landed on your salami sandwich.
What you killed that day was the Greatest Flamenco Dancer in All
Flydom. If you had taken the time to notice his arrival, you would’ve
seen that he’d come merely to entertain you. What many have paid
high prices to see, he wanted to perform for you free of charge. And
do you know why? Because he was an incredibly altruistic insect who
loved mankind. And how did you repay him? You chased him around
a room from which he was unable to escape. When you cornered him,
you smashed him with this fly swatter. Didn’t you hear his screams
when you wounded him? Sworn testimony says you didn’t even
bother to call for medical assistance. Nor did you show the slightest
remorse when he died. You, sir, have not a shred of compassion in
your being.”

“But that day I got real sick from the germs he deposited on my
sandwich,” I said. “Not to mention I was hospitalized for three years
because of a nasty staph infection. By killing him, I rid the human
world of a germy, filthy beast.”

Sounds of shock came from the jury.

“I see no need to pursue this case any further,” said the prosecuting
attorney. “The defendant has just admitted his guilt. Not only that,
he’s insulted our allies, the Germs, by making false and ridiculous
claims about infection. I ask the jury to do its sacred duty and return
a guilty verdict for mass murder. Further, I plead with the jury to
recommend the death penalty. The sooner this vermin is removed
from our midst, the safer the entire insect world will be.”

The judge ordered the jury to a deliberation room. They returned in
thirty seconds, saying I was guilty of murder and hate crimes in the
first degree on all 5,322 counts.

“I sentence you to death,” said the judge. “Tomorrow at sunrise you
will be thrown into a shark tank where you will be ripped apart until
pronounced dead. May the Lord of the Flies condemn you to the Pit,
and may your miserable soul burn in hell fire for eternity.”

Suddenly the courtroom door burst open. In came the Emperor of the

“I demand to be heard,” he said. “I’ve been watching these
proceedings on television.”

“You may speak,” said the judge.

“This man is just as altruistic as the Flamenco dancer he killed. He’s
done magnificent things for the subjects of my empire without
asking anything in return. For one, he deliberately avoided cleaning
his house, leaving scraps of food and garbage everywhere. He did
this for years. These charitable acts allowed us to obtain free room
and board for millions of our kind in his humble abode. Therefore, I
ask for leniency.”

After pondering a minute, the judge said, “Let it never be said that
this court is not merciful. I hereby change the sentence. I now
sentence you to be ground into crumb-sized pieces, and then fed to
homeless and orphaned cockroaches. Does the prisoner have
anything to say?”

“Yes. This court is a travesty. I didn’t even have a defense attorney.”

“Serial killers don’t have the right to a defense attorney. Let’s not
waste any more time. Remove the prisoner,” he said to the bailiff,
an oversized grasshopper. “Transport him to the meat grinder and
carry out the sentence.”

With as much strength as I could muster, I punched the bailiff, then
rushed to the table where the fly swatter lay. Grabbing it, I swung
with all my might. I killed a jury member on the first smack and the
judge on the second.

When I headed for the window to escape, the Emperor of the
Cockroaches yelled, “Don’t do it. They’ll send killer hornets to hunt
you down. The meat grinder would be faster and less painful.”

“I’ll take my chances,” I said, crashing through the window with the
swatter in hand.

I had to fight my way through fly infested streets. I don’t know how
many of the bastards I decimated before I spotted a huge swarm of
killer hornets heading toward me. Before they attacked, I dropped
the swatter and surrendered to the AIN police. They shackled me and
threw me into an armored car.  

As they led me down the path to the meat grinder, I lost my nerve
and began to tremble. But my terror dissipated when the Emperor of
the Cockroaches called my name and said, “Michael, your death will
not be in vain. It will have profound existential meaning to my
subjects. Because of you, this very day, millions of homeless and
orphaned cockroaches will enjoy a wonderfully nutritious meal.”
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August 2009