When I was in high school, I was involved with theatre from sophomore to senior year, and those were some of the best years of my life.
I learned a lot during that time. I had never known that licking batteries was an essential art to be mastered, or that spike tape wasn’t actually spiky or the proper way to attach a wireless microphone to an actor (you just plug the mic into the battery pack, wrap the cord around their body until they can’t move and hope they can still perform).
Acting, on the other hand, was as simple as standing onstage for an hour, taking a break at intermission to sign scraps of paper for adoring fans and getting back onstage to stand still again for another hour.
But there was one thing I wasn’t expecting at all when I came to Goshen College.
Something I had never known how to deal with in all the time I’d spent in the theater.
No matter how many sets I painted.
No matter how much sawdust I involuntarily inhaled.
No matter how many lines I memorized.
I was never prepared for the horror that is the ghost fly.
Alice, the Umble Center’s resident ghost, behaves well. However, the ghost fly is the absolute worst. This obnoxious gray pellet’s only goalis to bother us.
Seriously. That’s all it does.
And let me tell you, this thing is better at resurrecting itself than the Doctor from “Doctor Who.”
One night last semester, the stage crew and I were preparing the stage for another performance of “Red Herring.” I was mopping the stage as part of my assistant stage management duties, minding my own business.
That’s when I felt something moving on the back of my neck. I knew what it was, so I tried to swipe it away with a slap.
But instead of eradicating the feeling of tiny fly legs on my skin, I was rewarded with this awful-sounding “BVVVVVVZZZZZT!” as it thrashed against the palm of my hand.
I’m pretty sure I could’ve won a Grumpy Cat look-alike contest when I realized what I had done. The fly wasn’t dead, but it wanted revenge.
“Hamilton” was relevant here (like it always is):
“Awesome. Wow. Do you have a clue what happens now?”
Unfortunately, I did.
This time, I successfully brushed it off and got back to work. In that moment, I added myself to the growing list of Goshen College thespians—past and present—who now have horror stories from meeting this miniscule beast.
The ghost fly lurks in the shadows of the Umble Center, waiting.
It does not sleep and it cannot die.
Then again, true evil