II. The situation with the maggots.
Mid-July: flies. It started one Saturday when I was cleaning. I swatted at them with my rag, chased them around the kitchen with a Lysol spray bottle, and took a few down. But soon more came through the hole in my screen. After dinner one evening Larisa rolled up a magazine and went to work with a business-like ferocity I’d only seen once before in my mom, in her early forties, when late one night I went to the kitchen of our one-bedroom apartment for a glass of water, and under the one bare light, found her smashing cockroaches with a vengeance, armed with a shoe.
In the days that followed it seemed that Larisa had eradicated the fly problem. I put tape over the hole in the screen.
Then: a smell. The trash needed tending, I thought; I lifted the lid. A mass of maggots moved on the underside. I had disturbed them, had turned the light on. They blinked and twisted anxiously. Several dropped to the kitchen floor.
For a minute I stood there with the lid in my hand and my mind completely blank. Then, I turned my apartment over. What the hell kills maggots? I sprayed them with Lysol; they kept moving. I tried to squish them with a paper towel but lost heart on the approach. Finally, I emptied a bottle of acetone into the underside of the lid. Did they dissolve or drown? Did I get them all? I washed everything with OxiClean. Then I mopped and re-mopped the floors. And mopped them again. For the next few days the trash bin lived in the stairwell, just in case.
Was it over? No, it was not. A week later: Baby flies.