To Catch A Fly

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  • Published: 29 Feb 2016
  • Updated: 29 Feb 2016
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For "The Pixar Theory" competition. Tory is a spider. He's like any old spider. Except one devastating fact... he simply cannot catch a fly.


1. To Catch A Fly

Whether or not that you believe in fate, or destiny, it is an undeniable fact that we all have a purpose. Otherwise, we are merely tiny insects on a piece of rock enduring every single day for no other reason. I, for one, know that I am headed somewhere. Despite living amongst others who have had little to no faith in me, I am certain that I shall fulfil my purpose of life. Why? Because I believe in myself, even if nobody else does. I have confidence that soon my life is going to head in the right direction.

My name is Tory, and I am going to catch a fly.

I know what you’re all thinking; that I must be some lame excuse of a spider for not being capable of forming a web that can catch a tiny creature. That’s where you’re all wrong. I create my webs with a considerable amount of effort. They span out perfectly with every mesh netting together in flawless harmony. A perfect symmetrical pattern that is renowned for being immaculate. The problem is not my design and the very idea of it is insulting. The issue is that the flies are getting smarter.

I don’t know what’s happening to the world but all of a sudden, but the IQ of the pests seems to be rising. According to my calculations, across the neighbourhood there is an unexpected drop in the amount of flies here.  I thought that perhaps they were all dying out to a change in temperature, but the weather seems unchanged. Even when I do get the chance to spot them, they’re clever enough to avoid the very sight of me. Sometimes they even get the idea to almost sneak closer and closer to me, so that I am ready to pounce and just before I do they fly away, chuckling as they do. They’re teasing me. They’re playing me. A game of which they are champions, and I am a pitiful loser.

Everybody else belittles my hypothesis. They say that it’s not the flies fault, but mine. It seems plainly obvious to them that it’s me that’s doing wrong, and it’s impossible to insist that the flies are getting smarter. After all, spiders are much more superior. The intelligence is incomparable. To most spiders, catching a fly is a daily chore.  Oh, how I envy them.

I am so tired of making web after web to no avail. Every single day, I spin a new one- each time lacking a little less hope than the day before.  Frankly, I feel as though I shall die of pure anticipation before a spider decides to get tangled up in my web.  Oh, if a spider gets caught in my web… Everybody will be so proud of my accomplishment. All of the teasing will stop and society will accept me. My legs tingle at the very thought of it!

Mother always catches me my food. She’s the expert, and insists on doing so. Even on days when I feel the most down, I know that I can turn to Mother to catch me a tasty meal. Her words of comfort reassure me that one day I shall catch one of the pests. She believes in me.

My mission could take weeks, years, or decades, but time means nothing to me. I am going to catch a fly, no matter how long it may take me.


Today is the day. Today I will catch a fly.

I can feel it in my legs. I can feel it in my heart. And soon, I shall feel it my mouth, and then my stomach.

I woke up with an unusual feeling of determination. Of course, every day I wake up with the urge to fulfil my destiny, but today was different. Every fibre of my being is striving to devour that delicious insect. I know that nothing will distract me from my quest. 


I got distracted.

Cut me some slack, it’s hard work making webs! First you’ve got to decide where to place your trap. It has to be in the specifically calculated position that is perfectly designed so that flies can accidentally stumble upon it. Today, I found the perfect spot between two large railings. It was an abandoned area with no humans in sight to destroy my masterpiece. Once that mind-straining process is dealt with, you have to then decide the design of your web. You can’t just dive in without a second thought, you know. Do you think Picasso just picked up his paintbrush and created a masterpiece? Art doesn’t work like that. Art takes patience, consideration and a touch of genius. Your web needs to be a depiction of your intellect.

I opted for a large spiral orb web, using my body for the measurements I needed to take. To begin with, I formed fine adhesive thread. With extreme care, I stuck my strand to one far end of the metal bar. Once I felt the change in the vibration, this indicated to me that it was firm in place. I tightened this with precision, walked across, and strengthened it with a second thread and then another. If I wanted to support the web properly, then this was the time-consuming procedure it was going to take.

After the first thread was strong enough, I then began to construct the net. I spun the Y-shaped netting with upmost attention and accuracy. I proceeded to make the radials, increasing the span of my web. The important part about this is to make sure the distance between each radical and the next is little enough to cross.

I won’t bore you with the excruciating ordeal of creating a web, but it is a tedious process indeed.  The planning of the web took around two hours, while the building took about one hour. You may call it a waste of time though I must digress. Rome was not built in a day… but my web was built in an hour, so I guess that quote’s irrelevant.

The sun fell, and I realised how hungry I was. I can survive days at a time without food, but I’m afraid to tell you that today… I was weak. Sometimes all a spider needs is a mother’s loving cocooned insects. She stores her food like this to save it for later. It’s incredibly thoughtful of her.  Mother assured me that someday a fly will come along when I least expect it. I don’t really know whether to believe her, or not.


Today is the happiest day of my life!

(Ok, that was a little too forward. I could’ve started that way better. Uh…)

You’ll never guess what happened to me today!

(Too excitable! I need to calm down. Let’s try…)

So, today was like any usual day… Except it wasn’t!

(Oh, I give up. I’ll just roll with it.)

I decided not to go out and spin a web today. The weather was surprisingly hot so I went for a little stroll around the gardens, to admire the scenery. Soon enough, I stumbled upon the web that I had spun the day before, and… You’ll never guess.

There was a flipping fly in the flipping web!

All of my dreams had come true at one. There they were, the adorable little idiot that I would later consume, struggling against my magnificent trap. They squiggled and wriggled. They squirmed and wormed. But, alas poor fly, they were stuck. They were ensnared in my glorious snare.

I immediately started jumping for joy. I danced around the railings, beaming wide in success. Never in my life had I felt so accomplished. I was so proud of my little self.

After my personal celebration was complete, I leapt closer to the web to inspect my prisoner. They were still pathetically squirming, desperate for some sort of escape. Poor, naïve little soul. So young yet so delicious. When it spotted me, it sought my eyes for some sort of plea.

“You! Oh, man. You’ve gotta help me out of here!” it cried in its squeaky, frantic voice.

The interaction baffled me. “Me?” I questioned.

“Yeah, you! I seem to be trapped in this… this… trap! Can you help me out?”

I could not respond. Why did this fly expect my mercy? How humble did it expect I was?

“Please, man! Hurry!” it urged me.

“I… I’m afraid I can’t do that,” I mustered up a response.

“Oh, please, sir. You have to try!”

“I’m afraid that you’ve stumbled into my trap.” I replied, as apologetic as I could.

Your trap?” The fly arched an eyebrow. It stopped struggling.

“Yes, I’m afraid. I built this web, therefore… You’re my next meal.”

“Oh, well, I’m dreadfully sorry to say this but I simply cannot be your next meal.”

“Why not?”

“Because I have a meeting in exactly…” The fly tried to check his watch, but remembered that he couldn’t move his arm. “Say, what time is it?”

I checked my own watch. “It’s quarter-to-three.”

“Oh, cottonsocks!” cursed the fly. “I have to be at the meeting in fifteen minutes. Please, sir. You have to understand that you can’t eat me today.”

I pondered his statement. If this fact was true, then it was only right of me to let the poor chap go. Then again… This was my first fly. My first ever catch. I couldn’t let it go so easily. “I’m afraid I can’t let you go, uh…”

“My name’s Bertie. I’d shake your hand, but, uh…” The fly nodded his head towards its bound body.

“Bertie. I can’t let you go because you’re very… valuable to me.”

“There are so many flies in the world! Catch another one, I beg of you.”

I went to speak, but decided against it. I couldn’t let Bertie know the truth. He would laugh at me. I was so tired of the laughing.

“What’s the matter?” he asked.

“Nothing.” I replied.

“It’s always better to talk about your feelings. Never keep anything bottled up.”

“I… It’s nothing.” I insisted.

“I’m something of a therapist. You can trust me.”

“It’s just that…” I sighed. “I really don’t want to hold anybody against their will, but you have to understand my circumstances. For all of my life, I have been mocked and teased.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.”

“It’s quite alright. It’s because… They don’t consider me as a real spider.”

Bertie looked confused. “Why is that so? You seem like a real spider to me. You have eight legs. You can create webs. You are terribly menacing looking, I must say.”

“Thank you. But it’s not because of my appearance. It’s because of my talents, or lack thereof.”


“You see…” I began to explain. I could feel my cheeks flush. “I have never been able to catch a fly before today.”

“Oh, I see,” the fly replied. He smiled sadly for a few moments, attempting to emphasise with me. “Well, I suppose this is a tremendous achievement.”

“It truly is, yes. The problem is, if I let you go…”

“The success has gone to waste. Yes, I understand. My, this is a pickle.”

“I would hate to make you late for your meeting.”

“It’s quite an important meeting,” Bertie smiled. “But I understand if you choose to eat me. After all, it is what I’d do if I were in your position.”


“Oh, of course! I’d eat me in one huge bite.”

I smiled back at the fly. This was the first time I’d ever spoken to a fly, and I was genuinely surprised at his pleasantness. Overall, I had perceived flies to be vile, mischievous creatures that do nothing but undermine you. I was pleased to learn that there was some hope in the fly community. I scolded myself for stereotyping.

His kindness forced me to rethink my previous plans. There was nothing so dark inside of me that could wolf him down without mercy. I had to reconsider my values.

“Bertie,” I began. “Do you think you can reschedule your meeting?”

“I suppose I could. If I fail to show up to the meeting, they’re sure to postpone it.”

“I see.”

“Does this mean you’re not going to eat me?”

I sighed, embarrassed at myself. “I haven’t quite decided yet. Do you think that perhaps I could return tomorrow morning? I’ll have come to a decision by then.” I felt pathetic. How could I, a ruthless spider, show compassion for such an insignificant creature?

“That sounds marvellous. Of course, I’ll completely support either decision you make.”

The words of the fly filled me with hope. For the first time, the wonderful feeling of support fell over me. Even though we were discussing his possible death, the fly was comforting me. How could anybody so understanding? I wondered if his mother had taught him to be this way. It is, of course, one’s mother who teaches them life’s greatest lessons on how to be a benevolent being.

I bid the spider goodbye, and I headed on back home. I did not tell my Mother of my prisoner, as I was unsure on whether or not he would be freed yet. It was going to be a tough decision. For now, Bertie would be my little secret. The idea of a secret excited me! Never before had I ever had a secret all to myself. Today was such a thrilling day.


As promised, I returned to my fly today. Unfortunately, I fell asleep right away and did not ponder my decision as I intended to. I was still in two minds over the whole dilemma.  

On one hand, the fly was so generous and considerate. He had done nothing wrong to the world. The way he spoke was so gentle and wise that it would be immoral to just rip away his life.

On the other hand… this was the first fly I’d ever caught! This was my opportunity to show everybody what I was capable of. I could finally be accepted by my fellow peers, instead of being called all those nasty names. Plus, I was a spider. Spiders are not supposed to show mercy. We are supposed to devour our victims with little consideration because we are pitiless. We are determined and we are hungry. No matter how lovely a fly may appear, he was sure to taste much better.

When I arrived, the fly was exactly where I left him, although the poor chap was fast asleep. I dared not to wake him as he looked so peaceful. His quiet snores added a childlike persona to him. I admired him for a little while before he slowly started to wake up. While he saw me, he did not look alarmed. “Oh, good morning, spider,” he yawned. “Is it morning already? Golly, I guess I slept right through. Have you decided whether you’re going to eat me yet?”

I looked away briefly, ashamed. “I can’t say I’ve decided yet.”

“I see. Ah, well, then. Perhaps we can talk for a little while. I could help you decide.”

Thankful, I nodded.

“Now, let’s see here… Why is it that you want to eat me?”

“I don’t know. It’s just what spider’s do.”

“Is it? Why’s that?”

“To… prove themselves.”

“Prove what?”

“I want everyone to know that I can do things independently.”

“I see.” The fly nodded in understanding. He took a breath, and went to speak, but hesitated.

“What?” I asked.

“It’s just that… It seems to me you’re already pretty independent.”

“I am?”

“You walk on your own. Build webs on your own. Dream your own dreams. Live your own life.”

“That doesn’t mean anything.”

“Tell me, spider. Do you want to eat me to prove to everybody else that you’re a spider, or to prove to yourself that you’re a spider?”

“I…” I paused for a moment. I had never really contemplated the thought before. “People say nasty things to me, and it gets to me.”

“That may be so,” said the fly. “But deep down, I think you just lack confidence.”

I considered his words. Maybe he was right. Ever since I was young, I was bullied and the same stuff has eaten away at me. The things that people say to me now I have gotten used to. Maybe the root of my problems was not what people said, but what I informed myself I was. Their words had convinced me that I was a different spider than I truly was. Maybe there was a difference between the real me and the lie that I had told myself.

“You see, spider,” he continued. “It doesn’t matter what everyone else says. Sticks and stones, and whatnot. All that matters is that you believe in yourself.”

“I did believe in myself. I believed that I could catch a fly.”

“And you did.”

I began to grin. “I did.”

“All by yourself.”

“All by myself.”

“And if you kill me… Who’s going to tell the tale?”

My smile faded. “You’ll tell everyone I escaped. Then they’ll laugh at how incompetent I am.”

“Quite the contrary, spider. I’ll tell the story of the compassionate spider. The spider that let me go. The spider who defied the norms of being a spider.”

“What good will that do?” I scoffed.

“Folks love a good twist. They’re gonna love you. It’s rare to meet a spider who offers such compassion. It’ll be amazing, just you wait.”

“Who would you tell?”

“Everybody. You see, spider, I’m a journalist. I can put our story in the Weekly Fly and soon everybody will want to meet you. You’ll be famous!”



I squinted my eyes, trying to make sense of it all. This fly, who I had captured and seized into my web, was offering to make me something of a celebrity. The whole concept of it all was difficult to wrap my head around. “What’s the catch?”

“Absolutely nothing. It won’t cost you a penny. Of course, you’ll just have to… get me out of this web here. Once I’m free, I’ll make a name out of you.”

The idea of fame excited me. Perhaps this was my opportunity to make something out of myself. By resisting being a coldblooded spider, I could become something so much better. I didn’t have to do anything I would regret.

“What do you say?” Bertie asked. “Do we have a deal?”


Never in my life did I expect that I, Tory, a mere spider, would amount to so much. The past few weeks have been incredible. My entire perspective on the world has changed entirely. Bertie seems to have a compromising position at his newspaper company as I became front page news! Either that or the news was rather bland that day. What do flies read about anyway? The bee’s pollen stock market? I highly doubt that would interest them as bees tend to keep private matters amongst themselves. Nonetheless, I did not expect to see my face on the front cover. I was all posed with half my legs on the ground in a casual yet bold stance, while my other four legs were displaying my muscles.  I’m sure that all the ladies swooned when they caught a glimpse of my dashing posture.

Now, people actually treat me with sincere respect. Flies and spiders alike, believe it or not! Of course, the fly community swarmed around me after that article. At first, they questioned my approachability, anxious that if they were to press the wrong button they would cause me to suddenly turn on them and gobble them right up.  That never happened, although I did secretly wonder what would have happened if I retaliated like that. The flies soon got used to me and welcomed me into their lovely community. The girls would pander for autographs, while the guys would often stare at me with envy, wondering what I had that they didn’t.

I expected the spider community to immediately shun me. However, something rather unexpected happened.  Instead of banishing me, they investigated the antics. They discovered that the fly guys weren’t exactly as bad as they thought they were. For a long time, there has been a rivalry between the species. After all, spiders are expected to hunt them for food, but some of the spiders started to question why it was we did that.

The most obvious explanation was that we are so much bigger and wiser than flies. We have a clear power over them, and we should use that to our advantage. The spiders had failed to see the other side of the story. Even if we were so much stronger than the creatures, it did not make it right for us to capture them and eat them. They were intelligent beings that deserved so much more respect than that.

I am very proud to say that I opened the spider community to a brand new world. They were stunned to see that the flies weren’t as roguish as they appeared. True, the buzzing was borderline annoying, but that was something we all got used to.

The spiders found a new method of eating food. Scientists developed a new type of food that supplies us with enough nutrients as the average fly would. The stuff is made from these all natural ingredients. Three drops of the meal a day with a small price of one rosebud per serving was a deal that you just could not beat. They aptly named it: Spider Food. I wanted to go for “Tory Bites” but nobody really seemed to like that idea.

This food saved the tedious effort of planning and constructing a web to catch a fly.  Most of us still build webs for fun, and we have competitions based on speed and talent. Occasionally, flies do get trapped in them, which we all laugh off and set them free.

I waited all of my life to catch a fly. I waited all my life to finally fit in. For once, everything seems to be going right. It’s almost… suspicious.

But, whatever.  I’m happy. That’s all that matters to me.

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