Stan, who’s on a quest to discover the meaning of life (or, at least, the missing part of an evening’s half-moon), explores the outermost limits of hospitality. During his travels, a fly alights on his shepherd’s pie, and asks for a bite: without it, “I could die.” The fly is an “intruder,” and in his hungry haste has overstepped the boundary marking the limit of the stranger. And, of course, flies are often considered pests, as well as carriers of parasites, bacterial disease, and viruses. Stan might be tempted to swat it quick, since the meal may be tainted. But his rejoinder is surprisingly open to the other: “Take your fill, take nothing less.” (Mind you: the fly can’t have it all, because Stan needs to eat, too.) Stan’s reward is a flight on its back to visit Mad John, who may know the world’s secrets. But one already has been revealed: “living” alongside others involves taking your chances. A plague of flies is no fun, but worse would be an ecology without them.
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