Greenheads Are People, Too


greenheads prepped

Two greenheads are dressing in the women’s locker room after a long day at Crane Beach.

“Good summer?”

“Nah, not that great.”

“Me neither.”

“Took a chunk out of Brenda McCarthy today. No big deal.”

“I got Heidi Bartlett last week.”

“Don Francis in Week 1. Shoulda heard him howl!”

“But such a rainy summer. One day I had to fly all the way to Mitchell Road to find an exposed neck. Got some farmer lady in an orchard.”

“Just doesn’t seem to be as much fun as it was when we were young.”


“I remember that first summer on the marsh, as a little larva. Almost 200 of us. Starving! Mucking through the mud and the thatch, hungry for anything.”

“I found an earthworm that summer.”

“I ate my brother.”

“You do what you have to do, I guess.”

“Gotta bulk up to form that pupa, so you can hunker down for that first winter.”

“It is New England, after all.”

“But then — wow! Busting out of that pupa in the spring — kapow! Hormones!”

“I know, right? I was like, Where’s Mr. Right? Aw, heck, you’ll do!”

(A sigh.) “It was good, that first time.”

“Yeah, but then wham! You’re pregnant! And then wham! You’re delivering. And delivering, and delivering.”

“I guess it just goes with being a Tabanus nigrovittatus. I had 192 larvae, my first time out.”

“And then, the moment they wheel you into recovery, kaboom! The hunger pangs! Out of nowhere! You’ve never had a drop of blood in your life, but for some reason, all of a sudden, you can’t think of anything but the red stuff.”

“That summer, there was nobody, I mean nobody on the beach.”

“I just started going house to house. I bit Mr. Wasserman.”

“Good for you.”

“But this year has been the worst. So many good flies disappearing into those black boxes.”

“I try to tell them, ‘Don’t do it! It’s a trap!’ But they’re all like, ‘It’s big and dark like a horse or something, and I’m starving!’ And zip! They’re gone.”

“It’s sad. I lost almost a thousand of my closest girlfriends in a single hour last month.”

“I swear, I’ve thought about just throwing in the towel. Shoot into a black box, hang up the ol’ bra, call it a day.”

“Ginny! No!”

“I’m tellin’ ya, I’ve had 857 kids this summer, and I’m tired.”

“You’ll feel better soon. I’m sure of it. Our life cycle isn’t that long.”

“I’m sick of this! The men don’t go out and hunt for blood. The men don’t plop down in the mucky marsh and pop out 150 babies at a time. The men don’t have to dodge flyswatters and bite horse skin and have their dinner punctuated by shrieking children. For the men, it’s just sex and veggies, sex and veggies. Nectar! Fruit juice! They have no need for blood protein! They live on carbs! I hate them!”

“Ginny, come on. Hey. I love that green eye shadow.”

“Don’t try to make me feel better. You’re always so cheery. ‘Ipswich! We get to live in Ipswich!’ Like a world-class beach somehow makes it OK that you have 857 kids.”

“Well, you don’t exactly have to take care of them all. I mean, look, you’re not a mother duck.”

“The greenhead life is a drag, Doris. It’s all strategy, strategy, strategy. I got Penny Bernard by waiting under the top of her boat. I got Valda Winsloe on the river. But it’s getting harder and harder. Chuck Kollars doesn’t even roll down the windows of his PT Cruiser during most of July. I got all the way to Jim Engel’s place on outer Linebrook, looked around, and I was the only fly around. It was embarrassing.”

“I know, honey. Things will get better.”

“I’m tired of being written up on Wicked Local. I’m tired of landing on a slathering of Skin So Soft and spending the next hour licking it off. Glecch!

“Come on, let’s go get something to drink. There’s a Catholic family having a backyard barbecue this evening. A bloody Mary will do you good.”

Outer Linebrook Road resident Doug Brendel sometimes polls his friends on Facebook and uses their responses to write “The Outsidah.” Like today. If you’re not on Facebook, contact him via


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