Copyright 2016 Mario V. Farina
Shakespir Edition, License Notes
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1In 1886, Robert Louis Stevenson published the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It was a work of fiction; however, Mr. Stevenson did not reveal that there was a real Henry Jekyll working as a chemist in London. It was the Dr. Jekyll’s life’s purpose to learn all he could about the little understood lives of animals and insects. There was actually a potion that he invented and imbibed to turn himself into various forms of living creatures. The story of his life as Mr. Hyde has already been reported but not his life as Mr. Fly.
In order to become a fly, Dr. Jekyll would take measured doses of his potion that had been especially formulated to turn him into a fly. The larger the dose the longer he would linger in the state of a fly; the smaller the dose, the less the time. In the anatomy of a fly he retained all the intelligence and knowledge he had gained as a doctor, but in this embodiment, he was a true fly. He usually made his adventurous experiments in the safety of the late hours of the day. Dr. Jekyll, while as a fly, understood himself to be Mr. Fly.
To become a fly, Dr. Jekyll would enter his lab and stand at a bench. He would measure out the dose needed and down all of it with one deep draught. His body would immediately dwindle and change shape to form a fly in the same way that had happened when he changed to Mr. Hyde. In his embodiment as a fly, though, he would be naked. The clothing that he had worn would lay on the floor where he had been standing.
In his experiments, he would become a fly for the time designated, then return to being Dr. Jekyll after time had run out. He would be a fly for periods of half an hour to several hours, then return to his lab to await a return to his natural form. While a fly, Mr. Fly experienced all the attributes and hazards of a fly. Mr. Fly would fly only when safe to do so and only where it was safe. To study the habits of insects, he would travel to sites habituated by them
Mr. Fly was not an evil entity as Mr. Hyde had been. The fact is his studies were made to be of benefit to humankind. There were times, however, when his actions were not entirely ethical. For example, whenever he had an opportunity in a restaurant, he would help himself to portions of food in diner’s dishes. He had no qualms about this since he knew he had not trampled in decease-laden areas and would not cause diners any harm. He needed to be agile, however, since some diners would notice what he was doing and take a swat at him.
Once he went to observe the operation of a Venus Fly Trap. He knew what the action was going to be. If an insect, such as a fly, entered a danger area, spines would close around it and begin the process of devouring it. Once caught, a victim would have very little opportunity of escaping. When Mr. Fly was observing, he would sit motionless near one of these plants. Then, he would watch as a victim, such as a fly or a bug, entered the trap and become snagged. The struggles of the creatures were painful to view but there was nothing he could do. Mr. Fly could not speak in fly or bug language. Mr. Fly would thank God that he was human despite his shape and had the intelligence not to be caught in one of these inhumane plants.
Mr. Fly did have an unfortunate accident at one time. He was careless in one of his flights when landing and dropped on to a sheet of fly paper. He knew at once that he was in trouble. He had seen the travail of flies embroiled in the same situation. But he had the intelligence of a doctor. He felt this should help him break loose. But it didn’t. His legs had become stuck in the paper too tightly for escape. Fortunately, there was nobody around and all he had to do was wait out his time period as a fly. Mr. Fly endured his entrapment for an hour, then re-materialized as a human. But, as Dr. Jekyll, he was a naked human. He left the room and made his way back to the lab under fearsome conditions. It was a cold day in December; there was snow on the ground, and though it was about seven in the evening, there were many pedestrians on the street. Keeping out of sight for several city blocks he made it back to his lab where his clothing lay. Mr. Fly remembered this night as the Night of Mr. Fly’s Flypaper Caper.
Dr. Jekyll’s ability to change to a fly worked to his advantage one time. Whenever he transformed himself to Mr. Hyde, he would make sure there was in his clothing a vial containing sufficient potion to transform himself to a fly. He was captured by the police one time when he was found snooping near women’s quarters on Smithson Street in London. While waiting in a holding cell to be processed, he transformed himself into a fly and hastened back to his laboratory. When the police were ready to question him and went to the holding cell, all they found was abandoned clothing on the floor with no means of identification.
Perhaps, Mr. Fly’s most dangerous time came once when he was flying around in someone’s home searching for insects to study. He was discovered by an inhabitant of the house who was carrying a can of insect repellent. Mr. Fly was given a huge charge of insect repellent. It turned out that insect repellent had an attribute that Mr. Fly had not known about. This was that insect repellent behaved as an antidote to the potion that Dr. Fly had taken to become a fly. Mr. Fly began to slowly materialize to the form of a human. Observing this, the sprayer became so distraught that he turned and fled the room in abject fright. At this time, Mr. Fly had the appearance more of a transparent ghost than a human. He needed to make a ghastly walk back to his lab to wait for time to run out and resume being Dr. Jekyll.
Dr. Jekyll decided that being a fly was too dangerous a form whereby he would survive long and determined not to continue the practice of transforming himself. But he felt he had learned a good deal about the behavior or insects. He referred to this period of time as the time when he had been a respected doctor by day and a fly by night.