Fly roping is a comical concept introduced to me in The Death of Jack Hamilton, which is a short story by Stephen King. You may be thinking that roping flies refers to some idea with a deep philosophical meaning, but it quite literaly means the action of lassoing flys.

The concept is demonstrated by a close friend of John Dillinger in the story, Homer Van Meter. Homer apparently picked up the skill at Pendleton Reformatory and it was not taught, he just kind of figured it out one day. The following is an excerpt from the story that actually displays the fly roping.

A privy's a damned fine place for fly roping. I took up my station outside the door, then proceeded to make loops in the pieces of thread Rabbits had given to me. After that, there was nothing to it except not moving much. Tose were the skills I'd learned on the mat. You don't forget them.

It didn't take long. Flies are out in early May, but they're slow flies. And anyone who thinks it's impossible to lasso a horsefly...well, all I can say is, if you want a challenge, try mosquitoes.

I took three casts and got my first one. That was nothing; there were times on the mat when I'd spend half the morning before I got my first. Right after I snagged him, Rabbits cried out, "What in God's name are you doing? Is it magic?"

From a distance, it did look like magic. You have to imagine how it appeared to her, twenty yards away; man standing by a privy throws out a little piece of thread - at nothing, so far as you can see - but, instead of drifting to the ground, the thread hangs in midair! It was attached to a good-sized horsefly. Johnnie would have seen it, but Rabbits didn't have Johnnie's eyes.

This excerpt is fairly comical and I really like the part about trying to lasso mosquitoes as a challenge. For information's sake, Rabbits is a girlfriend of one of the gang members.


This node is meant to complement The Death of Jack Hamilton node.

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