Life as an Antagonist

I haven't had the joy of parenting a teenager, so I have little direct experience as an antagonist in someone else's drama. At least, not that I'm aware of. Except for...never mind.

However, I live in the country (stay with me), where the line between "indoors" and "outdoors" is porous. Periodically, critters get confused.

At the moment, we're dealing with some flies. Big, slow-moving flies. And I am their antagonist -- even their nemesis. Today, I have armed myself with a vacuum cleaner. I have conducted several sorties against them and emerged victorious in battle, though I have not yet (and may never) win the war.

Because I have seen enough advertisements in my life, and I have watched enough episodes of CSI: Wherever in my life, I know what the presence of flies indicates. (Where you see X vermin, 10X actually exist. Flies are a reliable indicator of the time of death of something, which means...never mind that, either.) Yuck.

To distract myself from those trains of thought, I have been imagining myself as a character in their epic struggle for survival. And that means I have to accept that I'm their antagonist. In their version of this story, I am Sauron, intentionally destroying "their way of life."

It's kind of fun, not that I enjoy the wanton destruction of life. I do, however, enjoy having a problem that's relatively easy to take care of, even if it means the vacuum hose has to lie around on the floor all day, since the flies persist with valiant tenacity in spite of my obvious superior vacuum ability. Periodically they regroup in clusters on the windows and sliding glass doors, and I have another go at them. But as problems go, mine beats African famine and the idiocy of American politics.

It's also a good reminder to me. I tend to fall in love with my characters and wish that no harm befall them. Since I have the power to make sure their lives consist of sitting around tables drinking coffee and chatting, they tend to do that a lot. However, for the characters to grow as actual human beings (and BE IN AN INTERESTING STORY for crying out loud), they need to overcome adversity, and I do want that for them as well.

Basically, they need antagonists with whom to struggle. Also known as conflict, which I also hate to inflict on people, even when I have made up those people.

So, as I point the end of the hose toward the metal tray at the bottom of the sliders and hear the satisfying *thwunk thwunk* of dime-sized bodies being sucked toward Oblivion, I think, "What I really need is to fall in love with someone who wants the opposite of my protagonist, and that will improve the believability of my antagonist."

Aha! That's how to fix this stupid novel. I mean, this novel I adore that doesn't frustrate me at all. Not to mention a few other short stories that as yet, uh, haven't found their final focus.

Meanwhile, take that, flies! I know that in the Cosmic Story I'm Goliath, and you Davids eventually will have the last laugh (or snack, not to be gruesome about it), so I will not crow too loudly about my victory. But today, victory I shall have! *Thwunk.*