Even though Proboscis Pete – a.k.a. The Festival Fly – may look like a fly with his small oval calloused face and wrap-around shades, he only ever sits on good shit.

In any event, the drug he deals – panorazapam, an incredibly potent but essentially (thus far) harmless substance – contains a compound which amazingly gives the user compound eyes, not that anyone would know to look at someone under the influence, for the most eye-popping thing about this drug is that it achieves its compound eye effect without making a person’s eyeballs increase in size.

Dubbed the “bug drug” by the press, panorazapam works in two stages. First, it induces binary fission in the eyes and then, roughly an hour later, reverses it – and though the process is intense and sometimes scary, it amazingly works without there being any lasting damage done at all to a person’s sight.

Basically, as soon as the pill has been popped, and over the course of a minute or so, the user briefly goes blind as both eyes in unison continually split and reproduce themselves in increasingly miniaturised form until there are hundreds of tiny versions of the original crammed into each eye socket (but all now colorized to overall give the impression that the user has a normal-sized pupil, iris and sclera still intact). Then, at the end of this rapid-eye-morphing, sight is not just restored but the brain, on a temporary basis, is re-wired – so that, for thirty quid, and within a few minutes of popping a pill, you’ll be capable of looking at dozens, if not hundreds, of different happenings in your now panoramic field of vision, all at the very same time.

After all, the biggest problem at a festival is that there’s always far too much for one person to see at any given moment. Now, though, as you’re watching your favourite band on stage – and simultaneously watching the ecstatic crowd, the turbulent sky, the lit-up Ferris wheel, your dancing feet, a guy who’s walking around on stilts, the piss-weak beer in your hand that you’re raising now to your mouth, and even a fly which, having landed on your arm, is looking back at you and everything else around you as well – you’ll be able to keep an eye or three or thirty peeled for Proboscis Pete to request another top-up.

His gear will blow your mind – though, of course, there are, as ever, side-effects. For instance, there’s the so-called ‘Venus fly-trap’ feeling. You watch: ask anyone who’s on the drug to get into a hammock and they’ll always refuse.

And most will never get into a sleeping bag either. A sleeping bag is like a pupa, and just getting into one while under the influence can induce a pupal state that’s sometimes irreversible. There are some, however, who love to dice with danger, and will deliberately wrap themselves up as tight as they can. These crazy people are known as ‘cocoon kooks’.

Nothing, though, it seems, can diminish this drug’s appeal. It’s believed that even young kids at festivals are being given pills to pop, and the tabloid press, as ever, is outraged: Bug-eyed Britain was last week’s front page headline in the Mail.

And though he may have become the police’s number one target, Proboscis Pete is proving to be as hard to catch as a real fly. Maybe if the cops start taking the drug themselves they might just stand a better chance of apprehending this mysterious and elusive drug-dealing fly guy.









Thomas McColl lives in London and has recently been published in Push, Paper & Ink, Hand Job Zine, Shift Lit, International Times and Liars’ League London. His first full collection of flash fiction and poetry, Being With me Will Help You Learn, is out now from Listen Softly London Press.