Ain't no flies on me. ZAP. Ain't no flies on me. THWAP. There may be flies on the trees in Van Nuys, but there ain't no flies on me . . .

I've been sitting here testing out the new Flyshooter (The Original Bug Gun!), which I picked up at the drugstore for $2.98. There are a lot of things you can buy at the drugstore for $2.98. A hairnet, for example. Or a truss. But they don't kill bugs half as good as this baby.

Just lock the spring in place, aim, and with a fiendish laugh reminiscent of Peter Lorre plugging some human fly in the ointment of life, pull the trigger.


There, on the counter, another corpse. My third of the day.

The gun is made of blue plastic with a round plastic swatter on the end. When the trigger is pulled, the swatter pops out. It sounds like a cork popping out of the world's smallest champagne bottle.


Maybe I should call California Gov. Jerry Brown. Jerry, I'll say, you don't need malathion to kill all those Medflies. You need Flyshooters! Imagine it. Troops of Californians marching through the fruit orchards, whistling the theme to "Bridge Over the River Fly," popping off those fruity-cooties by the pound.

If anything can do it, the Flyshooter can. According to the package, it:

Is designed and engineered for the right speed and range to swat flies.

Kills flies without the ugly mess of a fly swatter.

Helps you rid your area of flies, being beneficial to everyone.

Your Flyshooter, it says, is not for anyone under 8 and should not be left in a loaded position. My husband can attest to that. While practicing my aim, I accidently shot him in the nose. He didn't mind the pain. It was those itty-bitty fly feet stuck on the swatter.

Which is why, according to the directions, "washing periodically in a common detergent is advisable."

It travels well, also. One fellow we know even took his Flyshooter to Africa.

What demented soul could have invented this squirt gun of gloom?

"I did," says Martin Bellokin, 26-year-old entrepreneur from Wisconsin whose company, Martin Paul Inc., has sold 3.5 million Flyshooters in the last three years.

"We got some flies up here, they'll pick you up and carry you away if you're not careful."

Bellokin, soldier of financial fortune, got the idea one steamy August day in the woods of Wisconsin. "Those flies were buzzing around, and I started swatting them with my hand. I thought to myself, 'Why can't someone invent something to shoot these things?' Well, why not me!"

He took his idea to his father, an industrial engineer, and together they worked out the design, purchased the material and test-marketed their product. "We thought everybody could use one of these. I mean, flies are all over the world! They just keep coming. The sales potential is unlimited," he says in a telephone interview.

Bellokin, who is "definitely against the fly," didn't know how "dangerous" the insects were until he began researching the subject. "We were going to write a little book to go along with the Flyshooter, but we found out so many disgusting things, it would be a turnoff."

So, instead of a book, Bellokin listed some FLY FACTS on the package. For example:

One fly can carry more than 33 million disease-causing microorganisms on the inner and outer surfaces of its body.

Flies feed and reproduce on filth, decaying matter, water and have even been known to lay their eggs in live flesh.

One successful hatch can be well over 2 million!

He ends the list with an anti-fly battle cry: "Let's all combat these dangerous germ-carrying insect invaders!"

Whooooa. No so fast, all you rootin'-shootin' flyboys.

"There are tremendous things about the flies which are good," says Dr. Wayne Mathis, associate curator of entomology at the Smithsonian Institution.

Right, Doc. Name one.

"For example," Mathis says, "one of the main enemies of the gypsy moth are flies. There are flies that are responsible for pollination. Many eat aphids. And you know all those dead carcasses you see on the side of the road -- flies clean them up. It's a great service!"

Martin Bellokin thinks he's done mankind a great service.

"It really does work," he says of the bug gun. "A lot of people think it's a gimmick, but I hope someday it will replace fly swatters."

If not, it makes great potato pancakes. SPLAT.