Viola Pemprin was allergic to everything in the entire universe, almost. She was allergic to nuts, soy, milk. She was allergic to grass, pollen and dust. However her greatest, most tragic allergy was her allergy to animals. She absolutely adored animals! She had seen every animal documentary National Geographic had ever made. She had David Attenborough on speed dial, and had written Jane Goodall at least twenty letters asking for specific details on various school reports she had written on primates. Her greatest desire in life was to become the worlds foremost expert on animals. She loved the creatures that slithered, crawled, hopped, and flew. Feathered, scaled, furred, or bare, she adored them all! Unfortunately, she was also allergic to them all.
Viola begged her parents to let her have pets, but every time she nears a pet store she breaks out in horrible hives. Then her eyes swell to the size of tennis balls and drain a yellow ooze . Her parents discovered her allergy when they took her to a petting zoo for her second birthday. She was so excited to go to the petting zoo! She ran straight at the llama closest the entrance and hugged him as tight as she could. When she let go her eyes were swollen shut, and they stayed that way for an entire week. When she was three they bought a hypo-allergenic puppy, thinking that this would solve the problem. Her hands broke out so badly she couldn’t even put her legos together. So they traded the puppy in for a goldfish, and then another, and then another. Then they discovered that they were not very good gold fish owners. That was the end of Viola’s pet ownership, . . . until she came up with a creative solution.
Viola found an apple core one day, with a lonely fruit fly feeding on it. The fruit fly was fascinating to her. She loved this lone little fruit fly, with it’s tiny little wings, and it’s spirited personality. She played hide and seek with it. Viola took that fly home with her. She showed it to her mother, who was terrified at the prospect of a fly as a pet. Yet she was so proud of her daughters ingenuity that she didn’t object, . . . too much. She allowed Viola to raise the fly as a pet, after laying down a few ground rules. One, she could have no more than four pet flies at a time; and two, each fly needed to live exclusively in it’s terrarium. Viola named her fly Cygnus, after her favorite constellation. She put Cygnus in a glass case, and watched him zoom around every afternoon after school. One day Cygnus began to look sad, and Viola realized that her pet must be lonely. She put a piece of banana out on the counter overnight and in the morning there were several flies eating it. She set a trap and caught three. Viola then put three in the cage with Cygnus. He looked so happy to have friends. Viola named the others Phoenix, Pegasus, and Draco. She loved to study her pets. She made a park for them in their tank. She wound a straw around a soda can, and created a slide, she hung silly bands from fishing line to make swings for them. She saved her fruit cores from lunch time and brought them to her pets for food.
Viola had them for about a week before she realized that there were extras flying around. There were nearly fifteen little flies zooming around in the cage, and it looked as if things were getting a cramped. Cygnus looked less than happy to be squished in with all the others. She put a few layers of cheesecloth in her net, and gathered her pets up. Then she put fishing line leashes on each of them. Once they were all ready they went on a walk around the block, except that her pets actually flew, and not walked. Once they got to the park, she let all of the flies go except her original four. She cried as she saw the new babies leaving. She walked back home and was grateful for her little friends.
It became a weekly outing. The tank would get crowded, and she would walk and release the extras. She learned about her pets. She learned that flies laid eggs, then pupae hatched from them. After eating for a while the pupae would close themselves up in shells, When they emerged they would be grown up flies. She wrote papers about them. Her science fair project was titled, “Flies and their effect on the environment.” She studied how flies aided in decomposition of natural materials. Her report included a detailed diagram proposing waste disposal improvements that could be put into effect. She won first place, which included a scholarship to UC Davis Entomology program. She became a world renowned entomologist, and won the Nobel Peace Prize when she solved the Worldwide Refuse Crisis of 2045. Her mother was so proud. She still has four pets that she calls Cygnus, Draco, Phoenix, and Pegasus.