Monday, May 5, 2014

112. Watching the Idiot Mosquitos From Inside Your Tent

A young woman sits inside her tent. She is breathing heavily, having used the last of her energy to zip open the door, fling herself inside, and zip the door closed behind her in one smooth motion. In spite of her intrepid speed, a few of the most robust mosquitos make it through the brief opening. Giving those mosquitos the benefit of intelligence gives them far too much credit. No, they were simply the lucky few that got caught in the airwave as the woman hurled herself like a shot-put into her mesh bedroom.

She crosses her legs and waits quietly, cocking her head slightly to one side. Weeks of experience has given her the ability to determine the proximity of mosquitos based on the volume of their buzzing. in this way, she can determine if any of them made it inside, and if so, where they are. She focuses the beam of her headlamp on one corner of the tent, and a few rogue insects collect themselves obligingly into the pool of light. They are looking for the source of warmth and brightness. They find only a quick death.

The woman curls her lip a little, dusting the jumbled collection of wings and legs off of her thumb. Outside, tens of thousands of mosquitos swarm and hover, desperate and confused. They dance on the invisible plumes of carbon dioxide that float up and away from the tent, trying in vain to find the source of the delicious exhalations, and finding only mesh and nylon. Inside, the young woman breathes a sigh of relief.

As she breathes out, something in the beam of her headlamp catches her eye. She looks closer, and is amazed to see one of the stupidest things she has ever seen:

A mosquito is clutching the outside of the tent, squirming against the tent material, awash in her breath. It has stuck its proboscis (biting nose) through one of the minuscule holes of the mesh, as though hoping the young woman will simply lean against the wall of the tent so that it can bite her. The hole in the mesh is not big enough for the mosquito's entire body, so it is acting on faith alone.

She reaches up very slowly so as not to startle the creature. Then, when her fingers are only inches away, she strikes with lightning speed, pinching the tiny proboscis between her thumb and forefinger. Outside the tent, the mosquito struggles madly, confused and probably very unhappy. The young woman feels intoxicated with power, resists the urge to cackle, but allows herself one tiny eye twitch of insane victory.

All day long, for days and weeks on end, her skin has been the victim of an endless assault. She has been bitten more times than she can count, and everyone keeps yelling at her not to scratch the bites. She is tired and itchy and sweaty and for just this one brief moment, not only is she free from the droves, she also has one of their number, helpless and caught in her delicate but dirty fingers.

And with no ceremony at all, Whistle yanks the proboscis right off that jerk mosquito's face, and goes to sleep.

Clever Girl

1 comment: