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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Little Malarial Mosquito That Could (Almost)

Better luck next time, fucko.

Most inspiring tales have humble beginnings, and what could be more humble than a mud puddle in equatorial Africa? Even in the lowly world of larva, your mud puddle was nasty and nothing to write home about. Almost the moment you got airborne out of that pestilential backwater, a fierce wind carried you north across the great Sahara desert where another wind, the sirocco, swept you farther north and out over the Mediterranean Sea. During the flight, other mosquitoes in your swarm told stories of older siblings who had the fortune of landing on cruise ships in the Mediterranean, ships full of fat, thin-skinned tourists who provided an eating orgy for the half-starved mosquitoes on this same pilgrimage. All your party can muster up en route is a garbage scow registered in Liberia with a crew so scraggly and diseased that you decide to hold out for better prospects.

It has been over a week since you said goodbye to your little mud puddle, a week of adventure and little blood. Just when you think that you can’t hold out any longer and are about to do a belly flop in the sea, you see lights on the horizon. Someone in the swarm who has made this trip says that it is Rome up ahead. Ah Rome, the Eternal City. You have always wanted to see Rome. Maybe you will stick it to the Pope, so to speak. The Coliseum would be a good spot to hunt…oops. A strong easterly sweeps you back out to sea. Goodbye Rome, hello Valencia, Spain.

You would have liked to check out the beach as there is less in the way of clothes to get to bare skin. Instead you finally come down in the heart of the city. It is something like 3 a.m. and there is no one in the street. Almost crazed with hunger you fly up, and up. Somewhere in one of these endless apartment buildings there awaits your first meal in over seven days. You fly into an apartment on the sixth floor. No pesky screens in this country. The kitchen and living rooms are empty. As you attempt to enter the bedroom you are repulsed by a chemical being emitted from a socket on the wall. The anti-mosquito device is just too powerful.

Is this to be the end, not only for you but also for the malaria protozoan parasite that rode as a stowaway all the way from the steamy jungles of Africa? What a cruel evolutionary demise for the both of you. “Adiós, protozoan parasite. Adiós, little mosquito.” You land on this strange plastic thing that hums quietly. Death is near.

But then someone enters the room, and get this, HE ISN’T WEARING A SHIRT! You are almost delirious from hunger and it is difficult to see in the darkness. The great shirtless one sits down and touches the strange plastic thing that hums quietly. Miraculously the strange plastic thing lights up. It is like seeing a lighthouse in a storm. You point your needle and fly as fast as you can, sticking it into the hilt in his chest. You take out so much blood that you almost faint. What happened to protozoan parasite? I guess this is where he gets off. He didn't even thank you for the ride. You don’t want to, but you pull out your needle and flap your wings. You are so full that it is going to take extra effort to get off the ground again. You flap your wings furiously and start to move just as you see something coming your way. It is a long limb with five digits at the end. What could it be?


Note to self: buy a can of aerosol bug spray for when I can’t sleep at night and want to do some writing at my desk which is outside the range of the bug zapper I have in the bedroom.

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