First ran in Sunday, July 18, 2021 editions of Louisiana Gannett papers

The mosquitoes have got to know by now that as soon as they bite you, the party is over.

At least one mosquito now and then, maimed by an angry human palm but alive, has had to have limped back to the herd and, on crutches and with an Ace bandage on one limp wing, shaking from the near-death experience, told the others, “Look, we can bite them, but if we do, they’re out for blood too, just like us. If the flyswatter had been a centimeter longer, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”

I’ve slapped myself in the face, side, neck, ear. Everywhere, just about. The penetrating skeeter bite sets off a Survival Slap we have little control over. I’ve almost knocked myself out popping my forehead, automatically and involuntarily. The process usually goes A) mosquito bite, B) involuntary piercing scream, C) savage Survival Slap.

Vicious cycle.

Often the little flying monsters miss or they hit and run — but now and again there is that sweet dark smear on your palm. Victory for the good guys — us. He bit, and then he bit the dust.

Actually, it’s SHE bit the dust. Only female mosquitoes, not the males, bite. (There’s a joke here like “This does not surprise me one bit,” but in the current political climate, the risk-reward is not worth taking.)

What are the guy mosquitoes doing? Probably playing cards. Hanging out at the club. You can tell them apart from the female mosquitoes because they usually have a tiny little golf bag hanging off their shoulder. And they’re poorly dressed.

And they’re not biting you.

But female mosquitoes, at least in these Southern United States, qualify as the most feared of all the animals in the Animal Kingdom. You can see a rhino or a bear sneaking up on you and run. Staying out of the water assures you of avoiding sharks. But female mosquitoes, tiny kamikaze killers, are sneaky vampires with wings.

I hate them.

Since the menfolk mosquitoes won’t control their mates, we are fighting back. My spousal unit has, we think, Skeeter Syndrome, which is really A Thing. People with this unfortunate malady are allergic to the proteins in mosquito saliva more than most and have a more severe reaction to skeeter bites than others who aren’t as allergic. If a skeeter bites my spousal, it’s likely that within seconds, there will be a circle of swelling the size of a dime or quarter around the bite.


Having witnessed an attack on my beloved Saturday, July 3, I sprang into action and went forthwith to Fighting Mosquitoes R Us and bought the anti-skeeter candles, some repellents, and a Zapper, the electronic blue lantern thing that attracts the pests and zaps them in their nether regions and into the next world, which is a world where they sit in a lawn chair trying to read the paper and tiny humans bite THEM.

We set up fortifications, and soon the back yard smelled like citronella with just a hint of foreboding death. To paraphrase Robert Duvall in Apocalypse Now, “Oh, how I love the smell of citronella in the evening.” It was a joy unspeakable to hear the first electronic ZAAAAP! at 6:15 that evening, a tune that played well into the night. It would be a lie to say I’m anything less than thrilled to study the Zapper and see the dozens the mosquito carcasses (carci?) hanging from its spiny electronic bones.

Skeeters have a place in nature, I know. But the purpose they serve is one we will never be at peace with. So we fight. The battle will never be won, but we must fight. We must soldier on. We must bite back.


Mosquito Song

The buzz I hear

around my ear

ignites a panic.

Expanding fear.


While I am chillin’

a skeeter villain’s

out for blood —

He needs a’killin.


But wait a second.

Hold the phone.

Nature says

that would be wrong.


They serve a purpose

in the chain,

part of the

Ecosystem Game.


Besides the fact

they pollinate,

they serve as food

on nature’s plate.


The bat, the bird,

the reptile too,

enjoy them some

Mosquito Stew.


Though that might be

I cannot see

the upside of them

biting me.


I’ll try to slaughter

all I see —

though Momma Nature

frowns on me.


She always wins,

this much is true:

Bit if you don’t —

Bit if you do.