It’s time for the sounds and smells of summer: barbecue, people splashing in pools, coconut suntan lotion, happy laughter, freshly-mown lawns, all is happy, happy, happy as people rejoice in the sunlight—except for me, of course, since I’ve been hiding in my darkened house as soon as the flocks of mosquitoes started returning from whatever nightmarish place they spent the winter at.
Yes, I know that supposedly they lay eggs that somehow survive the winter’s cold, and those eggs hatch into larva, which grow up to suck blood and lay more eggs to survive the winter, but I don’t believe it. Have you ever seen a mosquito nest? Me, neither. What really happens is they follow the sun to torment South Americans. Mosquitoes live many years, and all of them speak fondly of me, their Promised Land of white, soft skin that conceals the most delicious and nourishing liquid.
Not all of the mosquitoes hunt me, of course. Half of the mosquitoes are male, which only feed on nectar and Big Macs. The blood suckers are all deadly, single-minded females. (They are called Hillarys by biologists.)
Even though I’ve purchased enough insecticide to permanently alter the DNA of my entire town and my downwind neighbors are threatening to file an EPA suit, the mosquitoes remain.
It was perfect weather for them critters last night. No wind, lots of moisture in the stream near my house. They're breeding like ... well, something that breeds real fast. Mormons, for instance. And those little vampires find me mighty tasty.
In fact, I am the mosquito equivalent of French food. My blood tastes rich, creamy, and delicious. When they bite me, they have such a blissful expression on their little insect faces. You can tell they're thinking, "Yes, oh, yes, this is what I've been searching for my whole life!" Sometimes they break into song: "Oh sweet mystery of life, at last I've found you ..." Then I squash them because they can't sing worth a dime even though the orchestra sounds good.
They die happy, though. They had a taste of me. In a very creepy sort of skin-crawling way, it's sweet, even romantic, although if you truly believe that, please stay away from me.
We burn those insect repellent candles outside, but they don't seem to do much, other than help put the females mosquitoes in a more romantic mood. The male mosquitoes would like me to play some Barry White music, too, but even though the males don't drink blood, I still think they're creepy, and I'm not going to help them get their insect groove on.
Naturally I started looking for solutions, including some home remedies, such as these:
1. Wipe yourself dry after your shower with a fabric softener sheet. This doesn’t seem to do anything, but I do smell Ocean Breeze Fresh.
2. Avon Skin So Soft. Many people swear by—and at—this lotion that supposedly functions as a safe insect repellent. Only result for me was that the mosquitoes would tell their friends, “There’s a strange seasoning on him, but underneath is pure scarlet goodness.”
3. Drink a lot of whiskey. My friend Renaldo uses this and was telling me that it works. I stared at him and noticed his arms were covered by bites. I pointed that out, and he said, “I know, but I don’t care.” Later he would collapse from blood loss, but not before hundreds of mosquitoes were unable to fly in a straight line.
4. Eat several cloves of raw garlic a day. This might work. It does keep people away from you, so maybe it will insects.
5. Catnip. Tuck a several twigs of catnip in your pockets and in your collar. This works. You have to run from the crazed cats, and the mosquitoes can’t keep up. Except in my case, I run from one flock of mosquitoes into another. So this doesn’t work; besides, I hate running. God wouldn’t have given us cars if He wanted us to run.
6. The Native Americans used to rub a combination of mud and rancid animal fat on their bodies. Alligator, raccoon, opossum, or bear fat was preferred. Let us know how this works out for you, okay?
7. Mix six drops each of the essential oils of catnip, citronella, lavender, neem, and black pepper into organic soy oil during the waning moon with a spoon made of willow—oh forget it.
Anyway, think of me as I wave at you from behind the sliding glass doors of my house. I may be as pale as the underbelly of a frog from the lack of sun, but come the first frost of fall, I’ll be back.
(Copyright 2015 by Stephen B. Bagley. All rights reserved. From the forthcoming book Floozy Comes Back.)