Getting relief from mosquitoes

“I’m being very generous lately,” says Aussie as we’re trudging down the road in the humid heat of late afternoon. “I’m giving and giving and giving, nonstop. Truly!”

“I’m very glad to hear it, Aussie. What have you been giving?”

“Blood. My blood!”

“To whom? The Blood Bank of Western Massachusetts?”

“No, to mosquitoes. I’m bitten constantly, getting smaller by the minute.”

“Same for me, Aussie. It’s the rains, the flooding, and the continuing humidity. Usually, by mid-August mosquitoes begin to fade a bit.”

“Not this time. I’m taking my life in my paws every time we go out for a walk. Truly!”

“You’re scratching your eyes a lot, too. I think they’re attracted to the liquid there.”

“This is the worst summer that I remember, truly.”

“Still better than Houston, where you came from, Aussie. And what’s all this truly business?”

“Because I’m miserable and that’s the truth.”

“Your truth, Aussie.”


Bernie and I had different truths about mosquitoes. Like H. H. Dalai Lama, Bernie had no compunctions about killing them. I would vaguely wave them away, not terribly concerned about bites, but he went after them with a vengeance. This summer, in particular, I’ve been remembering the crazy look he wore when going after them. There was nothing cool about mosquitoes, nothing to clown about. This was war!

Especially at night.

It’s 2 in the morning and suddenly the lamp goes on.

“Wh-what happened?” I ask groggily. I open my eyes and Bernie’s out of the bed, a rolled newspaper in his hand, looking like your worst nightmare of a lunatic come to rape and murder you in the middle of the night.

“A mosquito,” he growls. By now he’s at the foot of the king-size bed, head going from right to left like a pendulum.

A mosquito?” I ask. “You put on the light and woke me up for a mosquito?”

Too intent to engage in discussion, he patrols the room googly-eyed, teeth clenched, lips folded tight in that look of total determination that many people have seen over the years, staring at walls, pictures, and windows so hard he’s practically bug-eyed.

Wham! goes the newspaper against the bed. “Missed,” he mutters.

“Oh Bernie,” I say, in a perpetual tone of disappointment, and try to burrow under the pillow to hide the light from my eyes.

Ignores me. Wham! goes the rolled-up newspaper against the dresser. “Missed it,” he snarls.

Something clatters to the ground. “Is that my sewing kit?” I mumble from under the pillow.

No interest in my sewing kit. He continues to walk around the bed, batting the air. Wham! Wham! Wham!

“That’s a lot of fuss to make over one mosquito,” I mutter.

“It’s him or me,” he grouses. He circumambulates the bed, or at least three sides of it, head bent forward like a bulldog with a scent in his nostrils.

Wham! goes the rolled-up newspaper.

“Got him!” he exults.

“How do you know it’s a him?” I query from under the pillow.

He doesn’t answer, just sits down, lies back, turns off the light. Peace and quiet are restored.

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