It’s the ungodly hours before dawn, and the vicious vampire mosquitoes are gathered about my head. Despite the fact that it’s one of those humidity-drenched Bangkok-like Vancouver nights, my wife and I are completely swathed in bedclothes so that as little of our skin as possible is exposed to the relentless attack of these flesh-frenzied furies. It’s no good, though. I am a lightning rod for their demonic hatred. They whine and whine in the darkness about my ears, frantic to infect me with malaria, West Nile virus, Dengue fever, yellow fever, black death, ulcerated scabies, or the scruffulous warblies.
It’s my own fault, of course, for not staying on top of cutting the grass. My own fault, also, for giving in to my conscience and purchasing an environmentally-friendly reel lawn mower–a mower that works like a charm, just as long as you don’t let the blades of grass grow any higher than an inch and a half between mowings. Anything higher than that, and the grass simply bends and winds around the blades. As it now stands, the grass in our backyard is about a foot and a half high, with swamp-like pockets of moisture. As I’m writing this, I can hear the grating, metallic chirping of carnivorous crickets, and the eerie susurrus of poisonous frogs rising threateningly from its fetid depths. The grass itself, of course, is not really grass at all – more like a nightmarish botanical collection of dozens of different invasive plant species.
And still the mosquitoes gather in the darkness, singing their demented dirges, their creepy hymns to an insectile deity.
It’s enough to send the Dalai Lama into a state of frenzied, vengeful blood wrath. Tomorrow, tomorrow I will salt the whole garden. I will initiate a take-no-prisoners, scorched earth policy, and will carry it out with ruthless surgical precision. I will chemically burn every living thing, every worm, every ant, every flower, every leaf. I will pave it all over and turn it into a parking lot, then install large storage tanks of gasoline and pesticides. But first, I will don the biohazard suit I bought at a garage sale during the big post-911 anthrax scare. I will strap tanks of Napalm and Agent Purple onto my back, and will have a little freelance fun, a little mano a mano action with my nocturnal tormentors. They will see and understand the kind of terrible retribution that humanity’s evolved consciousness and technological advances are capable of. Vengeance will be mine, sayeth the homeowner.
In the meantime, I listen to the drone in the stale darkness, and I notice that my wife sleeps smugly on, completely untroubled and unaware of the assault that is being committed on us. I wonder if she has even been bitten at all. Careful not to wake her, I peel the sheet away from her back, exposing a large portion of tasty flesh. Within moments, the sounds of insectile feeding move slightly further away, and I drift into blissful, oblivious sleep.