“Come to the wet, swampy land of North Florida,” they said. “It’s a great place for a young mosquito just starting out,” they said. “You’ll be drunk every night on the blood of sweaty white meat, so numbed by Budweiser, box wine, and Airstream pride, they’ll forget to keep up their defenses.” So I arrive at Torreya State Park on a Friday, and it’s pretty great. A campground smorgasbord. Plenty for everyone. I go to bed each afternoon, full-bellied and intoxicated to the point of delirium.
But then the weekend is over, and nearly all the campers leave for their concrete-covered, well-drained neighborhoods in climate-controlled, screened-in cities. Suddenly, there are thousands of us targeting only a handful of these walking meat sacks. A rainstorm comes and goes, increasing our numbers and sending a howling, clawing hunger through our brains that’s only satisfied by plasma warmed to 98.6°F.
So when we see the two Midwestern adults, covered head-to-toe in seam-sealed Gortex and ClimaCool nylon, and their over-sized Border Collie with a thick coat of fur, we all know it’s not gonna be easy, but it’s all we’ve got. We swarm them. Dozens, even hundreds of us, fueled by a Darwinian lust.
Damn, they move fast. Is there a neckline we can dive into like a Death Star? A brief opening between the low-cut socks and pant leg? So hard to get purchase on a hand or face. Not enough supply and too much demand. So, some of us do what we trained for in our youth, but have rarely needed in our daily lives – we dive hard and bite…through the clothes. We get small tastes, but it’s unsatisfying and many of our number are lost, proboscis caught just a little too long by the stitching of an “Adidas” logo, or waistband, then flattened by the flailing swing of a violent hand. Nearly as soon as they have appeared they are gone, in a swirl of curses, and a nimble, expert entry into their metal sarcophagus, unlike so many of their herd who retreat so slowly and leave doors open so long, we are able to slip by and dine like we had reservations. But not with these two. Not yet, anyway.
We’ve had enough for now. We’ll wait for them. What else are we going to do? It’s only Monday.