Mosquitoes don’t love me like they once did. I feel used, eaten up and spit out. As Maggie Gyllenhaal eloquently said in “Donnie Darko,” they can “go suck a fuck.”
I should be happy. They’re real dickheads, those creepy little fuck suckers.
There was a time when they had a powerful taste for my blood, like a leech does on a set of juicy testicles. I used to spend summers with polka-dotted arms and legs. In days, those dots would morph into scabs due to a lack of self-control that hindered any healthy healing. My fingernails would tear at my own flesh, producing rash-like sores. I’m an itcher, and I will not apologize for it. It itches; wtf do you want me to do?
I always gave bug spray a shot, but it seemed that when I did, the mosquitoes would multiply. So I often opted for indoor activities to avoid this whole hot steaming stew of fuckery.
My forevermore battle with the pest came to a head when I got West Nile virus in a muggy, humid, sticky, steamy, airless, stuffy Louisiana in 2001.
My sister and I trucked from Colorado to Florida on a wild, monthlong road trip to visit some friends. We’d make pit stops on pal’s couches in between the bookends. One stop was in Eunice, La., to visit my sister’s friend from college. Sunning by the pool led to crawfish etouffee, then drinks on the patio. I got attacked by mosquitoes. I’d prefer to say murdered, but I’m still here.
I thought nothing of it because of my storied history with the creatures whose ability to survive relies on my, and only my, crimson liquid.
Next was a New Orleans stint and a couple Florida stops en route to the end point, St. Petersburg, Fla. I made it to a beach bar for a beer-chugging contest unscathed and unaware that I had this disgusting disease living inside me. A disease that came from an affected bird that a mosquito transported to my blood.
The chugging contest was amazing. I won, of course, as many of my old high school pals cheered me on. The dude I was up against finished a hair before me, but he was wearing half the beer, so I got the trophy. One thing that bothered me about that night was that they used the same yards among the contestants. So I, in the finals, was inhaling beer out of a giant cup that had been shared by the lips of dozens of others. Who does that?
Later in the drunken night, the lymph nodes on the back of my neck grew into a six-pack of golf balls. I was seizing and shaking from a sky-rocketing fever, and I was laying on a heating vent in the middle of July in Florida.
Long story short, through nearly six months of tests, doctors, hospitals, etc., I tested positive for nothing. West Nile was new at the time, so the doctors said the tests weren’t available yet. The docs also thought it was mono, but I consistently tested negative for that (which is why the terror sank in when I shared that single yard o’ beer with so many dudes). I had a fever of 105-plus for 19 days. It was the worst sickness of my life. I couldn’t get out of bed for months.
Then last night, a mosquito landed on my leg, refused to bite me and then flew away. After all I gave her fucking ancestors, the least she could do is feign interest in my blood. Jesus, I have problems.