I think I’m going out of my mind. The heat is not dropping – inside or out – and warm air sits heavily on everything in the room. The bed sticks to me, I stick to the bed, and every time I turn over there’s a distinct feeling like I’ve been there before. The double doors of the bedroom are open wide, but not even the faintest hint of breeze whispers in. It’s 2am. Is that all? Did I fall asleep only an hour ago?
The low din of traffic in the distant outside; the frustrated rhythm of my own breathing; the persistent questioning thought of ‘why am I unable to sleep’ that inevitably keeps me awake. And then amidst it all the sudden, horrible, high-pitched sound of a mosquito, invisible in the darkness, circling around my ear.
A couple of nights of this has significantly compromised my mental state. Like tinnitus, the sound seems to reside in my psyche. It’s playing with my head. Paranoid, I’m perpetually convinced there’s a mosquito within inches of me –close enough that I think I can hear it – and I can’t sleep.
It’s reached the point that I actually don’t mind the thought of waking up with dead mosquitos squashed to various parts of my head, so have taken to slapping myself in the dark in a vain attempt at retaliation. So far they have evaded my manoeuvres. Just as soon as I’ve taken a swipe, another one goes whining past my ear – and my god I can’t sleep.
My girlfriend suddenly wakes up at 3am, startled by the blinding light that just filled the room from the bulb on the ceiling, and desperately trying to peer through half-closed eyes finds me stalking around the perimeter of the room with a magazine in my hand, telling her to ‘sshhh’ as if the slightest noise might frighten them away and alert them to my intent. Babbling something about the importance of training your eyes to move slowly when scanning the room if you’re to have any hope of spotting their erratic path through the air, and shaking items of clothing like some sort of rustler trying to scare them out of hiding.
I killed 5 that night. A night I am unlikely to forget. The way they looked back at me just in time to see a magazine descend upon them, and in that moment knew their folly. I left each one squashed against the wall – as a sign – a warning against others. I’m thinking of having a few of them stuffed.
The next day, with 5 scalps hanging from my belt, we headed into town, where I came across Arthur Daley’s tat emporium on Swanston Street, and followed the stairs that led down below street level into some sort of illicit den of cheap deals. And it was there that I found quite an amazing device. A device shaped in the likeness of a tennis racket, and with a button on the side which when pressed emitted its very own retaliatory high-pitched sound as a current of electricity shot through it’s interwoven lattice, zapping any bug, fly, spider, beetle or mosquito that happened to get in its path.
It was only $4. A price that invites you to buy several – spares – two at the very least so that you have a pair and can play with a friend.
On the back of the packet is a score sheet which suggests a point structure according to your ability – but spiders, flies, bugs – they’re all free to go about as they will. I have no beef with them. The only things that concern me are mosquitos – since it was they who chose this vendetta.
But one thing at the bottom of the score sheet caught my attention – a cockroach – worth, incidentally, just 5 points. So what they were saying was that this electric racket could kill a cockroach – quite a claim considering they’re supposed to be able to survive nuclear war. They say a cockroach will crawl out of the remains left by an atom bomb and go about like nothing had happened. So the thought strikes me that maybe these rackets ought to be monitored by the UN, since if they really are capable of that, then it makes events like the bombing of Nagasaki seem a little over the top – if perhaps the thought hadn’t occurred to you already.
In any case it saved me having to take such measures myself. I can now relax at night. Relax in a chair in the corner of the room, with the lights off, and wait for any sign of movement.