ankle biters (bugs, not kids)

I had a couple of bad nights’ sleep this past week. A mosquito had broken into my house and things got ugly. OK, in her defense, maybe she didn’t officially “break in” since it was a deliciously hot summer-fall day in Southern California and she probably thought the open door was an invitation.

She began her work Saturday evening as I sat transfixed by my niece’s violin performance on Youtube. I felt that irritating discomfort/itch, but I was wearing socks, which protected my feet, so I thought I must be mistaken. By the time the performance ended, she had completed multiple successful attacks. I grabbed the fly swatter–nothing like slamming shut the barn door after the cow’s escaped–and sat at the ready. But she was a sly one. She laid low.

Because I knew she was in the room when I went to bed, I bundled beneath the covers. I couldn’t relax because I was waiting for the next hit. But then it got hot and I couldn’t sleep, so I turned on the light and started scrolling the Internet.

I was so engrossed in a sharp condo in Ponce Inlet, Florida, that I didn’t notice she was back, hitting me several more times before it even registered. Again, I grabbed the trusty fly swatter and got into position, but as before, she knew just where to light to avoid and evade. Every once in a while, I got a glimpse of her, but as soon as I prepared to strike, she’d evaporate into thin air. If the military could develop such stealth technology, they’d be unstoppable.

And then, she made a mistake. She lit on my keyboard This was it! I’ve got her! Whack! It looked like a direct hit, but no body, no blood. Again, she’d disappeared right in front of me. But maybe I’d put the fear of God into her because she slid into her hidey-hole the rest of the night. Either that or she just headed to bed on a full stomach.

Alas, on Sunday morning, she was back. Again, biting right through my socks, even thicker than before. Is the creature even of this world?

I didn’t catch her that afternoon or evening or the rest of the week. She had escaped and was likely off to lay eggs, a healthy and satisfied mom off to bring more of these nasty little beings into the world.

For anyone living in Southern California, maybe you’ve been a victim of this newcomer to the region. The appropriately named “ankle biter” (Aedes albopictus) apparently hopped aboard a container ship in Asia where it was transported to its new home.

You’ve got to give them this, though, they’re industrious little suckers. They’re at it all day and then well into the night, hovering low, and hitting unsuspecting ankles in multiple attacks.

The thing is, this one was not only a hard worker, she was clever. Too clever. She was thinking, plotting. I get that the machines are getting smarter. I’m already apprehensive about an attack by rogue robots. We’re in the midst of a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. And now, we’ve got to add this to the mix? Thinking, planning, scheming mosquitos that can carry out a multi-pronged tactical strike and then disappear into the ether?

We’re cooked.

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