Writing at the Ledges  | Mid-Michigan Authors & Poets

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This is my most recent Fiction 440 piece. The words were mosquito, heat, and labor.

No Picnic
By Randy D Pearson

Being a mosquito is no picnic, let me tell you. If we’re not being swatted by a newspaper or shocked in a bug zapper, we have to be on guard against bats, birds, and dragonflies. Yesterday, I saw Velma get eaten by a frog. A frog! Can you imagine anything more embarrassing?

Though I thrive in this heat, so do my myriad of comrades. There’s so much competition. Not that I need much blood for my offspring to survive. A few slurps from my built-in straw will suffice. But there are only so many humans around here, and most of my extended family is much stronger and faster than me. While the others somehow use the wind current to glide from place to place – look at Raul doing loop-de-loops, the show-offee bastard! – I flutter and flap against this strong breeze, seemingly losing ground as fast as I gain it. But I must continue my labor, as it’s a labor of love, for my unborn children.

Fortunately, my clumsy tumbling has actually paid off, tossing me exactly where I need to be.
Sitting at a picnic table is a human, his food spread out in front of him. Though he has obviously doused himself in some sort of bizarre-smelling chemical in a miserable attempt to confuse my senses, I can easily spot him. I mean, he’s sitting right there!

Though this one seems easy pickings, I will have to be cautious. The human hand is a dangerous weapon, which has felled many of my kind. It only took one human to slaughter Daphne, Gwendolyn, Betty, and Javier. Oh Javier, he was one handsome skeeter! Legs like a rock star. Mmmm…

C’mon Veronica, focus! One well-timed slap, and splat! I cannot die now. I must give birth to the next generation. And in order to do that, I must acquire what this guy has in his veins. Of course, I have no idea what the hell I’m doing. I’ve never actually sucked blood from a human before. I have a basic understanding. I’ve run simulations. Okay Veronica, let’s do this!

I come in low, from under the table. Around his back side, I fly where the human’s eyes cannot see. Zipping around his leg, I come up and over, and there – the perfect place to land and feed. I touch down quietly and stealthily, get my footing, and slowly but forcefully insert my proboscis.

Oh, the glorious nectar! Succulent, nourishing … a little thicker than I expected – it’s sweet and surprisingly tangy. I look up when I hear my brothers and sisters laughing. “Hey Veronica, you’re sucking on a ketchup packet, y’know!”

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