Mosquito Season

I sure hope you fellows aren't suffering as bad as we in the Pacific Northwest. I hate this dang ol' hot weather. It's been above 70° for several days now and that goofy bright thing in the sky is scaring away the clouds.
    Looks like I might have to put away the flannel shirts for a few months. Maybe in a couple days. Supposed to rain Sunday.
    Oh! I saw the season's first mosquito. He was a sickly looking thing like he had the flu or something. I had to find a Californian to stick him on so he could strengthen up on watery latte-flavored blood. Mosquitos can't handle smoked salmon so they don't bite us native-born, and a lot of 'em starve.
    Maybe we shoulda protected our mosquitoes instead of the spotted owl. I swear they're dying out. The breed is getting so weak you can chop off their beaks with only a couple of blows from a camp ax.
    I remember when I was a boy and the night breezes brought the sound of corn popping. The mosquitos would attack car tires warm from the highway and blow up from the air pressuse. They had vigor then.
    My Great Grandpa Augustus had a lot to say about the speed and vigor of mosquitos in his day.
    If you wanted to rivet something together all you had to do was dot it with blood and warm it up to skin temperature; be it a loose sole on a logging boot, shingle on a roof, or a leaky boiler on the steam donkey. In no time it was stitched together with mosquito beaks. All you had to do was clinch them over on the inside and knock the bodies off the heads with a falling ax.
    The loggers would classify mosquitos by caliber. Small ones would be "pistol." Harder hitting ones would be "30-30." And the biggest one would be "twelve-gauge." All were based by the size of the bite they made not the caliber of their beaks. The ones called "shore batteries" and "coastal defense guns" were shameful exaggerations and never existed in fact. You know, loggers and their tall tales.
    Old Finn hated mosquito season. He played the flute but only in the bunk house. Whenever he went to play it outdoors it plugged up with mosquitos going after his warm breath. He used to fuse and cap one end to blow them out if he couldn't clear his flute with a ram rod.
    The man at the mill whistle had a habit of tooting it as a mosquito happened by the whistle discharge. The steam cooked the small mosquitos and gave the big ones heat stroke. All those fresh mosquito chops and roasts made a difference in the family diet of a lumber mill hand.
    The mosquitos didn't trouble the loggers much because of the garlic the cook put in everything, even the horse feed. In the early days, a mob of mosquitos would suck a horse or a man so flat you could roll him up like a carpet.
    Then the cook discovered garlic and the mosquitos tapered off year by year. It became a scientific curiosity. The mosquitos bit normally the first year of logging then tapered off. The professor concluded garlic-tainted blood interfered with the mating habits of mosquitoes. The girl mosquitos would have nothing to do with the garlicky boy mosquitos and vice versa.

. . . Forrest Addy




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