Weapons of Mass Destruction

6 Jun

I’m in bed.  It’s after midnight and there’s little chance I’ll get much sleep tonight.  The hiss and buzz around my ear is unmistakable.  I know the drill.  Lift one hand very, very slowly and then, without warning – SMACK! SMACK! SMACK! to the cheek, to the neck, to the arm.  Missed!  These mosquitoes, these winged sons-of-bitches know something about flying under the radar.  They’re circling overhead now, lulling me into a false sense of calm before their next attack.

Sandfly – The Enemy

It’s the start of the Israeli mosquito season, yes, season —  there’s a the peach season, the apricot season, the watermelon season, the let’s-pack-a-suitcase-and beat-the-hell-out-of-here-to-go-to-Europe season, then why not the blood-suckers season.  In the beginning of the season I was a novice, an innocent looking piece of flesh to them.  I would get up, turn on the light, stub my toe in the corner of the bed, curse in every language known to man, rush to the bathroom in search of a towel.  I would hold it by one end, twist it into a whip and begin to search the room,  swat the white walls for any sign of them.  Swing.  Swing.  Swing.


The fuckers hide really well.

Pnina’s in bed sitting upright, hair standing on end, and bug-eyed (excuse the pun).  She stares at me, at her warrior dancing in the middle of room, chasing shadows.  “Did you get them?” she says.

“Yes,” I lie and get back in bed, pull the sheet over us.  Lights off.  Dark.  Silence.  All is good.

Zzzztttttzzzztttttzzzztttttzzz!  SMACK!

The assholes are back.

Tools of the Trade

Lights on.  Prepare for battle.  Rub body with vinegar.  Check.  Apply toothpaste to previous bites.  Check.  Apply anti-mosquito roll-on all over our bodies.  It’s oily and smells of lemon to conceal its lethal ingredients.  To the growing red welts on our thighs and arms we apply a Swiss-made gel to soothe the scorching sensation.  Next, we replace the tablet inside a plug-in device that’s meant to ward off insects.  We then turn to the next weapon: a blue electrical light with wired, vertical beams that gives the room the feel of a 70s disco.  It’s meant to pull in wandering bugs and toast them on impact.  “There’s nothing like the smell of Napalm in the morning” Robert Duvall once said in Apocalypse Now.  I say: “There’s nothing like the smell of b-b-q’d bugs hitting the electrical wires at night.”

I’m all for Sara Palin: Grill, baby, grill.

Lastly, we put on long-sleeved shirts (we decide against the Kevlar helmets).  We button the cuffs, leave minimum skin exposed, pray for quiet.  Slowly we sink into the mattress.

I’m beat.

I start to count sheep, but soon they turn into mosquitoes.  Worse still, they turn to sandflies.  The sandflies are the worst of the bunch among mosquitoes in Israel.  Its habitat is in the Negev, in the south of Israel, but like all illegal immigrants, they all like to travel north, to Galilee, to our bedroom.

Disco Night – Part 1

The sandfly is 1/3 of a millimeter long.  In other words, it’s a pinhead; it’s invisible to the eye.  I learned they don’t even fly, they enter the home, skip 12 inches off the ground and search for prey.

Their sting is so sharp, you think a syringe was drilled into you.  It’s so painful, it wakes you up in nanoseconds.  They might be 1/3 millimeter, but they carry 9-inch dicks.

I later find out that only female sandflies bite.  The male sandflies hop and skip and watch the ballgame while the ladies are out partying and engaging in cross-species sex – with me!

“Turn on the air-conditioning,” Pnina says with a cracked voice, her arms tired from swinging all night.

“No!  Not the air-conditioning,” the mosquitoes scream in fear as they run for cover.

I feel like a mad scientist at the controls.  I flick on the switch.  HA! HA! HA! HA!

Cold air blasts through the vents.  It’s out last weapon of mass destruction.  The mosquitoes, the sandflies, the bugs – they’re all cold-blooded.  The cold air sends then into a deep freeze beyond our reach.

Pnina and I cuddle up under the frigid air-conditioning.

Disco Night – Part 2

“Good night,” she yawns.

I hear a buzz near my nose for the last time.  “Good night, sucker!”


11 Responses to “Weapons of Mass Destruction”

  1. Sandy Galfas June 6, 2012 at 5:59 pm #

    Maurice, This one made me LOL. Also convinced me that June is not the time to visit Israel. Great blog my friend. I enjoy every installment. Sandy

  2. Mark Bernhard June 6, 2012 at 8:09 pm #

    Do like they do in the South Pacific, mosquito netting around the bed works well. I keep a mosquito head cover in the closet for protection against unanticipated close air assault.

    • Avi June 6, 2012 at 8:31 pm #

      From eHow Health: Often used as a dietary supplement due to its high vitamin B content, Brewer’s yeast is believed to be effective in preventing mosquito bites. Mosquitoes appear to be repelled by B vitamins, which are excreted through the skin. Brewer’s yeast can also be rubbed on the skin to repel insects. Taking vitamin-B supplements, particularly thiamine, may also help repel insects.

      Read more: How to Prevent Mosquito Bites Naturally | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_5034103_prevent-mosquito-bites-naturally.html#ixzz1x2ym8Uh8

  3. Vanessa Labi June 6, 2012 at 11:22 pm #

    Thos made me feel like bugs were crawling all over me! I guess that means you did your job. 🙂

  4. MegMcintyre June 7, 2012 at 3:13 am #

    Oh, dear! I’m a Mosquito Cafeteria & can relate. Use Pepto Bismol on the bites, it takes the sting out & you won’t scratch yourself to blazes.
    Wonderful writing – cheers

  5. elana cohen June 7, 2012 at 11:14 am #

    You were born to be a comedian!!!

  6. katherine June 7, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

    It reminds me of Minnesota but worse.You made my skin crawl. As soon as the snow melted the mosquitos came out in Mpls. Do you want me to send you a mosquito net? I’ll run up to Cost Plus world market.

    • rivkabendaniel@gmail.com June 7, 2012 at 8:12 pm #

      As they say in America…OMG!!!
      I know what to get you for your next b-day.. A bug repellent spray to win the war!

      • Amy Bernhard June 10, 2012 at 2:31 am #

        If you’re using curse words, Maurice, it MUST be bad! I’ve never heard you speak like that (as I do, unfortunately), telling us this is no exaggeration. Well, if these invaders drive you and Pnina to cuddle, it must not be all bad? Love your writing, miss your company.

  7. rachel bar June 10, 2012 at 10:40 pm #

    Love the blog! Funny, personal and biting (sorry, I had to…)!

  8. Moshe Kaiserman June 11, 2012 at 6:35 pm #

    You just reminded me to get enough supply of repellent peels when I visit Israel in the end of August. This one is very funny, but serious as well.

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