life and death

A mosquito was wafting about my desk this morning, surveying the scene, enjoying the serenity of the day, a national holiday here. It danced about over my right arm, its proboscis probing the air for fresh blood. I kept my right eye on this tiny creature as it swirled through the air, and carried on tapping away at my sticky sweaty laptop. A minute passed – maybe two – and then it dived straight down, a swift swoop towards flesh. Such is the peace and quiet here, I was completely focused, balanced, like a hawk. My wrist flicked fast, my hand snapped up, and I proved to be quicker than she.

I now have a mosquito – a dead one – lying by my laptop. Legs point up to the ceiling, a bent proboscis remains rigid. I keep inspecting my mosquito, marvelling at its strength and extraordinary capacity to kill. It reminds me of a cockroach that once joined me in this very room. Large, brown and stickily filthy, it buzzed about blundering from wall to ceiling to wall, occasionally falling clumsily to the floor, crawling, waving its long eyebrows at me, and then launching once more into flight. I watched it for an hour or so, every so often ducking as it cavorted through the air towards my hair and my face. I thought about killing it and eyed the tall thin can of sticky glue spray sitting on a table. It was the war then and I had thought much of killing. I didn’t want anything more to be killed than was necessary. So I left the cockroach to flap and fart.

Later, a priest came to take me for a beer. He knocked on the door and when I opened it, and invited him in, he told me to kill the feckin’ cockroach. The shame is that I’ve never been able to remember whether I did as the priest advised, or not.