23 May 2018

Murderer

Habitually, I claim to respect all creatures and would certainly never harm a fly. In this sense, I feel I have unconsciously adopted a Buddhist attitude to non-human life. As a gardener, I always feel bad about disposing of slugs and snails but it has to be done. Often I just throw the munching snails into the green access lane at the bottom of our garden.

I remember a still summer day on a lake in Austria long ago. My younger brother, Simon and I had paddled a raft away from the shore. I had a length of orange sea fishing line with me - wrapped around a wooden "H". At the end of it were a dozen hooks. I put stale bread on them and threw the line into that crystal clear lake. I believe it was called Grundlsee.

Almost as soon as those hooks hit the water, a crowd of fish - probably arctic char - rose up from the depths below. Within seconds every hook had a fish upon it. I hauled my catch in - beautiful silvery creatures being rudely yanked from their aquatic environment.

They thrashed about alarmingly upon the floor of the raft and then I had no idea what to do. I think I was nine years old at the time. Frantically, I yelled to my two older brothers on the shoreline, "I've caught some fish! I've caught some fish! What should I do?"

Was it Robin or Paul who yelled back, "Bash'em on the head with your paddle!"? I don't recall but I do remember replying, "Bash em on the head? I can't do that!"

With the fish still showing their displeasure, we paddled the raft back to the lakeside and there our older siblings relieved the creatures of their misery. They were eaten for brumch in our caravan but I was still mourning their deaths and feeling guilty about what I had done so I refused the fish.

Wind forward fifty five years and we are in our first floor hotel room in Corfu. Every night some ten or twelve mosquitoes find their way into our little space. They are on the ceiling or in the bathroom or lurking in the curtains.

I have a rolled up a copy of "The Times" and I am no longer a hippy Buddhist lover of life, cradling butterflies or feeding garden birds - no - I am now a ruthless killer. I show no mercy as I whack the little bastards. Sometimes they are filled with blood. I crush two on the mirror and whipping a bath towel I bring stray mosquitoes down from the ceiling, pursuing them  to the bitter end. I feel elated with each death and deflated whenever they get away.

It's a nightly hunting expedition. Though I recognise the inconsistencies in my moral code and in relation to my usual attitude towards living creatures, I feel no shame in being a mosquito assassin. After all - what is the point of these whining little creatures that have brought so much distress to the human race? We are at war with these hypodermic devls and in Corfu I confess that I murdered them without regret.

36 comments:

  1. Ah- my husband often does a nightly routine exactly like that. He finds and smashes the offending tiny blood suckers. I don't go that far but I will certainly slap any mosquito bold enough to light on my body. As to the yellow flies with which we are tormented- I take HUGE delight in every kill I make. They are not easy to slay- they use avoidance techniques to escape the death slap. It is a true victory to send one to glory and they are usually filled with my blood when they go. And yet, I am mostly a very pacific person who would never kill anything if I was not forced to. Hell, I hate thinning seedlings. But if you seek to suck my blood, I will smash you!

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    1. Thank heavens I am not a mosquito whining into the houses of Apalachicola, seeking delicious hot human blood.

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  2. Well, now, did you ever think what little devils were brought to the poor little mosquitoes to make their lives miserable? Okay, don't answer that!

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  3. We have an electric mosquito racket but then, I am my husband's mosquitoes repellent; I attract them all on me and they leave my him alone. I hate the ones that buzz around your ears at night, you keep slapping your face but never seem to get them!
    Greetings Maria x

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    1. I had that experience in Corfu. Just entering the doorway to sleep and I hear that familiar whine. Then sleep is delayed.

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  4. I squashed an Asian hornet that dared to enter my house yesterday. I didn't feel too bad about that.

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    1. I would have ushered him out. He had a wife and children to support. What will they do now?

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  5. I allow spiders and bees to live but mosquitoes and flies are fair game.

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    1. As I say, I have never killed a fly. They don't have hypodermic needles for noses.

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  6. I use the technical approach - I have plug-in repellents all over the house. They work pretty well, and after a while the little blighters know not to come near ! It works very well with mozzies and flies, but I'm not sure wasps have got the message yet !

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    1. Don't kill wasps CG! They are all Hull City fans in their little black and amber shirts.

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    2. OK I'll be careful. I take it Hull City needs all the supporters it can get?

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    3. As Basil Brush would have said - Boom! Boom!

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  7. Hornets (sort of picking up on Sue's comment above) are protected in this country and one is not allowed to harm them or remove their nests, even if it is on your house, under the eaves or something. They are impressive and I have real respect for them, too much to kill them anyway, but try of course to shoo them out if one makes it into my flat, as happened a few times last summer.
    For mozzies, I show no mercy. They suck my blood (or try to), I kill them. I know each insect is important to the eco system, birds feed on them etc., but the fun ends where my pain begins.

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    1. PS: I have just spotted the picture you posted specifically for me in your previous post - thank you!

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    2. You are welcome ma'am!

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  8. Maybe inconsistent, but completely understandable!

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    1. Coming from Florida you must have had countless encounters with mosquitoes.

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  9. Not to put the kibosh on your hate-on for mosquitos, because there is nothing I like more than a good rant, but I've been lucky to have a biologist educate me on the value of mosquitos, in that they protect the world's most beautiful and ecologically fragile environments from humans (who are deadly to the landscape).

    Think about were they swarm, and where they are the most lethal, and you'll see that they are places where people don't really have any business going into (wet lands, jungles, tropical paradises, deserts). Sadly, theirs is a losing battle, and humans will not be happy until they have despoiled every last beauty spot on the planet, but you have to admire the little buggers for fighting against us.

    I lived on the edge of the Sahara for two years and never bothered to take anti-malarial pills because mosquitos don't go for me. I've never had a mosquito bite. Not to brag, but I think it's because they held a meeting of the mosquito multitudes and decided that they were OK with me as a human. It's like getting the Insect OK To Let Live Nobel Prize.

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    1. Perhaps your blood has a bitter taste Vivian...or maybe sometimes it contains more red wine than corpuscles. I know that mosquitoes are a valuable food source for a lot of aquatic life but I don't care - when it comes to mosquitoes I am like an American school shooter - filled with crazy rage. "Die! Die!"

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  10. I haven't met a mosquito yet, unless the one's in Scotland are the same.
    We keep a glass and postcard handy to catch any insect that comes in and release it. We also only put plants in the garden that slugs and snails do not touch.
    I know you will mock me here but I have been known to give them lettuce and lay down beside them watching them eat. Now you know I'm bonkers. lol
    Briony
    x

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    1. Hello Briony, my sister and I loved feeding the snails we found in our garden. I remember one year we kept a group of them in a flat wooden crate with lots of greenery and called it our snail school. They were fed and looked after by us, and we were hoping we could train them to hide from birds and humans and other enemies. But as is sometimes the case with kids, we lost interest after a couple of weeks and released them again to the garden.
      To this day I will stoop and pick up any adventurous snails from the pavement where they will meet their certain death and put them into the nearest garden under some shrub reachable from there when I am on my way to work or to the shops etc.

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    2. Briony Bonkers and Meike Bonkers. Are you related? Seriously though, I can understand your kindness towards snails but if you tended vegetables your kindness might be doled out with far less generosity.

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  11. Don't feel bad about killing the little so and so's YP......I have been bitten so badly over the years that I hate them ALL now...were you and Shirley bitten?

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    1. I don't react too badly to mosquito bites but Shirley had a few that became red and swollen... including one on her eyelid.

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  12. See? You need to live at my altitude. Maybe the Pudding's could by my property.?! No mosquitos....none. No fleas on the puppy....none. No snakes to scare the bejesus out of you....none. Just the occasional mama bear and her cubs this time of year.

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    1. I thought your property might have been bought up by a media star by now - someone looking for a mountain hideaway.

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  13. Get 'em all, Mr.Pudding, don't let a single one of them blighters cross the Atlantic. Or the Mediterranean. Or the Ionian. Get 'em all!

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    1. Will do General Catalyst! Remember The Alamo!

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  14. The mosquitoes at our shore side cottage were big enough to carry away small children. There was no sitting out on the deck except in full sun! At night we barricaded ourselves inside and kept the fly swatter handy :)

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    1. The idea of a shore side cottage is delightful but it sounds like the reality was something else. Damn them!

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  15. I have no guilt smashing mosquitoes. Fortunately, this summer just gone, they were few and far between here. The couple that did dare to come up close and personal paid the penalty, though. I think the word had gotten around!

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    1. It is a shame that Mosquito Splatting is not an Olympic sport. Given my excellent performances in Corfu, I am sure I would achieve a podium finish.

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  16. I too have some inner conflict about why the killing of certain bugs doesn't phase me at all and I can so gleefully murder them and not consider their life. But, Mosquitoes, Cockroaches, Scorpions and such just don't incite much pity in me I guess, I loathe the little Devils and will continue with my Assassinations of any and I I come into contact with!

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