It was all-out war. To make it trickier, it was all waged in the dark of night. There were only two combatants, and I, normally a man of peace and tranquillity, admit to being one of them.
It was a bit of a David and Goliath story. I remember one of my early thoughts at the time was, "Why don't you pick on someone your own size?" The enemy's weight, according to one source, is 0.000088 ounces so you can surely imagine what I was up against.
According to another source my enemy was female. Male mosquitoes, it said, feed on the nectar of flowers (how sweet!) while females need blood to help them produce eggs.
The same source told me I could tell the difference between male and female by looking at their antennae; males have feathery antennae while females have rather plain ones. I'm afraid this information was of little use to me because a) it was dark and b) I didn't have my glasses on.
Without checking the featheriness of antennae, I had to assume my enemy was female unless, of course, a confused male was mistaking my head for nectar.
So, there she was weighing in at 0.000088 ounces but producing nocturnal mayhem by the ton.
I had the heavy artillery in the form of one of those little bottles of liquid you plug into a power point. But this mosquito apparently liked the aroma given off by this electric repellent. The only other arms at my disposal were hands. Big wide smacking hands.
You'd think it would be hard to miss with smacking hands of that size but your mozzie – let's call her Molly – is WAY faster than the human hand. You can easily inflict injury on yourself as you repeatedly slap your body and my skull and ears took a fair pounding through the night.
You can produce welts on your tender human flesh while the tiny creature is laughing, "Ha ha, you missed!"
It's easy to be fooled by a moment's silence. Smug and self-satisfied, you'll think peaceful sleep is about to come at last.
"Ha ha, you missed!"
Molly was persistent through the night. By hook or by crook she was going to produce eggs and by hook or by crook I was going to be her assistant. She was happy to attack all night and escaping the giant hand was no sweat. Fun even.
It was easy to see why de Havilland's World War II plane was named the Mosquito. It was a low-to-medium-altitude daytime tactical bomber, a high-altitude night bomber, a pathfinder, a fighter bomber, an intruder, a strike bomber and a reconnaissance craft. Molly was all of these.
Deep in the night I resorted to getting up and coating the exposed parts of my body with repellent. We use a brand called Off for no other reason than the fact that it enables us to say to each other, "Have you got Off on?"
We mainly keep it for spraying on legs and ankles during outdoor summer dining but this was a crisis and I was going to try anything. No proboscis was going to penetrate my epidermis!
It made a difference. During a subsequent raid, I actually heard Molly veer away.
The upper case indicates she was getting very close but the return to lower case indicates that she was very suddenly changing course.
Thanks to the body spray I finally found a few hours of rest but know it will be an ongoing battle and I certainly cannot afford to let down my guard.
"Ha ha, you missed!"
Wyn Drabble is a teacher of English, a writer, musician and public speaker.