Wednesday, January 04, 2012


The screen was thick with mosquitoes.

We did not close our jalousie windows to the night. This was before air conditioning was common in Florida, when electric fans moved the heavy Gulf air from one room to another.

Too many mosquitoes, too many sand flies, to sleep outside, though the spray truck drove through the neighborhood each evening, leaving a white fog of insecticide lingering along the street. It knocked down some of the insects, I'm sure, but who knows what that mist did to our own lungs?

Especially those youngsters who would ride their bicycles behind the truck, dodging in and out of the fog.

Dad knew where to escape the bugs. And maybe escape a houseful of rug-rats, as well. He was down at the pier, fishing, and we kids wouldn't see him till tomorrow morning. There might be a couple more snook fillets in the refrigerator, waiting to be deep-fried for our supper.

We actually grew tired of snook, as delicious as it can be. Dad gave away more than he brought home.

I might have been three, I might have been four. The story is the same, the little house on the curve of the road, empty, white sand lots on all sides, where nothing grew but sand spurs. We sat by the jalousie window at night, framed by the maroon drapes with their abstract patterns, Fifties-style, rounded rectangles like little TV screens.

And in the dark beyond them, as Mom read a bedtime story, the mosquitoes buzzed.

Stephen Brooke ©2012

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