By request, a repost of my award-winning short story:
What would you do?
If you could . . .
“Oh, rats! The mosquitoes are out!” Lucy reached into her beach bag and pulled out a large bottle of bug-repellant. Uncapping it, she looked around at her companions. “Have I mentioned how much I hate mosquitoes?” she asked.
“Frequently,” Marie said.
“Is there a word that means more-than-frequently?” Darius asked.
“How about 'constantly'?” Frank asked.
“Perfect!” Darius laughed.
Lucy made a face at them, then proceeded to rub repellant onto every exposed surface.
There weren't many.
The temperature was in the eighties, but Lucy was kitted out in long-sleeves, long pants, thick wool socks and ankle-high hiking boots.
She put down the bottle and grabbed her beekeeper's hat. “There,” she said, adjusting the net. “I'm ready.”
Darius rapped on her hat. “Hello?” he said. “Can Lucy come out to play?”
Everyone, except Lucy, laughed.
“Shuddup!” Lucy said, folding her arms.
“Honestly, Luce, they're not that bad,” Marie said.
“Believe me, Mare, even one is bad!” Lucy peered out through her screen. “If I could have my way, I would go back to the day the first two mosquitoes appeared and SMASH THEM FLAT!”
“Stop beating around the bush, Luce, and tell us what you really think!” Darius said, laughing.
“Think of what I would save all of you from!” Lucy said. “Think of the service it would be to mankind if they never had to contend with those little, evil blood-sucking parasites!”
“When did we start talking about politicians?” Frank asked.
“I hate you all,” Lucy said.
Everyone laughed again.
“But think of all the companies that would fold if mosquitoes were eradicated from our world,” Marie said. “Every company that manufactures repellant in all its myriad shapes and forms.”
“Well, they'd just have to find other things to repel,” Lucy said. “And sucks to be them.”
“You're a hard case, Luce,” Marie laughed. “A hard case.”
“So now that you've got me up here as mosquito bait in the wilds, what are you planning to do with me?” Lucy asked.
“Well, if we could unwrap you, we were planning on a swim in the lake,” Frank said.
“And maybe a hike and a nice wiener roast around the campfire,” Darius added.
Lucy patted her hat. “Sorry guys,” she said. “But the wrapping stays on. I'll just watch.”
Frank looked at Marie and Darius. “Why do we keep on doing this to ourselves?” he asked.
Marie laughed. “What is the definition of 'insane'? When you keep doing the same things expecting a different outcome.”
“I guess we're all insane,” Darius said.
“Well I am,” Lucy said. “I keep coming out here, expecting a quiet, mosquito-less experience.”
“Yep. It's official. We're all insane,” Darius said.
* * *
“So how was your weekend?” Jen asked.
“Well, most of us had a great time,” Marie said.
Lucy stuck her tongue out at her friend.
Jen laughed. “Let me guess. You tried to get Lucy-the-mosquito-hater out of her armour.”
Marie sighed volubly. “It was hopeless,” she said. “Hopeless.”
“Did the rest of you enjoy yourselves?”
“Yeah,” Marie said. “The lake was warmer than I ever remember it being. The hike was wonderful and the campfire, a great end to a great weekend.”
She looked at Lucy. “If we hadn't had to drag Luce's sorry butt around all weekend, it would have been perfect!”
“Hey! I didn't ask you to haul me out to 'mosquito haven'!” Lucy said.
Marie laughed. “Really, we had a fun time,” she said. “I think even Lucy enjoyed herself, once we moved inside.”
Jen shook her head. “Luce, you really have a thing about mosquitoes,” she said.
“I think there is a word for it,” Marie said. “Phobia.”
“A mosquitobia?” Jen asked.
“Or a phobosquito,” Marie suggested.
Both women laughed.
Lucy shook her head and stomped off to her lab.
* * *