INTERVIEWING A VAMPIRE
I have just downed my third shot of espresso. It was a big day for me, and I was waiting for someone or something. Her name is Julia, or at least that is the name I am giving her. Julia by far was to be my biggest interview job ever; I have interviewed corrupt politicians, thieves, robbers, and pretty much any low-life you can think of even the pest experts in Asheboro, North Carolina.
Yet, Julia is THE celebrity of all celebrities. Her scope reaches out to all people from all over the world. And everyone wants a piece of her and her kind.
The espresso machine became my friend that day; it got me to stay up late. Julia is nocturnal, and will only talk to me that night. The scheduled time: 10:00 PM. I nervously reviewed my notes all day to prepare.
By 9:55 PM, I can already hear a buzzing sound. She is here, I thought. Then I saw her, she is about .125 to .75 inches, she looks smaller than a paperclip. She was a lousy flyer, it appears as if she had no sense of direction. Oh yes, she is a mosquito.
The most dangerous creature on the planet
After exchanging our pleasantries, I went straight to the most difficult question on my list. “Is it true that you are the most dangerous creature on earth?” Julia was taken aback, seemingly disoriented with my first question, as if to say “this early?”
Recovering her wits, she spoke “Yes, I am. No one and nothing comes close”.
Asked to explain further, she said “ Humans in the past tend to look at some other creatures to be their real-life villains. They look at sharks, lions, poisonous spiders, tigers, leopards, cobras, and even their own kind as being the most dangerous beings on this planet. Hah! It only just makes us laugh.”
“Us?” I asked.
“Yes. Us. I am not alone in this, you know. It is just so funny, and insulting, that they give credit to these creatures because they do not deserve it. Sharks have killed what? Hundreds? Thousands? That is too weak.”
I asked her why she sees a thousand deaths too weak.
“My ancestors killed more people in history than all the recorded wars combined. Only my kind can do that.” I was surprised by this revelation. This tiny mosquito can kill that many? Do they carry sharp swords, or laser guns, or bombs, for them to kill that many?”
I was perplexed. I wanted to investigate.
They transmit deadly disease
“So, tell me, how did you or your ancestors do it?”
“We are first and foremost, blood-suckers,” Julia replied. “We look for a host, and we suck their blood. By the way, only us females do it. My husband Dave cannot bite. After we suck the blood, we transmit parasites that cause diseases. We are known to transmit diseases like malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, encephalitis, elephantiasis, filariasis, and West Nile fever.”
I thought to myself that yes, that’s a lot of diseases. But I wanted to check her if she knows what she is talking about, and that she was not just giving any random disease she could think of just to impress me.
“What is malaria? I heard it was so deadly that it could wipe out half the world’s population if not addressed properly.”
“You do not have to test me, wise guy. I know what I am talking about.” Julia said, obviously irritated. “Malaria is a life-threatening disease suffered by humans after we bite them. If I bite you, for example, and I happen to carry the organism that carries malaria, you will how signs like fever, headache, muscle aches, nausea, muscle aches, chills, and tiredness. These signs will show up 10 to 15 days after the bite. If not treated within 24 hours, malaria can progress to severe illness and even your death, it is that simple.”
“That is really harsh,” I said.
“You know” she continued “that is not harsh. We are not the bad guys here really. That is just how Mother Nature wired us. We all have a role in this, if your role as humans is to create and destroy at the same time, our role is to bite. We destroyed millions of human lives, but maybe it was their time to go already, and that Mother Nature just called us up to do the dirty work. We just eat, that is all we do, and I tell you, we also get eaten at the same time. We are food for birds and other supposedly helpful creatures!” Julia seemed to go on and on with her rant, her bitterness palpable.
“Tell me about dengue.”
“Dengue”, Julia continued, “is transmitted the same way as malaria. I should say it is painful and very weakening. It is also life-threatening. The symptoms begin to show 3 to 6 days after being infected. These include sudden high fever, pain behind the eyes, severe headaches, vomiting, severe abdominal pain, difficulty breathing, nausea, skin rash, black and tarry stool, and bleeding nose or gum. And I should tell you that there is no vaccine for dengue yet.”
I just nodded. What can you say to someone who is a mass murderer after all? I then asked her to talk about yellow fever and the West Nile fever.
“It is called yellow fever because patients who have it turn yellow. I tell you, it is quite rare here in the United States. Cases of this disease, however, are still reported. If you ask about the symptoms, well some people show no symptoms. But for patients with symptoms, they will have a fever, chills, severe headache, body pains, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness. Then there will be a fewer patient who will show more severe phase. This is when they will have jaundice, high fever, dark urine, and abdominal pains. Then there may be bleeding in different parts of the body, including the mouth, nose, eyes, and stomach. After a week, the patient will die. I should also warn you that there is no treatment for this yet. The West Nile fever, on the other hand, has symptoms that include mild fever, body aches, headaches, diarrhea, vision loss, numbness, body rashes, swollen lymph glands, muscle weakness, and paralysis. There might be severe case wherein the patient has meningitis and permanent brain damage. Death can occur when the central nervous system gets affected. These symptoms appear only for 20% of the time. The other 80% show no symptoms.”
The mechanics of the mosquito bite
“What are those necessary mouth parts that you are talking about? “ I asked.
She then stared at me and showed me her mouth. “I have two tubes, one is to inject an enzyme that may prevent blood clotting. I should say the human body is amazing, it adjusts to certain dangerous situations. Humans’ blood naturally clots when wounded. It would be really hard for us to suck blood due to that. However, we found a way to work around that. Mother Nature has gifted us with an enzyme that would prevent blood clotting. Like I said, one of my tubes secrete this enzyme. The other tube is for sucking the blood. I only need to suck the blood so that I can produce eggs. my husband and I go out on a date, we eat nectar, plant sap, and honeydew”.
“Are you nocturnal? I mean why schedule this interview late in the night?” I asked her.
“I am actually confused now. As far as I know, my ancestors were creatures of the night, like bats. Nowadays, some of my pals feed even during the day. We just keep thinking up of ways to survive, and being active at all times of the day increases our chances of surviving. That is all there is to our existence anyway, think up of ways to survive, that our species will not go extinct.”
“Where do you guys hang out?” I asked again.
She then exclaimed, “We always love staying in stagnant water. We breed there. The water should be stagnant for at least 1 week. We can stay in birdbaths, puddles, swimming pools. We are also on the look-out for old items like old cans, old tires, and old water containers.”
Threats to the mosquito
“I long for the time when my ancestors can fly around without cares or worries,” continues Julia. “Nowadays, humans have found a way to eliminate us, and they are very effective!”
What are you talking about?” I asked.
“I am talking about the best pest experts in Asheboro NC, Go-Forth Pest Control. My husband and I are so afraid of them.”
I knew what Julia was talking about.
What made Go-Forth so scary for Julia and her husband? Go-Forth Pest Control has a team of highly skilled and well-trained technicians who use state of the art equipment. It is a family-owned company that has earned the trust of Asheboro residents and business establishments.
After that, I thanked Julia, and she went on her way as clumsily as she came in.