No-see-ums, sand flies, biting midges, punkies.
AKA the black plague of Florida.
Florida. You arrive in paradise. Take a deep breath. Relax. Take a long sip of that tropical drink or even better, a chilled Pinot Grigio (I always, always think of that rhyming with Topo Gigio). Lay down a beach towel, and let the sun wash away your worries. (What worries? You’re on vacation!)
You almost reach a state of blissful unconsciousness, when you notice a little red bump on your ankle (it’s always the ankle.) It starts itching — just a bit. So slightly that you just niggle it with your fingernail, scratching oh so gently.
Before you notice, that one bump becomes red, raised, yellowish and it itches like hell. You scratch some more. Too late. You jump in the pool to see if it will go away. Too late, too late. It’s started.
The next red dot is close to the first one, the third one somewhere around the other two. It seems that there is a parallel, mirrored disaster happening on the other ankle. Your nails tear at your skin. Now blood is running down the sides of your feet. It doesn’t matter, the scratching consumes all your energy, all your thoughts. It is exhausting, orgasmic and painful.
You run to the medicine cabinet, grab some cortisone ointment, dab some on, heck no, squeeze half a tube on it. No good. Just a moment of relief that expires before the cap is back on the tube.
You try antihistamine. No good. How about some alcohol? Nope. Maybe you should drink some. You run to the fridge, get a cold bottle of vodka. Some for the wound, some for you. You feel a moment of relief, then, nope, it’s back.
Whilst trying to cure the first crop of bumps, you notice that they are propagating, popping up on your arms, that inaccessible part of your back (and you thought they couldn’t bite through your linen shirt! Ha!), even your forehead. Your forehead???
The Internet is full of good advice to stop the itch, the madness.
Compresses of baking soda, lemons, salt, aloe vera, minced onions or garlic, tooth paste. You try them all. Nothing works.
You try a thick paste of Aveeno and water on your red and swollen ankles, then add half a bottle of Avon’s SkinSoSoft to make it more of a mess.
Mmmm, the first sign of relief. You smile, not sure if you should move, afraid your skin will move under the mixture and break the spell.
Time is ticking…
Wow, five minutes and you haven’t scratched yet. Ten minutes, twenty. Could this be the answer?
Damn! You feel the itch returning — creeping to the surface of the skin from deep inside, exploding on the surface with a new paroxysm of orgasmic, stinging, crawling itch.
You give up. Get drunk. Pass out.
Relief at last...
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