Paint me with citronella oil and call me Warrior-Gyal. I going on a hunt, I going for the kill and the enemy is them Dark Things on Wings.
Them Things sneak up with these May-June rains, sneak in between the pouring wah-wah, and sometimes pitta-patta. As soon as the rain ease up and them grey clouds pull back one kanchee bit, them Dark Things on Wings rush out in black flocks. I want to believe that they form unions - they arrive so thick, in unison.
Oh? My venture to kill them is a frivolous one? Skin irritation, allergic reaction and swelling ain’t that bad?
Well, what about dengue that them Dark Things cause? It come with fever to blister you, and pain so fierce even your eyelashes hurt, one sufferer did tell me. And the hemorrhagic kind make your gums bleed.
And what about malaria? That kill millions in plenty countries, kill children in different lands - every so many seconds, one child dead. I ain’t know how my mother survive it as a chile. Fever blaze she skin, chills rattle she bones and pain make she very marrow cry out.
And don’t let me talk about filaria, which them Dark Things bring, sticking parasite into you, then your leg swell grotesque, make your leg, from your knee down, look like a giant, mutant elephant foot.
How them Dark Things get this power is a story so olllld, old like the story of Man. I hear it from my mother who hear it as a chile from Long Lady, who did live in she village.
One day, me nanee, my mother’s mother, send she girl-chile to return a coconut grater to Long Lady. Them Dark Things been zinging around Long Lady yard in heavy, black clouds.
“Clap them, kill them,” Long Lady say. “Don’t make them bite you.
“One day,” Long Lady say, “the very first Dark Thing go to God.
“ ‘God,’ Dark Thing say, ‘I want to have power to kill people.’
“ ‘No,’ God say. ‘Go and bite people. If them nah kill you first then you got power.’
“So clap them, kill them,” Long Lady say.
Yesterday, in we yard I blast a basin full o’ brooms, a box with empty plant pots, all corners, with Baygon. Mother Nature haul sheself into she green-leafy cloak, screw up she face at the rotten insecticide smell. I sorry Mother Nature, I sorry, I ain’t got no other method that ain’t gon harm the land, no safe method like insect eating plant growing near Kaieteur, we interior waterfall.
I did hear that them Israeli scientists formulate a safe method, sugar and something else, put it in trees to attract them Dark Things and kill them...but until that become available...
...and until we get we own scientists here...oh but this one is a dream, we don’t seem to put much energy into science research here, and all we Bright Young Things migrate, leaving we with them Dark Things on Wings.
Aiyeee, but them Dark Things dwell Abroad too, and the list of troubles they can cause there too can read like a death chant.
Lucky for me, I got a fighting chant, a chant that my mother learn as a chile with she classmates, Mam Bruce teach them. [I wish, I wish I did know who that long-ago writer is, so I can give credit.]
We all are jolly hunters
Though we haven’t got a gun,
We’re out to slay wild animals
And we’ll have lots of fun.
The animals we’re hunting have lots of people killed,
And should you let them bite you
They will make you very ill.
Look there’s a mosquito
Smack smack smack.
There he is again
Now setting on your back.
Kill him while you have the chance
He’s a deadly foe.
The cause of all your fever is a mosquito.
Now paint me with citronella oil and call me Warrior-Gyal, I going on a hunt.
p.s mosquito is ‘he’ and not ‘she’. I kill one and had a good look.