I wrote the following story during my time living in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I read it again today and cracked up, so I thought I would repost it. Enjoy …
“Get OFF!,” I insistently shouted at her. I was not, as it may seem, instructing my friend Stephanie to leave me alone, but rather, insisting that she buy bug repellent. She was once again scratching away at the mountain-sized mosquito bites between her fingers and toes, behind her knees, under her chin, and in every other spot possible.
Late one night, amongst the stagnant, moist summer air in Buenos Aires, she and I were sitting on her bed debating the pros and cons of OFF!. “As offal as my bug bites itch, I just find the smell of repellent offensive,” she said, and therefore, she refused to use it. I, however, wasn’t sure what was worse, the pungent preventative measures or the uncomfortable consequences. In any case, I knew she wouldn’t get OFF! easily, despite my remonstrances, especially since she already was having an OFF! day.
We all have OFF! days here in Buenos Aires, times when we leave our apartments and discover 10 minutes too late that we should have used the spray (it also is available in lotion form, may I just add). Perhaps OFF! body odor works the same as garlic breath. If you stink, and I stink, then we all stink together.
For as badly as I itched in that moment, I wanted to OFF! myself completely, in both senses of the term. So, I grabbed the can and started spraying. I made sure to coat my whole body in deet simply because I didn’t want to get OFF! on the wrong foot. Stephanie gave in finally and did the same.
Afterward, we felt pretty well OFF!, even though Stephanie still itched like crazy and some new red bumps were starting to reveal themselves on my arms. At least, after all the repellent I had applied, I knew for sure that those Argentinean mosquitos would recognize that my blood was OFF! limits. That was, until, I saw a tiny black creature buzzing toward me in preparation to land on my knee. There is nothing quite worse than the shrill sound of a mosquito in flight.
“Hey!” I cried. “Bug OFF!” And I raised the can in the air, armed and ready to defend myself. As everyone — including me — should know, DEET cannot actually be used to kill mosquitos. In the moment, I figured it would serve as a good distraction. But, for this exact reason, the mosquito only smirked at me, tied a small napkin around his neck, and then pulled a miniature knife and fork out of wings. All bets were OFF!. No vicious little vermin was going to get a break from my adherent defenses, especially a hungry mosquito. I leaped to my feet almost as fast as Chuck Norris, and filled the room with a cloud of deet, wishing that in fact Chuck Norris had been there to give me a hand. Stephanie and I coughed, but he would have survived the toxic air because Chuck Norris doesn’t breathe, he holds air hostage.
“Knock it OFF! already,” Stephanie shouted at me as she hid behind her bedsheet. But I wasn’t about to call OFF! the fight just yet. Where did this mosquito think he could get OFF! threatening me in that manor, sizing up my skin as an afternoon snack? (And yes, I said afternoon, because 8:30 p.m. still is early in Argentina) While I continued to run around the room, I wasn’t quite sure anymore who was chasing whom.
I could hear him behind me, but I jumped over Stephanie’s chair, knocking it over, and sped passed her armoire in order to cut him OFF! “You’re mine now,” I shouted, ready to take him down with my bare hands! But I was cornered, and he was coming right at me! I shut my eyes, and cowered behind my own arms, awaiting my fait when…..
“SMACK ….. BBZZZZZZZZZZ …….SPLAT!!!” Apparently our mosquito friend had bitten OFF! more than he could chew, and for that reason, payed with his life. Stephanie had snuck up behind him with a fly swatter.
“Thanks,” I sighed with relief.
“You’re welcome,” she smiled and nodded confidently. She extended a hand to help me up, and then we were OFF! and running to enjoy the nightlife.