Lone Star Stories
Speculative Fiction and Poetry
No Mosquito is a God
by Jon Hansen
No mosquito is a god, so no god should be a mosquito. I recite this semi-Zen koan to myself as the doctors circle me as if on leashes. If only. Then I could release them, let them run back to their peer-reviewed journals and double-blind scientific testing, to their empirical world where everything makes sense.
A nurse swoops into their orbit, brandishing a pair of metal shears. They gleam like a magic sword under the ER lights. For a moment I think she's the hero taking matters into her own hands (like heroes often do), but instead she fits them into my pants cuff and starts cutting. Snip, snip, snip, all the way up the seam.
In moments I'm lying in my altogether. Embarrassment fills me, but only the most dedicated pervert is checking out my privates right now.
No, all eyes are on the swelling on my right thigh, a swelling that doubles the thickness of my leg, skin stretched so tight and thin we can all see what's underneath it, wiggling with movements distinct to the naked eye.
One intern faints, and the rest just step around him.
They've been asking me questions since I hobbled in, sensible, easy questions for the most part ("Who's your insurance carrier?" "Do you have any family we can contact?" "Do these clothes have sentimental value?"), some cannot be answered despite their simplicity.
Specifically: "When did this happen?"
When indeed. I could track it back to the sudden throbbing pain in my leg an hour ago while in line for a hotdog and Pepsi lunch. Or back to the bump I'd had on my leg for a week, a normal-sized red bump that itched, just like a mosquito bite.
Or I could track it all the way back to my trip to Crete, looking out at the waves when I wasn't staring at bikini-clad Alicia, but definitely not noticing the mosquito on my leg. Not until it bit me.
The pain in my leg increases, if it's possible, and I scream. I've been screaming for a while, but this new one puts all my previous screams in perspective as mild. Barely noticeable, even. The doctors clutch up in a quick huddle before breaking apart to surround me.
One of them, the oldest and presumably most competent in the bunch, readies a scalpel. He hesitates only a microsecond before slicing the skin near my hip, right where the swelling starts. The blade doesn't twinge any more than a mosquito bite.
I had swung on reflex when the mosquito bit me, smacking hard enough against my skin to make it tingle. I looked down, only to see the mosquito still there. Not a blood-splattered smear on my hand, but intact. A moment later it took off, buzzing briefly in my ear before disappearing into the blue sky.
The doctor follows the swelling's edge with the scalpel, with surprisingly little blood showing. Then the thing underneath shifts and the remaining skin just shreds. The doctor drops the scalpel and they all stand frozen, mouths like lowered drawbridges.
I scream yet again and this time the thing from inside my leg joins me. It's a baby. A boy with a fresh set of lungs, loud and proud as they say. He screams again and this time another nurse picks him up off my leg. He waves tiny fists at the world, eyes shut tight against the light.
All the doctors follow the nurse, follow the baby, doubtless to weigh and prod and measure in a fruitless attempt to determine just how he can be in this world. Another nurse starts to clean and bandage and cover me up. She smiles wide, and in a voice as bright as it is dim she says, "Congratulations, you're a father!"
Am I the father? No, not as such. The nurse keeps talking, but the mosquito is even now still buzzing in my ear, explaining I'm not his first choice, no, that would've been sweet Alicia, but Hera's vengeful eye has grown even sharper over the millennia, so I get the honors instead. Besides, it's not like the boy's leaping full-grown straight out of my skull, so I should stop whining.
I close my eyes and wonder if Hallmark makes cards for Surrogate Parents of Demi-Gods Day.
About the Author:
Jon Hansen spends the vast majority of his
time in the southern United States in the company of his wife Lisa and their
small army of cats. His short fiction and poetry have appeared in various
speculative fiction magazines since 1996. Slightly more insightful details can
be found on his web site.
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