Me mate Spider and the Mosquitos

Once I had a pommy friend called Spider. The name suited him to. He was a long, lanky sought of bloke with long hair and beard and small, horn rimmed glasses. He had come out to Australia after years of working as a draftsman and an artist and helping street kids get back into English society.

Spider wanted some of the good life for himself so before he left London he put some money down on a lease of land on a tropical island in Australia. It ended up being Green Is out here in Moreton Bay. Of course when he got here he found it was half mangroves and half mosquitoes and sand flies but there was a hut and there were some fruit trees so he gave it a go.

Spider got himself a boat and was soon poking around the bay fishing and crabbing and prawning. Of course he kept a look out for anything that might be useful to extend his hut with and was soon pretty good at beach combing and scavenging and scrounging.

One day as I was enjoying a quiet home brew with him on his newly mosquito netted verandah I asked where was the best place around for scrounging the bits and pieces he was accumulating at a great rate. He admitted it was the old dump down near the sewerage treatment plant at the north end of Wynnum. 'It's got great rubbish' he said 'but it's a bit risky though.'

'How's that ?' I asked.

'Well it's on account of the mosquitoes. You see they've been breeding amongst all that toxic waste that's been coming out of the dump and the sewerage treatment plant for years and I reckon it's affected their genes.'

'They're so big and vicious they leave their poor cousins out here on the islands for dead, mate.'

'Oh come on. They can't be that bad,' I said.

'No. Dead serious. They are. They're a real risk to life and limb. They're getting worse to. I'm not sure if I'll risk going back after what happened the other day.'

'What was that?'

'Well I went over in the boat around full tide so I could get as far up the little creek that runs up through the mangroves as I could. I cut the motor when I was getting close so I wouldn't make too much noise and wake up the mosquitoes but they must've had scouts out because, no sooner had I tied the boat up to a mangrove and started climbing over the roots and branches heading for the dump when, they attacked from behind.'

'I picked up anything I could lay my hands on to try and swat the big brutes but the mangrove branches were all rotten and just broke over their heads so all I could do was retreat fighting as I went.'

'I reckon those mossies must have had it all planned because I was getting further and further away from my boat all the time and now it wasn't just those mossies I had to contend with it was the chemical warfare as well. The toxic fumes and smells from all that dumping was really bad and I was lucky to stagger out of the mangroves and into the dump'

'I thought I was safe when I saw an old gal iron rain water tank someone had dumped up on the tip so I made a dash for it and dived through the inlet hole in the top and landed in the pile of rubbish on the bottom. I found an old can and rags amongst the rubbish and stuffed them up into the hole to stop those mossies getting in so I thought I was safe.'

'I was in for a surprise though because the mossies brought up their heavy fighters. They started dive bombing the tank and boy didn't I get a fright when the first big proboscis stuck straight through the tin and came spearing in at me. I kept dodging and ducking and weaving as more of them penetrated the tank. Then I got a good idea. I picked up an old bit of iron bar and, as each proboscis stuck through the tank, I gave it a good wack and bent it over so that they couldn't withdraw it and have another go at me. Well pretty soon the whole surface of the tank was covered in angry mossies with their pointy bit bent over and out of action.

'I thought great I can just lie down and have a badly needed rest. Well I did and pretty soon I was falling asleep and dreaming I was floating away on a big fluffy cloud.'

'Well what happened when you woke up?' I asked him.

'Well this is the bit you'll find hard to believe,' Spider said.

'No go on. I want to know how you got out of it all.'

'Well I woke to the sound of machine guns and the scream of a jet and it felt like I was falling until - ker bommmmm! - we hit the ground with a hell of a whump and a mob of Air Force guys were dragging me out of the tank. The ground was littered with the bodies of dead and bleeding mosquitoes. You see the mossies that were stuck to the outside of the tank must've got orders from the boss mossie to get rid of me so they all took off together and were flying west at a great rate of knots when they made the mistake of flying over Amberley Air Base and were shot down by an F111.'

'Yeah I can see what you mean about risky. Still have you ever thought about catching a few and training them and starting your own airline?'

'Nah. What do think I am stupid or something.'

© Daryll Bellingham, Storyteller. 1997

(An adaption of an old tall story and
the circumstances of a couple of pommy friends
when they arrived in Queensland)

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Storytelling in Australia

Daryll Bellingham, Storyteller
P.O. Box 5300, West End, Q4101, 
Brisbane, Australia
Tel. 61 (0)7 3846 3135
Mob. 0417 478408
All contents copyright (C) 2001, Daryll Bellingham. All rights reserved.
Last update: 26th August, 2003.
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