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Saturday, Aug. 4, 2001

JAPAN LITE

Enduring summer's mosquitoes is murderous


It's summer on Shiraishi Island and the mosquitoes are out on their search and annoy missions. There are so many mosquitoes at night, it sounds like Leo Sayer is singing in my bedroom: "You make me feel like dancin' " they sing, "Gonna dance the night awa--" Pssssshhht. In a cloud of insecticide, they fall to their knees. (Yes, mosquitoes have knees. That's how they do push-ups.) Cannibals!

The other night, while I was reading in bed, a mosquito landed on my sleeve. I slapped my sleeve and SPLAT! Yuck -- someone else's blood.

I wonder if mosquitoes have DNA? Of course, insects don't have blood, they have guts. But mosquitoes do carry other people's blood so they must be carrying other people's DNA.

If someone were to murder me tonight in my bed, and the police took DNA samples from this patch of blood on my sleeve, they might accuse the wrong man. Or the wrong mosquito.

Mosquito court: Judge: Name please. Mosquito: Mosqui. Judge: Last name? Mosquito: Toe. Judge: Take the oath. Mosquito: I, Mosqui Toe, swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, on my honor hope to die, stick a needle in a fly. Judge: Where were you on the night of July 25th, at 11 p.m.? Mosqui Toe: Flying around looking for dessert. Judge: Where you with anyone? Mosqui Toe: Yes, with my friend, Stingie. Judge: What kind of dessert, were you looking for? Mosqui Toe: Oh, just a juicy morsel. Judge: Something red? Mosqui Toe: Red or reddish-brown. We had dined on some exotic foreigners and were looking for something ethnic for dessert as well. Judge: Did you find it? Mosqui Toe: Yes, your honor. I was the first one to spot the American woman's arm. Judge: What happened next? Mosqui Toe: Stingie took a dive to get it first but just then a flash of light reflected off the girl's silk pajamas, blinding Stingie. He was forced to make an emergency landing on her sleeve. I heard a SPLAT! It was awful. Judge: What did you do then? Mosqui Toe: I went down and made the best of it by lapping up the rest of Stingie's blood. Stingie and I were very close. He would have wanted it. Judge: So, you ingested Stingie's DNA as well as that of exotic foreigners earlier. Mosqui Toe: Yes, sir. Judge: Where were you later that night, when Amy Chavez was found murdered, lying in a pool of blood? Mosqui Toe: Well, sir, I had already gone home but the news of the free meal spread rapidly among my friends. Everyone I knew was descending upon the murder site. Usually a good meal involves sharpening the stinger, piercing the flesh and boring a hole. Breaking the skin is just the beginning. Your whole body shakes as you work the stinger further in, the way I've seen human construction workers use machines to bore through concrete. Judge: Would you say they were accomplices to the crime? Mosqui Toe: No sir, just opportunists. Judge: We'll have to arrest them. They should have reported the crime before dining. We're requesting your help in hunting down the guilty mosquitoes. Mosqui Toe: Well sir, they should be easy to find without my help. You see, Amy Chavez has type A blood, not the most delicious, but pretty tasty. Just look for the mosquitoes who have developed Type A personalities. Tests on laboratory mosquitoes show the following behavioral patterns:

Mosquitoes who have recently sucked type AB blood, become capricious. They will suddenly decide to fly great distances, such as to Hawaii, just for dinner. Those who have ingested type O blood will be indecisive. They'll choose their victim, swoop down, then change their minds in midair and pull up. Those who have taken in type B blood become very selfish and will not share their victims. Those who have sucked type A blood, like Amy Chavez's blood, will be precise. They will choose their victims carefully, swoop down with stinger poised, and have their meal quickly and efficiently.

Judge: Excellent research Mosqui Toe. Thank you. You are dismissed.

The jury hums in high tones and takes a break.



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