The question recently posed by the Gwangan Writers’ Group: “What makes you angry?” What a fucking question. After three years of living in this country, there is a laundry list, though they may be said to be minor annoyances on a good day. The way people drive, the mouth open chewing, the bargaining for grades, the long grade change period, the last minute nature of quote un quote important projects, annoying foreigners who embarrass me with their obnoxious, look-at-me loud behavior and the conversations that I have with said way-gookens which are almost always a monologues: diatribes about bad visits from parents or about how they know more than you about this country or another (yes, the population of California is larger than all of Canada, by the way; but I’m called a liar anyway; then again, I’m not one to lord it over anyone). Despite all these things, the thing that makes me the most angry is the fucking mo-gee, that nasty ghostly fuckhead mosquito that kept me awake last night.
As I was trying to fall asleep, thinking about the deep, round tones I heard earlier in the evening from the bell from the Buddhist monastery a quarter mile away, I had finally put in check all the other things that piss me off and was 90% of the way to dreamland, that nocturnal place in my unconscious where I have dreams that make me sit bolt up-right and disturb my sleep…anyway, I was well on my way to that place that doesn’t allow for good sleep anyway, but at least there’s a few hours of restfulness before the heart-stopping night-terrors…okay, so I’m pissed about a lot of things and there’s nothing I can really do about them unless I completely isolate myself from the world, so fucking deal with it, right? Anyway, I can usually find a little peace of mind as I drift off to sleep, rolling over on my side, about to go over the edge into full sleep when a high-pitched sound finds its way to my ear; swatting at it, I clobber my ear with a flat palm…my ear ringing, I stay still, fully awake from the little bastard that just buzzed the tower…I close my eyes and try to find that place again where I am about to fall off to sleep, but its difficult with the ringing in my ear, as if I have popped some sort of insular material around my psyche that protects me from all things unsavory in my life…the things that piss me off drip-drop at first, then trickle, then turn to a torrent…but goddamn am I tired…
Fighting the waves of anger that leap up in front of me, I close my eyes, get about 50% of the way to sleep when the mo-gee seems to land on my shin bone; I use a foot to brush him away; then he seems to land on my scalp, so I swat my increasingly balding headtop…ear ringing, shin scratched from un-cut toenails, bald spot throbbing, the waves of all other things increase in height. As if to mock me, Nic starts snoring. Insult to injury, she turns over and lances my back with her pointy elbows. She mocks me, I know. She’s playing like she’s asleep. Sleeps like the dead, and that just ain’t fair. Dreamless. Worry-free slumber. She compartmentalizes and rarely has trouble falling asleep. But maybe she’s dealing with her anger, dealing with it by mocking me, snoring, piercing me with those stiletto elbows, getting back at me for something I did, something left unsaid. Really, though, she’s not like that; but I’m just pissed because I can’t sleep and all I can do is think irrational thoughts. Too tired to read, too angry even to write. Oh, maybe I will write.
Little bugger buzzes the tower again and I hit myself in the forehead, the needles of this smack are still present as I swipe my hand over the impact crater to find no moisture of dead mosquito; fuck it, I say. I turn on the lights to hunt, the only poor bastard awake in the entire world. Mano y mosquito now, fuckface. I search all the normal spots where the guerilla mosquito hides. Behind the headboard? No. Behind the chair back? Nope. On the big neon light that now engulfs the room? Nada. So where the hell is he? Nic is really good at hunting these bastards, but she has just covered up her eyes with her arms and sleeps on as if there weren’t a war going on right now. A land-air war. And the mo-gee has stealth technology. It wasn’t like this in the beginning of the mo-gee wars back in May. They were slow, stupid and easy to splat where they rested. As the war wore on, though, there were refinements in their intelligence, each successive blood-sucker getting more refined in his evasion, more attuned to the victims sleep habits: waiting until said victim is asleep before biting six times on the top of my foot, or once on each knuckle of my left hand, making me look like an eczema sufferer in front of my classes for an entire week. But now they are getting dumber again, too hungry perhaps to wait until the victim has gone to sleep. I wonder, as I turn off the light and wait for the one-sided battle to continue, what the lifespan is of these fuckers, wonder where they go when the weather is too cold, wonder why they don’t seem to attack Nic, that sound sleeper who has begun to lightly snore again.
Once again, I feel the dreaded mo-gee move on me and I get up slowly and go over to the light, turn it on, find him near the head of the bed on my side, glaringly obvious against the white wallpaper. Swiftly I walk over and, concerned about besmirching the wallpaper, I make him go airborne so I can clap him to death mid-air. Never as satisfying and way more difficult to pull off, this method is very workman (or workwoman-like), the chosen method of my soundly sleeping bedmate. A couple mid-air attempts, the fucker buzzes me, trying to get me to fall victim to friendly fire by buzzing my head and my nose and my eyes, but I’ll not do that again. I sit down, taking a break from the pitched battle. He alights not far from me, I say to hell with the wallpaper. I’m gonna mount this bastard on my wall like so much hunting trophy. Smack. Done. His legs and body a perfectly flattened Picasso bug. His blood is not mine—he only stole my sleep—; his blood plunged out of him every which way. A good kill, I tell myself. A relatively quick battle in this seasonal war. Well, maybe not. But at least the only casualties are him and my tormented sleep.
I lay down again, waiting on my back for slumber to descend onto my battle-weary limbs when…oh, shit. Was that his brother? I try to remain calm as I think I feel another bastard landing on my shin bone. The thing that makes it difficult for me is that I am a hairy bastard. Sometimes—probably most of the time—I feel something on my leg-chest-arm-head-shoulder, it is just one of my millions of hairs getting comfortable, rearranging itself for the night. But by this point I am a paranoid SOB, so the mind is twirling off into anger instead of curling up into sleep. Off goes the mind again, imagined mo-gees playing in the tall golden and brown stalks of my body hair. Finally, I just cover the whole of my body and head under the sheet. Suffocation be damned. Sleep, the sleep of the dead would be better than these tormenting thoughts keeping me awake. Awake and angry. I wonder what time it is. It’s 4am. I know by the sound of the low, round tones from the Buddhist temple not a quarter mile away.