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©August 2001

Carol Jane Remsburg



Skeeter Demons






It happened last weekend when I attended a work-related annual crab feast.  It's a summertime event and most of us do something like this.  If not "company sponsored or 'union' sponsored" then those that work together get together in some fashion or other.  The event was held quite precisely named Suicide Bridge.  I had to be nuts to go!


It's a restaurant on the mid-shore of Delmarva (Eastern Shore of MD).  It's a small quaint town and its only claim to fame is this place for a feeding frenzy.  They promise good crabs and good sides and all the best.


In the last three years I've attended all has been wonderful from the down-home yet circumspect clean to the food.  The food has always been wonderful—except for the crab soup that I can't be accountable for.  I've had the best so theirs can't count.  Still the old-fashioned coleslaw, clam strips, steamed silver-queen corn and fried chicken are palatable—but that's not what we came for.  We ALL came for the crabs—and maybe the beer.


With the full understanding that this was a terrible year for crabs, I kept my expectations low.  I ought to have lowered them a mite.  Ahem, the CORN was good.  It always is.  You couldn't scrap for fried chicken and win.  It wasn't there.  With the crabs in the state they were, everyone was vying for other protein.


But the crabs, oh the crabs were so – terrible.  I opened two out of two dozen that weren't dead before they cooked them.  One taste and you know.  And for those that DON'T know, well, if they taste a bit gummy or mushy—don't go further.  They won't poison you but you don't wanna eat them. 


Yet the horror of the evening hadn't even arrived. 


I was with familiar friends and we talked and exchanged tales.  We ate some more corn and grimaced over the crabs and shuffled for more in hopes of better offerings.  Finally I quit.


It was time to go.


From beneath a stormy sky, lightning without thunder and no rain, the lawns were immaculate.  They were of a lushness you'd want to roll upon.  If you were a kid you wouldn't have hesitated for a moment.  You'd have gone for it.  The vista was gorgeous—it came with a price.


A pack of ladies we, we left and strolled across the expansive lawns to our cars.


I didn't quite notice it until I was nearing the car—some football field expanse later, that I was being bitten.  In my summertime "crab eatin'" attire, it was only T-shirt, shorts, and sandals.  The mosquitoes were the size of legend.  I couldn't beat them off with a stick, ray guns, or even Skin-So-Soft®.  I began to run!


The next morning from my ankles down appeared that I had either the smallpox or chicken pox or some kinda pox and it was ugly.  I didn't want to even be associated with ME if THOSE ankles and feet with all those bites were attached to me.


I sprayed soothing antiseptic sprays, I soaked in a tepid bath of baking soda, I used Bactine®, peroxide, witch hazel, and anything I could get my hands on to stop the itching!  I had nearly 50 bites in such a small radius that I could have changed my nationality to an Indian or something, but from my ankles down I wasn't Caucasian any more.  Did I care? 


Just PLEASE make the itching stop!


I ended up wrapping myself in lintament and socks to sleep so I wouldn't scratch.  Sunday passed and then Monday and finally Tuesday into Wednesday.  If I don't touch it won't itch yet it still appears a horror right out of a leprosy scene in a movie if the special effects are good.


And all this for some sour crabs, corn, and a few beers?


Next time, if I'm even brave enough, I'll go wearing armor plate. 


As those little buggers are big enough to carry off small animals, I won't need a second reminder.  Ouch!


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