It landed on my arm as light as a feather boa as worn by William "Refrigerator" Perry.
Upon initial glance, I deduced that the perpetrator of the thud was either a giant mosquito or a blood-sucking crow.
My usual reaction to a mosquito on my person is to lightly slap in the vicinity of the pest, either "shooing" it away or smashing it to smithereens. On this occasion, though, that didn't work.
I was surprised to find the mosquito was still on my arm, glaring up at me as if to say, "Quit bothering me."
I then unleashed a hellish slap toward the beast that I usually reserve for the guy at the card table I find cheating. This seemed to stun the mosquito, causing him to stagger a little before regaining his composure. He looked up at me with bloodshot eyes, obviously from a long night drinking, and gave me a deflated look that said, "OK, I get the picture," and flew off to swallow some infant whole.
Here in South Georgia, we are used to an annual, year-long deluge of mosquitoes, but for some reason - probably because they had a long, dry 2007 - the skeeters this spring seem particularly vicious.
For me to whine at all about what we call "skeeters" means they are a serious problem indeed.
First, I was born with the thick skin of a newspaper editor. When I give blood, it usually takes three trained medical professionals and a special, blood-seeking, blue lamp to find a vein. Blood-sucking insects usually give my skin a brief inspection and move on.
Secondly, I'm from South Georgia and am accustomed to mosquitoes and heat, and more mosquitoes and heat. All of us have had visitors at one time or another who have complained about our bugs. I never really knew what they were talking about.
One weekend many years ago, I brought my college roommate home with me for Easter. I don't want to embarrass this person by identifying him by name, but Cale Conley was not fond of our skeeters. When my family was outside on the deck enjoying Easter dinner, Cale stayed indoors. "Cale, don't you want to come outside and get something to eat?" I asked him, concerned that he was feeling left out.
"No," he said, wrapped in a blanket on the couch with panty on his head.
"I'm scared of the mosquitoes," he said with a shiver. "One of them made me bleed."
I chalked up his fears to being one of those thin-skinned city folk, but now I feel his pain.
For the past week, I have shunned the outdoors. When my family and I pull into our carport, we have been reduced to fleeing from our car and running in a huddled mass to the back door of the house, as if some sniper was peppering us with gunfire from the woods.
Once inside, it's still bad. Twice last week, I heard a knock on my door around 8:15 p.m. and was foolish enough to answer it. The second I opened the door, a swarm of merry mosquito pranksters flew in to ravage every pore in our bodies. The neighborhood dogs have been disappearing at an alarming rate, as have pot roasts.
I've tried shooting them with a pistol, but my wife didn't like that too much. Something about hitting the microwave oven and china cabinet soured her on gunplay in the house for some odd reason.
I wonder how much one of those skeeter trucks costs?
Len Robbins is editor and publisher of The Clinch County News.