As Milton recognized, every Paradise needs a Beelzebub or two. Here in Antigua, the satanic actor is an invisible bloodsucking insect that has made mincemeat of my feet.
What’s especially devilish about these vicious biting bastards is that they don’t seem to bite everyone. Kish, for example, has been left blissfully unpierced by the no-see-‘ums. Obviously, these are highly discriminating creatures. But what is it that causes them to shun some people while leaving others tattooed with bites that itch like crazy? Are they some form of hellish punishment for the wicked? Or is there something about my blood that makes it especially attractive to these misbegotten monsters? And why do these vermin seem particularly eager to nibble on my feet, which are now dotted with more welts than the Caribbean has islands?
It’s impossible to resist itching the bite marks, but fortunately Russell suggested going into the ocean — and it seems to have worked. At least, the bites aren’t quite as itchy as they once were. Rum drinks and cigars seem to help, too.