Don’t say anything until it happens to you…
Last night, I was VERY naughty, and instead of writing, I read Linda Howard’s Heart of Fire for the kazillionth time. I love that book. It had everything. Danger, intrigue, romance (of course) and adventure–in the Amazon, no less, one of the most adventurous places on the planet. On a side note, R. Ann Siracusa, author of the fabulous Tour Director Extraordinaire series, is currently in the Amazon…hope you’re having fun! Anyway, re-reading about the dangers of the Amazon, caimans, jaguars, leeches, reminded me of my own encounter with a tropical ick.
Just last November, I was up in Cairns (Australia–tropical North Queensland). My dad had some work up there for a couple of days, and he was taking Mum with him. Since accommodation was paid, when they asked if we (me and my brother) wanted to come along, we leapt at the chance.
While we were there, we went to Mossman Gorge. Absolutely beautiful, if you can stand the humidity it’s well worth the visit. Recommend you DON’T go during the Australian summer, as the humidity is unbearable. Anyway, I (foolishly) had not brought water with me, so by the time we were halfway through the seven kilometer (um, quick conversion, about four and a half miles), I was feeling a bit sick. Not really sick, but a yucky sick. If you know what I mean.
Oh, something you should know about me–I hate bugs. Hate with a passion. Spiders, ants, mosquitoes, anything that has more than two legs and either creeps or flies, ugh. So when I felt something bite me on my calf, I was predisposed to freak out. I had a look–black bug on me. Yuk. Still, I was prepared to be an adult; I’m twenty-seven, not seven. So, I bent over to brush it off.
It wouldn’t come off.
This was when hysteria crept in. Or should I say, leapt in with a freaking marching band. I immediately screeched and began freaking out in the worst possible way. The words, “it won’t come off” and “get it off” were the only ones I could say. Yes, I had been bitten by a leech.
My darling baby brother, after my dad had pulled the disgusting, slimy little thing off my leg, and I was trying (unsuccessfully) to calm down, told me that we should have left it alone. Once it’s full, it just drops off by itself. Thanks, darling, but the only thing I would ever want sucking my blood is a sexy and non-homicidal vampire. This leech was not sexy.
Then, as I held a tissue to my leg to stop the trickle of blood, he told me that the best way to get a leech to let go is to a) sprinkle it with salt or b) hold a lit match to it. Since I hadn’t been organised enough to bring water, I don’t know why he thought I’d have salt and/or a match.
For the rest of the day, Dad and my darling little brother (who, I should mention, is 25 and six-foot-three) kept teasing me about my hysterical fit over a bug that was about the size of my pinky fingernail. My response? “When you’ve been bitten by a leech, then you can comment. Until then…!#$%^&$@.”