Don’t be thrown off by that title. I’m not talking about teenage paranormal romance novels. We have a REAL vampire crisis on our hands, people. There are literally creatures out there RIGHT NOW that feed off our blood. EVERY DAY! In fact, I just swatted one, but I was too late. He already got me. Like 47 times. You think I’m being cute? I’m not. Some people might say that they can’t stand mosquitos, but I’m for real here. I freaking HATE the things. They are the bane of my summertime existence. They are a scourge. A pestilence. A bonafide plague. Why can’t someone stop them already? We can put people in space. We can make CARS. We’ve engineered extremely clever sandwiches, iPods no bigger than matchbooks, and TV shows that air new episodes for over a decade! We build MECHANICAL BEATING HEARTS, for crying out loud. We humans are pretty seriously brilliant. Right? So what gives, science people?! What is so difficult to master about these miniscule weapons of mass annoyance? Why can’t any of you umpteen Nobel Prize-winning researchers figure out how to create a bug repellent that, oh, I don’t know, ACTUALLY REPELS BUGS without otherwise harming me or the environment? Or, better yet, why can’t you create a pill I can take, same as above, minus the sticky-greasy feeling that compels me to shower at 11:30 p.m. when all I want is to fall in bed? Or, at the very least, why can’t you make an anti-itch cream that actually STOPS ITCHING (!!!!!)? Even movie people can turn fossilized mosquitos into dinosaurs, for Pete’s sake! What have YOU guys done?? Look. I get it. You’re probably all busy trying to cure cancer or solve world hunger or provide clean drinking water to third-world countries. (Incidentally, mosquitos are a pretty big deal in those third-world countries. Like you can get really sick! And I know you know that because you HAVE apparently found time to make a pill to prevent malaria. Ahem.) But I’m not asking for a big miracle here. I’m not begging you for a time machine or a clone of myself. I’m talking about killing some bugs. Not even ALL bugs—just this one ridiculous, tiny species. You can’t fit THAT into your schedule? Is it the pay? Not enough noble glory in the extermination trade? Please. The person that solves our global mosquito epidemic will surely go down in the annals of history as a dang genius. You’ll get book deals. And I will tell you right now that I would pay $1,000 a year (maybe) for one of you to finally get it right. I mean. Hey. That’s money. Think lots of people. Large scale. Or maybe it’s just your priorities. Maybe big-time scientist folks are somehow wired differently inside, and they just don’t get BIT as often and as badly as I do. Is that it? You just don’t think it’s THAT big a problem. You’re the people who prance around saying, “Oh, I don’t need bug spray. Moqsuitos never bother me!” Hogwash. People like you just hang out next to people like me when you go to barbecues or backyard parties, and we get all the flak. Yeah. We’re your flak jackets. And on you go, thinking mosquitos just don’t like you. Well, they don’t. NO ONE likes you. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m writing this outside. Where I was sitting happily. On a lovely afternoon, with my family, on my patio, attempting to enjoy myself on a blue-skied June Saturday. BUT NO. The plan is foiled. Two minutes into sitting down, I start to feel the telltale prickly heat on the back of one leg. Next, on the back of one elbow. I start to see the huge welts appear. I can’t sit still, squirming around like a two-year-old in church. I DO NOT WANT TO SCRATCH. I am 38 years old, and I know not to scratch. I’ve just told my four-year-old son to stop scratching and looked at him like he was a sad and pathetic little boy because he couldn’t control his impulses. And then here I go, digging a fingernail into the raised bump, slyly rubbing the condensation off my water glass and dabbing it on the bites and then blowing on them. Trying to apply both AfterBite (EPIC FAIL, folks) and some generic Benadryl cream that seems to think it can block histamines (which must be code for DOES NOT WORK). Spraying useless “family-friendly” Off—which, for all the good it does, might as well be mustard—all over my body. And don’t think you can come at me with your stories about the misting systems that “reduce” the number of mosquitos in my yard. I don’t want a REDUCTION. I don’t want an IMPROVEMENT. I need a cure. I want those suckers ERASED. I’ve had enough. So, get on it, all you brainiacs. Stop building cars and manufacturing hair-loss creams. Otherwise I’m going to start parading around with a garlic necklace, carrying wooden stakes. Don’t make me go all Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter, out there. Please. I beg you.