"Let’s ride over to Ocean City, get some popcorn and stroll down the boardwalk. We’ll look at all the ugly people showing off their bodies." He looked around the nearly empty snack bar and lowered his voice. "I might even park the car in a dark and isolated place."

Doris turned a page in her history textbook. "Forget it. I’m not going anywhere with you. Especially all the way to Ocean City to a mass of people on the boardwalk just to eat popcorn." She glanced at Jack for a second and then resumed looking at her history book.

Jack let thirty seconds slide by. "We could go to Assateague and hope to get bitten by the nocturne mosquito." He waited until she raised her eyes. "You have heard of the nocturne mosquito." He paused a few more seconds. "Haven’t you?"

Doris slowly nodded. "I don’t know much about it. I’ve been busy studying for a history test and haven’t had any spare time. What does it do? What God-awful disease is it spreading?"

Jack leaned back. "This is probably the only beneficial mosquito in the whole world. It only bites during the night time hours and only on Assateague Island."

Doris placed a marker in the history book and slowly closed it . "Where did this mosquito come from? How is it beneficial? It seems very strange that it would only occur on Assateague."

"Biologists aren’t sure where it came from. It’s an entirely new species." He thought for a few seconds. "It’s probably from Brazil. Some tourist brought it here from the Olympics. Rio is swarming with undiscovered species of insects and bugs."

"OK, I’ll bite. What does this mosquito spread? What is good about it other than the fact that it only bites during the nocturnal hours?"

Jack looked out the windows at the setting sun. "This mosquito carries a completely new virus. A virus that has never been seen before."

"OK, dammit. Out with it. What does this virus do?"

Jack flinched for a second. "The virus somehow increases the bitten person’s ability to learn." He paused a moment. "In most cases. It affects —-"

"Stop! If this bug bites me, I’ll become smarter?" She leaned toward Jack and glanced out the windows.

Jack nodded. "Like I said in most cases." He waited for her to interrupt. Then kept on. "Biologists and geneticists are calling this the IQ virus."

She leaned closer to Jack. "You mean I’ll be smarter if this nocturnal mosquito bites me." She thought for a few seconds. "You’ve mentioned ‘In most cases’ twice. What happens in the other cases?"

Jack leaned back a few inches. "In the other cases you have an uncontrollable urge to —." 8/28/16 Nelson Lynch

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One Response to Nocturne

  1. 83n831 says:

    Interesting start. If Doris buys this pickup line, it’s a good sign that she could seriously use a modest dose of the IQ virus. On the other hand, biologists have found that human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) form a significant part of our DNA. These are presumably bits of infectious viruses that latched onto cells and proved to be either innocuous or, as your story suggests, beneficial. If Zika virus produces microcephaly (stunted brains), it stands to reason that another virus could produce macrocephaly (abnormally large brains). Seems odd that it would come from Brazil, though. I’d guess South Korea or Singapore, given the fact that kids in these countries regularly score much higher in math/science tests than American youngsters.

    Anyhow, an interesting premise. Looking forward to the next installment. (Or is the tactical break in the sentence an indication that this is all?) Good job either way.


    Bill Ellis Professor Emeritus, English and American Studies Penn State University

    On Sat, Sep 3, 2016 10:17 AM, “Taylorville Express” wrote: >

    body { font-family: arial; font-size: 0.8em; } .post, .comment { background-color: white !important; line-height: 1.4em !important; }

    nel32 posted: “NOCTURNAL

    “Let’s ride over to Ocean City, get some popcorn and stroll down the boardwalk. We’ll look at all the ugly people showing off their bodies.” He looked around the nearly empty snack bar and lowered his voice. “I might even park th”

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