The vaccine bug

Mosquito

The mosquitoes of Peckham are feeling really miffed. At the start of the year, much fuss was made of the new Covid-19 vaccines and a call was made for helpers in the vaccination rollout. The mosquitoes, still in larval form, got wind of this and started congregating in the ponds, pools, and puddles of Peckham. They were excited as by the time they emerged as adults they were eligible to volunteer. Basically, they had the right equipment – a long proboscis acting as the thinnest of syringes, together with a light touch, and the ability to bite you in unlikely places. And they didn’t need PPE or to sanitise their legs or wear masks; they even knew that a large proportion of them would die splattered against a bedroom wall. A real kamikaze attitude.

They applied and were instantly rejected. “Not enough experience”. Not enough experience? the mosquitoes whined in unison. After all, they were experts at spreading diseases – malaria, dengue fever, Zika virus, yellow fever, West Nile virus – why not just load up with the vaccine and inject people? Some even tried to volunteer for the vaccine trials, especially as a lot of their friends had already escaped the swamps and were being reared in sterile white laboratories. Admittedly they were being subjected to genetic modification for other uses, but hey-ho, it seemed a small sacrifice.

The mosquitoes felt it was time to rebrand themselves as the good guys – how marvellous it would feel to be held up as the heroes of the Covid-19 pandemic rather than one of the most hated insects on the planet. They talked about saving the NHS millions of pounds, calculating if they all pulled together they could jab a whole country in a week given the right muggy conditions. They even had perverse ideas about how to dupe the anti-vaxxers by convincing them the swollen itchy needle hole in their arm is ‘just a mosquito bite’. Obviously, they would have to get around DDT and other nasty mosquito repellents, or flying too close to citronella candles; and those pesky nets are an obstacle. Nevertheless, they were experts at surreptitiously crawling up inside someone’s trousers or under a t-shirt, though they would have to quell their annoying whiny buzzing so as not to be squashed. But in their tiny minds, it could be done…

Mosquitoes in Peckham

Its nearly Christmas and for those of you still desperate to find a present for that long-lost cousin who is threatening to turn up at your house on Wednesday morning you could do worse than purchasing a Mosquito t-shirt.

Mosquito and Lou's screen print

Mosquito and Lou’s screen print

These lovely t-shirts are hand screen-printed by Peckham-based designer Lou Smith at Captured on the Rye, from a photo taken at the Peckham Moth Night in Warwick Gardens in August. This is the perfect present for people who annoy you! And presents for the people you love? Check out his bumblebee, wasp, ant and crow designs… they are sublime.