Party Parasites, fiction by Misty Skaggs

When the day slips away, the mos­qui­toes come out. And bare skin brings the bugs. Not so far in the dis­tance, she can hear them shak­ing off stag­na­tion among the cat­tails and she wish­es wist­ful­ly that her jeans weren’t shoved down around her ankles. The buzzing comes drift­ing to her even over the bland and labored breath against her eardrum. The buzzing comes over the stink of Skoal spit pool­ing in the del­i­cate pit where her shoul­der meets her neck. The fran­tic beat of the winged cloud ris­ing from their cool roost in the moist mud is loud, loud­er. Loud­est. And the coun­try air is clear, car­ry­ing the sound of the insects unob­struct­ed. Aside from a fer­vent grunt and an echoed, half-ass, half moan. It occurs to her vague­ly that they want her blood. Mos­qui­toes are par­ty par­a­sites, she thinks. They live short and drink hard, ten days to exist and to fuck and to die.

There’s a light tick­ling touch on her skin when they get brave enough to land below her waist. It isn’t unpleas­ant, but it nev­er lasts. What she feels deeply is the sting of pen­e­tra­tion and the desire to scratch an itch. And the fleet­ing fear of dis­ease. She tries not to scratch and slap at the prob­ing pests. She thinks of after­noons on the creek bank with a good look­ing felon who had the decen­cy to keep a blan­ket and cold beer in his Mamaw’s wick­er bas­ket. She’s cov­ered in sweat but not sweat­ing. The bugs can smell it.


Misty Skag­gs, 29, cur­rent­ly resides on her Mamaw’s couch way out at the end of Bear Town Ridge Road where she is slow­ly amass­ing a library of con­tem­po­rary fic­tion under the cof­fee table and per­fect­ing her but­ter­milk bis­cuits. Her gravy, how­ev­er, still tastes like wall­pa­per paste. She is cur­rent­ly tak­ing the scenic route through high­er edu­ca­tion at More­head State Uni­ver­si­ty and hopes to com­plete her BFA in Cre­ative Writing…eventually.

Misty won the Judy Rogers Award for Fic­tion with her sto­ry “Ham­burg­ers" and has had both poet­ry and prose pub­lished in Lime­stone and Inscape lit­er­ary jour­nals. Her short series of poems enti­tled “Hill­bil­ly Haiku" will also be fea­tured in the upcom­ing edi­tion of New Madrid. She will be read­ing from her chap­book, Pre­scrip­tion Panes, at the Appalachi­an Stud­ies Con­fer­ence in Indi­ana, Penn­syl­va­nia in March. When she isn’t writ­ing, Misty enjoys tak­ing long, woodsy walks with her three cats and watch­ing Dirty Har­ry with her nine­ty six year old great grandmother.

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5 Responses to Party Parasites, fiction by Misty Skaggs

  1. Chris Holbrook says:

    Misty is the real thing. A writer to the core.

  2. not Misty Skaggs says:

    So proud of my baby girl.

  3. Diana says:

    I went to school with Misty and she always had such a flare for life. She lived it her way by her rules, not social stand­ings and I loved her for it. I am so proud of her and every­thing she has accom­plished. Misty is one of the greast­est peo­ple I have ever had the priv­i­lege of know­ing! Always root­ing for ya Misty!!!!

  4. So proud of Misty. She's one of my for­mer stu­dents. A bril­liant young woman and writer.

  5. Chris Mayor says:

    Absolute bril­liance! Only if I had a bot­tle of cheap whiskey, sit­ting next to me. Oh wait… I do.

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