Ants (Or Scorpions) in the Pants
Yesterday, I had a chance to be stung by a scorpion, the famous Mexican "alacrán." It was one of the black ones (supposedly the worst).

He, or she (accounts differ) was hiding in my pants that we had set on the table so I could don them early this morning. I took them up, stuck my foot in the right leg, then the left, and suddenly there was a burning sensation on my foot, on the inner or weaker side.

When I went to brush away whatever it was eating my foot, the sensation was instantaneously transferred to my right hand, and out popped this tiny ugly black wrigging creature, its pricker hovering over its back.

That beastly bugger knew how to stick it to me. Ángel who had come quickly when he heard my groan, grabbed the son-of-a-bitch just below his (or her) stinger, tore it off, and offered me what was left of the wriggling creature as a prize, perhaps a momenti mori. According to those who know, scorpion stings result in swelling and paresthesia. The anatomical part of the scorpion that delivers the sting is called a "telson." Just be glad that I wasn't in the Middle East, or Rio. The sting of the Israeli deathstalker (Leiurus quinquestriatus) or the Brazilian yellow scorpion (Tityus serrulatus) can result in death . . . or worse.

I looked up scorpions on the internet and found out that I might now, as we speak, be lying in my dirt bed: people who are very young or very old are subject to breathing problems, convulsions, and heart failure. "Seek immediate medical treatment," I read, "especially if aged or infirm."

However since our local hospital here near the Tropic of Cancer is known for quickly hurrying its clientele off to The Far Side, I stayed home and found out the best way to deal with the swelling and excruciating ache is raw garlic, or a folded basil leaf, stem cracked open, juice to be spread over the area of the sting. Local lore, though, says the best first aid is the juice of the limón applied to the wound and, at the same time, sucked down with a sugar concoction.

If you ever visit, I'd like show you our current pet alacrán. She likes hiding in corners, around the woodwork, and half-hidden in the lower parts of the bedstead, waiting to nip me as I roll over in my sleep.

After the lover's nip, I've found the pain does drag on and on . . . in my case only consented to leave after a miserable four hours, when we went to the only Japanese restaurant in town and found that burning hot saki works even better than the juice of the mango or basil.

Or, even, perhaps, the kiss of death.

--- C. A. Amantea
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