Gord Grisenthwaite

Writer ♦ Photographer

How Mosquito Got His Name

“‘How Mosquito Got His Name’ is a horror story … in which the reader is placed squarely and sickeningly within the vicitm’s head; the story’s honesty, humour, and dignity leaves us wanting to be nowhere else.” – Adam Lewis Shroeder, Judge.
The chapbook is out of print and there is no online version of the full text. Gord’s currently revising this story for inclusion in a collection of short stories to be called And Still We Laugh.

In another life I was eight years old. I was short for my age. My grandmother said I carried a man’s weight on a boy’s shoulders, and my bones were squished up tight, and one day they’d spring up like one of those joke snakes in a jar of fake nuts. In time, she’d said, I would make my full height, as all men did.

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My father was drunk one night back then. He was drunk many nights, maybe even most nights.

“What’re you doing in my house?" he said.

“Dad, it’s me.”

“Dad? I’m not your father, you thieving sémeʔ. Get outt’r I’ll kill you.”

I was a rat trapped in a snake’s gaze, unable to move when he came at me. His hard, dead eyes reflected the kitchen light. He’d said he’d kill me before, but this time it sounded like he would. Sometimes his mouth said words that were the opposite of what he was doing, like “I love you,” was usually the music just before the monster crashed through the door. This was turning out to be one of those times his words and actions didn’t lie to each other. This time he’s really going to kill me, I thought.