One morning, when I got out of the car to walk on the beach, I was assaulted. Instantly, I had the feeling of being stabbed by thousands of tiny knives. From my head to my ankles, and everything else exposed, I was being stabbed. I slapped, rubbed and wiggled, but nothing alleviated my torment. I looked at my arm and saw a multitude of tiny black specks – gnats! Due to their small size, they are also called no-see-ums. (Give me a big bulky mosquito any day.) The scientific name of the tiny, black, stabbing specks is Culicoides furens, though I shudder to type it.
I ran for the ocean, hoping to elude these vicious pests and found respite in the onshore ocean breezes as I waded out into the water. But this nasty gnat encounter did bring back memories of similar encounters that had inspired one of my favorite audio/reader’s theater scripts, In the Swamp. The full title is actually In the Swamp No One Can Hear You Scream. At the time I wrote it, the movie Alien was very popular and had the tagline “In space, no one can hear you scream.” I couldn’t resist.
My script tells the story of the investigation of what happened to people whose skeletalized remains are found after they don’t return from a canoe trip in a mangrove swamp in South Florida. Gnats are involved. I wrote the script as a horror-spoof, but half the audience usually feels it is a straight up, full on, frightening horror tale. Either way, it is also a fun romp through the swamp–inspired by true life events. It is one of two audio scripts compiled in my book, Mayhem in Swamp and Snow.