“You know why malaria’s such a big killer in Africa” Bill asked Jerry.
“I dunno. They don’t know how to get rid of ants” was Jerry’s response. He held a Fuller Brush hairbrush in his hand and he looked in the overhead mirror to comb his locks. The car sped down the highway. Bill moved it into the slow lane.
“Nah, you big numbskull. Malaria ain’t spread by ants. Check the map, Jerry.”
“Check the map.”
They were driving across the state to a friend’s wedding celebrations, which would start the following morning, and Bill had just turned on the windscreen wipers for the fifth time to clear it of the bugs that had splattered across it.
“Oh. Okay…” Jerry was trying to decipher the map, his head buried deep in it, his minor realizations made vocal as he ran his finger along a line.
“Are we gonna reach the exit soon” Bill asked.
Jerry pulled the map down from his face.
“We’ve got three exits left.” Jerry told him.
“Three exits and then the fourth exit is ours”
“No. Three exits and the third exit is ours. So ehhh…why you talking about malaria all of a sudden”
“It’s these damn bugs got me thinking is why. Malaria’s spread by mosquitoes, see”
“So the US rallied most of South America together and showered the whole region in DDT, yeah”
“Except they couldn’t do the same in Africa when they realized how dangerous DDT is.”
“So they don’t know how to get rid of ants in Africa now, other than with DDT. Bugs, I mean. Not ants.”
“Exactly.” Bill lit a cigarette.
“Aw, do you have to stink up the car” Jerry groaned, rolling down the window. “That stuff is as toxic as DDT. But hey, Bill…”
“Why don’t they use another insecticide I know Fuller Brush do an insecticide that kills mosquitoes, and any other kind of bug…so why don’t they use something like that in Africa”
“I don’t know,” Bill shrugged.
“Well, you should know these things.”
“Why should I know these things Why should I know how to get rid of ants or mosquitoes or anything else”
“Coz you know lots of stuff. You can’t tell me why Fuller Brush can’t go over to Africa and show them how to get rid of ants, you shouldn’t have brought it up in the first place,” Jerry retorted. “And put that thing out before I choke, please!”
“It’s mosquitoes, Jerry. Mosquitoes. Okay” Bill put the cigarette out as they sped towards the setting sun.
Five minutes later, they missed the exit. It wouldn’t have mattered anyway; they were meant to have taken a different exit an hour before.