It’s summer again, and along with that comes the ever-approaching threat of invasion by a hostile force. It seems to happen at least once a year in these parts, and the inhabitants have become pretty used to the constant attacks on the old battlefields. We’ve mapped out strategies and discussed plans of counterattack, and sure enough when the time comes we rout the enemy and continue to live out happy existances in the homeland.
There’s something odd about the current crop of creepy-crawlers. They’re sneaky, shifty, crafty. They’ve come silently and actually caused us grief before being repelled, but they keep returning. And now they’ve found their way past my prime defenses and struck at the very heart of my operations. I tell you this will not stand.
I will now shift tenses and begin to describe this in the past, since the event has already happened and I’m too tired to go back and rewrite the previous two paragraphs for literary continuity. I was sitting at my computer, most likely reading this very board, when across my knuckle shambled an odd creature. Six legs, antennae waving furiously as it hightailed down my wrist and onto the keyboard. I paused for a moment, then identified it.
“An ant,” I thought, idly crushing its body between my thumb and forefinger and flicking the carcass into the trash bin. “I wonder what it’s doing here.” Ants are vitrually unknown in this section of BraheSilvania - my room is on the second floor, and there are much more tempting things to find on the way to any ingress to my quarters, such as the kitchen, the garbage can, or the cat’s bowl. Why an ant would somehow make its busy way up to my room and onto my desk was beyond me, but I lauded its spirit of exploration and went to wash my hands. I fiured that it had been caught in my shoe somehow and managed to escape, eventually finding an untimely demise at my hand.
Over the next few hours, it was apparent that this ant was not alone. Several more had been spotted in the same area - crawling over the monitor and on the wall. Clearly the ants had launched a formal expedition, without meeting the border checkpoints or sending an emissary of good will. Not that it would have made a difference to them in the end, of course. The penalty for illegal insect immigration to my room is an instant death, followed by flushing for our arachnid offenders. I needed to find their point of entrance. The last time I had seen ants in my room, they had come in through the electrical outlets after being seen in the bathroom on the other side of the wall. To get to the outlets, I had to move aside both my computer desk and bookshelf, no easy feat in the small hours of the morning. Even so, the ants were not coming from the plugs. I pulled my mattress aside to check the phone jack, but again the search was fruitless. A cursory glance at the window told me that they weren’t coming from there, but I closed it anyway, sealing myself into a warm tomb.
The ants had no clear motive to be disturbing me in such a fashion. There was no food in my room, I had been very sure of that. No gum, nor candy, nor an empty soda can that may be attracting them. I cleared away all the visible interlopers and settled down to a night’s rest. Before I could reach a state of comfort, however, I noticed something was amiss. While it isn’t that unusual to feel slightly itchy while drowsing off to sleep, this was different, more. . . mobile. I snapped awake.
Damnation! These pests thought they could crawl across my very body while I slumbered. For that, they would surely pay. I needed to find the point of entrance, so I turned on all the lights in the room and searched the walls - I needed to find one, wound it so it would run back to its trail and tell me where the offending creatures appeared from. During this search, I found the item they had been searching for: an old cough drop, left for years on the back of my headboard, was almost enveloped with a shifting blanket of ants. How they discovered it, I have no clue. The ants on my desk must have been exploring the confines of my chambers while the others attempted to feast upon the vitimin-C enriched goodness.
I retrieved a plastic cup from the bathroom and placed the cough drop with its hopeful passengers inside. I then returned to the lavatory and filled the vessel with water, brushing the ants off and swishing them down the drain to a watery grave. Back in my room, the word was out: they had been discovered, and apparently the equivilent of an ant fire drill was going on. This revealed their secret entrance to my lair - they had in fact come in the window, but had stayed hidden in the tracks where I couldn’t see them until now. Destruction was assured. Our household has recently switched sprays to some sort of “organic” pesticide that claimed to be safe for pets and small children (in small doses, I suppose). It kills bugs dead, and doesn’t reek of chemicals. Instead, it has a rather cloying minty aroma, as if your sinuses have been filled with powdered wintergreen Altoids then shaken gently. I felt that this would be safe enough for use in my room, but steps had to be taken before I could allow too much contamination to spread.
I moved my laundry and pillows out to the hall, then began the assault. With wide, sweeping bursts from the can, I left aresol swathes of death on the sill, the wall, the window - ant bodies curled and became still, but I wanted full and complete domination of the playing field. After a moment I realized that I had in fact instigated mutually assured destruction - I wouldn’t dare to sleep in here with the amount of poison wafting around. In a reversal of policy, the borders were thrown open. My windows, with only the barest of screens between my domain and the outside world, were now appearing to be welcoming any who would wish to enter. I laid some more spray to discourage this idea, then turned the fan around to blow out the window and set it to high. This done, I turned out the lights, shut the door and went downstairs.
A night on the sofa is not too much to pay for the eradication of an enemy force. Seven hours of fan-blowing later, my room is inhabitible again, and retains a minty fresh smell. And the cough drop? It was still in a cup of water in the bathroom sink. Even with all their efforts, the ants hadn’t even managed to get past the wrapper. It was waterproof at least, and certainly antproof. I took this drop of destiny and headed to the backyard. I opened the orange-labeled wrapper and popped it into my mouth. And I laughed, because victory never tasted so sour.