Small-Scale Invasion

Tonight, we were invaded.

Around 11:30, I went upstairs to get a snack and found the dining room filled with little twitching black bugs. Well, maybe “filled” is too strong a word. Put it this way: it was a countable number, but only if you had a few minutes and enough visual acuity to follow moving targets. Ants have a special place in my heart – I did, after all, control a computer version of them for several years back in the days when games like SimAnt were on 5 ¼” floppies – but that doesn’t mean I was pleased to see them.

When your home is threatened by an outside force, there is no time for vacillating or arguing. Sometimes you just need to take decisive action. So I did.

I woke up my mom.

Together, for a moment, we battled in relative silence, pausing only to replace spent paper towels. I don’t want to start rumors of mutiny, but the dog was of absolutely no help.

Clearly this was untenable. Eventually, however, the frequency of sightings diminshed, and we were able to take a break from gooshing our enemies to regroup and come up with a new strategy. I obtained funds from the leader and went to Wal-Mart, on the grounds that it’s open at midnight and sells the kind of stuff you could kill an ant with, like Raid and Hostess Twinkies. (I noticed a distinct shortage of heavy books, though. Except for Bibles. Go figure.)

I have to say, I felt very manly, there, striding through a store late at night, seeking instruments of death. A man has to protect his house, even if his mom is the one paying for it and doing most of the work. It felt a little like I was paying for all the times one of my parents drove out in the middle of the night for Triaminic or Pepto-Bismol.

I kept striding for a while, because Wal-Mart is big and I didn’t quite know where to find ant poison. (Lawn and Garden? Sporting Goods? Pets?) Eventually I found it – in the grocery section, next to bug spray and air freshener. (“Oh, ant killer? Aisle 13, Things That Come In Spray Cans and Aren’t Edible.”) There’s a considerable variety of things you can use to put paid to your little squishy problems. I loaded up with some bait, some “kills on contact” spray, and something in a swan-shaped bottle that contained clove oil and said it was safe to use around stored food.

Thus fortified, I drove home, mentally remarking that Bonnie Raitt is hardly an appropriate soundtrack for war. Long story short, we blocked off the dining room so the dog couldn’t poison himself, lay down the bait where we’d seen the suckers come in, and Mom sprayed ant killer around the entire edge of the room until we were both coughing and the entire room smelled like Bhopal in the ’80s. Soon the lady of the house was having a blast zapping the ants directly, but I had to stop her eventually. She was becoming mad with power, and sometimes a man has to take a stand.

Also, I hadn’t eaten my snack yet. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go vacuum ant segments out of the rug.


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