There is a war going on in my kitchen. It’s between me and the ants. They are applying Cesarean strategies and I’m trapped like Vercingetorix at Alesia in his last attempt to fight off the Roman conquest of Gaul. I watch the ants building multiple-lane streets across the kitchen ceiling while I’m standing helplessly below, armed with ineffective weapons of peppermint oil and white vinegar.
I’m making a peace offering by giving them a beef bone, stolen from my dog’s food supplies. They accept the bone, leaving about twenty cohorts to watch it as the rest of their armies come back to my kitchen. Clearly a breech of contract!
My allies, the spiders, are not of much use, either. They fight among themselves, lie in ambush at places where never an ant passes by, and at the end of the day they present me with paltry five prisoners. When I call them for counsel of strategy, they refuse to come, because they always have something better to do, just like the Aedui and Briganti at the time of Vercingetorix. Oh, how history repeats itself!
I find my breakfast croissant that I had wrapped in air tight plastic bags and hidden in the corner of the broom closet, covered with black spots – ants! I throw it in the fridge, that should do it – I think. When I take the croissant out the next morning, the ants on it start moving again, stretching limbs, hurrying up my arm, furious about the invasive hand that is trying to rob them of their treasure. I realize, I just provided them with a free treatment of cryopreservation and they continue their life refreshed and rejuvenated.
That’s it! A deadly plan takes shape in my head. Innocently humming and whistling to distract them, I slowly make my way to the kitchen sink. I run some water, pretending to wash the dishes. I suddenly dash down grabbing the pest control spray from under the sink.
The plan fails. I pull my hand back, screaming: there are millions of ants crawling up my arm, stinging and biting, leaving painful red spots on my skin. Oh stupid me! How could I not have known they’ve been guarding this lethal weapon with several legions.
I’m running outside to find a place to get rid of the ants on my arms, but it’s not that easy. Wherever I stand, I’m stepping on ants and the survivors start a vicious attack on my legs. They surround the house and I’m rushing down the garden trail, frantically shaking my arm to get rid of them; I don’t want to brush them off too close to the house. As I turn around to go back, my way is blocked. The ants have closed ranks behind me and there are so many of them that I would stand knee deep in ants should I dare to go back.
Through the kitchen window I can see my dog and my cat for once in harmony standing in the dirty dish-washing water in kitchen sink. Smart creatures! The dog, who is always making the best of every situation, is trying to retrieve some bits of food floating around in the water. The cat has a rather disgusted look on her face. I don’t know if it is from standing in dirty dish-washing water or from having to stand so close to the dog. I’m considering fighting my way through enemy lines, asking for asylum in the dish-washing water. It would be pretty humiliating: me, the head of the household having to ask for space in the kitchen sink. But it’s too late to even swallow my pride – there’s a sea of ants stretching between me and the house. The only open way is further down the garden trail.
The battalions of ants before me make way to let me pass as I continue walking, closing ranks with the others behind me. Is this formation some kind of guard of honor? It dawns on me that I’m being escorted somewhere. To the queen, of course. Didn’t the very same thing also happen to Vercingetorix? What fate will I have to face?
I’m making a mental list of my crimes: murder, attempted murder, ant slaughter….
Wasn’t Vercingetorix used as an object of exhibition and eventually strangled at the steps of a Roman temple?
My only hope is that the ants are a civilized society and that in their state the death penalty has been abolished.