If they knocked, I certainly didn’t hear it. The doors were still locked, the sun was just beginning to peek over the horizon, and I had no idea I was not alone in the house.
The roosters outside my window, after a long night of enthusiastic crowing, had finally convinced me I might as well get up, if for no other reason than to throw sticks and stones at them.
Had I been more in tune with rooster language I might have recognized their crowing to be something more than obnoxious noise pollution. As it was, their heroic desperate warnings of an impending and swiftly approaching invasion fell only on irritable and unappreciative ears.
I reluctantly swung my feet out of the hammock, stood up and transitioned directly into my daily zombie imitation, destination: coffee pot.
Not long ago, with the help of a few energetic visitors, we had poured a concrete floor in my house, and now my bare feet padded on the cold floor as I made my bleary-eyed way to the kitchen. Oblivious to the baleful gaze of the silent intruders, I lit the propane stove and heated up some left-over coffee from the day before. I poured myself a cup, and with the wafting aroma came also the uncomfortable sense that all was not right with the world.
My eyes finally focused on the floor and immediately, if not somewhat frantically, I transitioned into my Fred Astaire impersonation, destination: outside. I was halfway to the door before I realized I was in fact in no immediate danger. I stopped and, with my feet once again resting easy on the floor, took stock of the situation.
These home invaders I had seen before. Their silent, unannounced arrivals rarely failed to give me an adrenaline rush. Perhaps in reference to some obscure past affiliation with the Soviet military, they’re known as red army ants. They were streaming into the house from every nook and cranny, marching eight abreast and criss-crossing the walls and floor.
I contemplated engaging them in battle; they had, after all, invaded my home. However, I began to feel more kindly disposed toward them when I saw they weren’t particularly interested in inflicting bodily harm on my person. They seemed to be saying to me, “Just mind your own business, Bud, and you won’t get hurt.”
That was probably good advice. I remembered in our last confrontation I had inflicted a great many casualties upon a similar red army but had in the end been overwhelmed and undone by their sheer numbers. The bitter taste of defeat had been almost nauseating. Curiously, it was a taste not unlike that of inhaling too much air saturated with “Raid.”
No. Past experience had taught me that resistance was futile. Fleeing was unnecessary. I knew what this situation called for: it called for another cup of coffee, since my first cup had spilled onto my clothes and across the floor. I refilled my coffee cup, tiptoed my way back to the hammock and focused on minding my own business.
For the next couple of hours I entertained myself by watching the ants search through the house, rounding up cockroaches and other bugs and whisking them away. Somehow, in all their searching, they missed a dead bug that was at the foot of the bookcase. I pushed it toward one of the columns of ants, and one of their scouts rushed over to investigate. A crowd quickly gathered around the dead bug, and they obligingly hefted it up and carried it away, although with a noted lack of appreciation for my help and participation. I must admit, however, they seemed to be doing a good job of cleaning up the house, taking the creepy crawlies while leaving everything else intact.
Then, as quickly and quietly as they had come, they left. I didn’t notice them leaving; it just seemed like one minute they were there, and the next they were gone. The coast being clear, I hesitantly returned to the kitchen, afraid of what I might find or not find. I rounded the black plastic sheet that was my wall and a wave of disappointment swept over me as the scene in the kitchen greeted my eyes. I guess I had been overly optimistic. Apparently they don’t do dishes.
If you enjoyed this excerpt, you’ll love the book Our Witchdoctors Are Too Weak. Get your copy today. By Davey and Marie Janks