The floor is a terrazzo expense.
I press my cheek on the surface and close one eye: the dotted white
glosses over. See, already one approaches, easily spotted in the
shine: a single black ant, miniscule, lost and listless: easy prey.
I give the ant a nudge with a finger and watch it run, following
it with my other hand, my finger slightly lifted; I bring the finger
down, barely touching the ant, staying down for a few seconds. When
I lift it, the ant darts off, a little erratic. I am gentle with
my finger, lingering; I enjoy the feel of the ant struggling under
my fingertip; I apply just the slightest bit of pressure. The little
ant flees, but now it is slower, in visible agony. I tilt my head
and tap again. The ant writhes, crumpled, a single leg oblivious
and still running; the ant spins in jerks, stuck on its juice, winding
down, slower and slower, and finally stops.
I pick it off the floor. How many now - one, two,
three ... Fifteen. Fifteen dead ants in a porcelain bowl. A sufficient
number. I am a mythic horror: queens in their blind chambers warn
the broods of Zedeck the Destroyer, fearing the day a sandal should
push the mounds of their nests aside like so much sand, a stick
dig into the tunnels, and when the mass swarms out, a twist of newspaper
aflame burn them, burn them all.
"ZEDECK! Zedeck! Aiyah, where did you take that
bowl? Not enough bowls! Come, come, bring here! Hurry up!"
I get up and push open the kitchen door. The cover
of the rice pot rattles with steam. I offer her the bowl. She looks
at it, looks me, and shakes her head. She rinses the bowl. What
a pity. She is the one who considers it extra protein: ants in my
soup or weevils in the rice.