Sunday, December 9, 2012

Tiny Measures


“I can do this. I don’t care what the Queen thinks. I don’t care what anyone thinks. This may not be what an ant was born to do, but it sure as hell is what I was born to do,” Aeolis told his reflection in the miniature water pool in his room.

“Say what?” Lars called out from the other side of the mud wall.

“Oh no, nothing Dad,” Aeolis replied dismissively, “Just heading out to the farm now. Later!”

Slamming the door behind him, he joined the line of the rest of the workers on their way to Exit 635.

Aeolis thought his colony was both lucky and unlucky in the sense that it was situated in the city’s largest park. Human families picnicking on the lawns always brought enough food to last their colony (and every other colony in the park) years.

Of course, getting the food from them was the problematic bit.

Humans have this very confusing tendency of killing any kind of insect that tried to take some of their food, or even breathe anywhere within their proximity. Why? None of the ants knew, but word on the tunnels were that once, giant wasps ruled all the earth and insects were at the top of the food chain. Then, when humans realized that wasps died when they were separated from their stings, they started a war creating a terrifying weapon they called the “knife”.

They cut off every single one of the wasps’ stings off, and left them to die the most cruel, most painful deaths. Ever since, humans never gave a second thought before killing an insect, for fear of them evolving into a superior race.

“Idiots,” thought Aeolis as he followed Ludwig and Erlin in the long line leading towards the exit. “When will humans learn that war and fighting is never the answer? Why divide and rule people when every individual and species on earth deserves a fair and equal chance at life?”

“So what if we’re tiny. We work our asses off every single day just to survive! How does that, even in the littlest way, give someone else the right to invade our territory, dictate terms of living to us and commit genocide whenever they feel like? Screw them!” Aelois thought.

He had had many a debate over this very issue, of why humans should be the known as the “dominant” race in the world, with his father, his friends, and the next door neighbours, even at his not-so-secret meetings with the wasps, bees and grasshoppers he liked chatting with (Those guys saw so much more the world than I could even dream of seeing, with my tiny legs).

But the only thing the people who bothered listening to him rant would ever say was, “And what’re you going to do about it? Revolt? Bite them so hard, they get down on their knees and worship you? Ha!”

What bothered Aeolis so much about this reply was he didn’t know what he wanted to do about it himself. He wanted to do something that would teach the ants, and every other insect in the park, that being small didn’t matter when it came to being counted as a living being. He wanted them to know that even insects had just as much say in the world as humans, reptiles, amphibians and other mammals did. But most of all, he wanted the humans to notice.

Aeolis wanted them to know that even the miniscule ant played as much as a role in the ecosystem as humans did. That they had voices and opinions about the way the world was being run, and that they didn’t like it at all. He wanted them to know that the continuity of a race did not depend on technology or aggressiveness towards other races, but on the way they handled society and communal issues. Success depended upon communal happiness, not shows of strength.

He followed the rest of the workers out Exit 635 into the bright sunlight that blinded him for a second. Then, instead of following the line through the safety of the grass towards a red blanket laden with ham sandwiches, potato chips and glasses of juice, he turned right and made his way across to the group of kids playing with their toys a bit further away.

Today’s the day, he thought to himself. Right here, right now.

“Aeolis! Hey! The food’s this way!” Ludwig called out to him, but Aeolis didn’t turn around. Ludwig and Erlin shrugged and fell back in line with the rest of the ants.

Aeolis had thought about this before: children were the most impressionable, most willing to learn. So he made his way up to the kids and crawled up the jeans one of them was wearing. It was easy considering that this one was content sitting and watching the other kids rip apart their toys while he carefully ensured that his G.I. Joe didn’t get a speck of dirt on it. He seemed a reasonable little chap to Aeolis.

Finally, the time has come, he thought to himself as he made his way across the length of the kids arm. It’s time for the end of human domination, and to make way for a new era where every single being, regardless of species, size, weight or genus, would be able to live in a peaceful and harmonious existence with each other! Where mindless killing would have no—

Aeolis was dead before he knew it.

*****

“Ryan, there’s an ant on your neck!”

Smack!

“Ow!” Ryan yelled as Debby slapped the ant dead.

“Couldn’t you feel it crawling over you?” Debby asked Ryan incredulously, flicking the little black remains of the ant off her palm.

“I don’t know,” Ryan said, rubbing this now red neck where Debby had smacked it, “Maybe it was just too small to notice.”


Originally posted here: http://campusdiaries.com/stories/tiny-measures