Edging

   An army of ants has colonized this side of the lake. They have constructed a pavement spanning from their nest toward the willow; a green stripe of grass separates it from the water. The sunlight is filtered through the foliage, falling apart in bright spots scattered all over the ground.

Could you please be of more help by getting lost somewhere?

   The worker ant looks up and asks the male drone who is busy adjusting the beautiful posture of his antenna on top of a grey cubicle rock, negligent of hundreds of industrious workers around. His sparkling eyes reflects iridescent spectrum from the sun.

– Let’s go out tonight.

I have to work, apparently, building this edging for the Queen.

– Why do you have to build the edging?

Because some ants are born to pave roads, some construct edgings to guard off the invasion of the weeds, and others like you just muck around with dazzling looks. 

– I take it as a compliment! 

   The worker shoots an unbelievable look at the drone and continues her work, moving another rock to the end of the edging, placing it on top of the pile, tapping it twice with her middle legs to make sure it doesn’t fall. Satisfied, she turns around to look for more rocks, exchanging hasty greetings with her coworkers.

– But why does the Queen need a pavement?

Beats me. It’s not even my duty to wonder about it.

   Ants talk by briefly touching each other’s antennas. As soon as hers has left the tip of his, she suddenly feels a tiny surge of curiosity but she immediately shakes it off. The wind swings the foliage; the sunny spots dance on the pavement. Other ants are moving back and forth while the drone is adjusting himself on the grey rock.

– Lets flee the colony together. You’ll lay your eggs, I’ll fertilize them. We’ll have baby queens to start a new home.

   Every lens in the worker’s compound eyes dilates with horror. She quickly touches the drone’s antenna back.

I can lay eggs, yes, but those are not supposed to be fertilized according to the law so they will only hatch into gorgeous haploid sperm holders like you. Even if you manage to fertilize them, the police ant will scavenge them and execute us because it’s treason, you fool!

– That’s why we need to flee.

No, the edging is nearly finished. It has taken us workers a long time I can’t give it up now. 

– But what’s the point in finishing an edging to protect a pavement with which you have no idea what the Queen is chasing after?

   In the spur of a rage, the worker kicks the drone off the gray rock, moves it to the edging and beautifully positions it. The edging has now expanded another centimeter.  

   The sunny bright spots have been translated slightly to the east. I wish I could agree, the worker murmurs to herself, but this hierarchical society defines no rights for me to. While the drone is still eyeing her, she swiftly blends herself back in the army of worker ants and hurries along the edging.

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