Dump Town Tales: The Last Ant.
Chapter One: Life.
An Ant Speaks: “I laugh. I laugh, because that’s all I have left to do before I take my stand. I laugh before I take my very last seconds of time here on this hill. I laugh not because I am afraid, or angry, or sad, but because it is genuinely funny. I laugh because I am about to do something crazy.”
“You don’t know me, and hopefully I haven’t annoyed you in any small way because if I had done anything at all to you it would’ve been small, for I am an Ant. And as I said today is the day that I will do something crazy, and it will be hilarious.”
“You might very well be thinking how it was that I came to this conclusion or why it is that I am standing here inside of the last tunnel of the last stretch of the last bit of dirt we have left, and that is a story all to itself– just know that it was hard fought, hard lost, and I laughed every step of the way uncontrollably.”
“My brothers, the thousands of them may they rest in peace — not that I knew any of them in particular, are all gone. And it is I alone that makes ready to respond to the call of our thus victorious challenger. It makes me giggle. I am ready to lay down my mortality for a bit of the impossible, and a drip of the eternal if I can just hold on. Hold on to this hill.”
“Raw, uncut, visceral, beating. That is what the battle, this war, has grown into, and here I am out of my mind with chuckles. They have been building up deep in my soul.- but not yet. I cannot stop laughing yet, or else it will be done, and so will I. I need to save my last great gesture for the enemy. To let it know that I was never going to give up. To let it know that it had also been beaten- psychologically.”
“I well up my courage from the deepest, darkest, reserves of hope and merge it with my raw furry to let forth a ferocious squeaky laugh that was sure to light the very ear hairs of this monster on fire! And I hope it does, and I hope it stings like the pain of a thousand spankings and I am laughing so hard I completely forget that I am already walking out of the tunnel and into my destiny.”
“Well, I guess that’s it. I guess it’s time to go. I guess I can give everything I have for the cause– right here and right now. On this barren, unmaintained, tennis court I will hold the line against my enemy, I will wrestle with it, whatever this monsters name could be – Behemoth, Titan, Planet, they matter not, because today my struggle is more than life itself. My fight is beyond the physical. I shall fight until I am gone, beyond breath, beyond thought, beyond the possible. There it is. Time to laugh.”
Chapter Two: Monster.
“Honey?” Laura asked for her husband while in the kitchen making a list of things she needed done around the house. “Baby? Sweetems? RANDLE!”
“Yes my sweet Space Dolphin, how can I help you?” Randle asked from his office trying to get his ears to stop ringing.
“How does the Tennis Court look?” Laura asked innocently not looking away from her list.
“I am not sure my Solar Panda. It has been a couple of years since we have used it… Why my lovely Angel Ape?”
“Oh, nothing– Well… my old school-friends will be in town tomorrow, and they are all avid tennis players. So, I told them that we have a tennis court they can use at our house.
“It was pretty dirty last year. I’m pretty sure it needs to be deep cleaned.”
“Oh, that would be great if you did that honey, thanks.” Laura said as she stepped out of the house, got in the car, and squealed the tires on her way.
Randle, still reeling from the forced labor, hadn’t stepped foot on the tennis court in exactly two years, so he really didn’t know what to expect. He was hoping that it was unchanged from the last time he had seen it with maybe minimal debris and some dust. But that is not what he found.
Instead he witnessed a tennis court in complete disrepair. It wasn’t anything special just a one lane court with additional room to maneuver around, and the standard net to separate it down the middle. But something was way wrong. Something just didn’t fit. That something was about a foot of dirt completely covering the entirety of the court.
This was shocking. He usually agreed to help his wife due to the fact that most things she asked for were easily taken care of before his favorite afternoon. Time was of the essence with his life. Even though he was an author, he still felt it necessary to keep track of his day, which he broke up by his television shows.
He noticed the time and panicked. He ran to his garage where he collected three distinct kinds of shovels, a pull behind cart, and a turbo blower. He knew he had to get rid of all of that dirt before his favorite afternoon show “Moron Guy”. He really didn’t know what he was getting himself into, nor what was waiting for him. There was a whole storm of woe coming his way, and the most unlikely of hindrances was about to befall him.
Chapter 3: Head.
An Ant speaks: “This all began a few lifetimes ago when I was an explorer, baby ant hugger, or a soldier- it really depended on our Queen mother what I am at the time — and here in the darkness we were gathering for judgement.”
“In front of us was something that had recently plagued our people. One hundred of my brothers had fallen prey to this malicious beast and it was sitting right in front of us. I guess the sentence was passed and the solution was the long sleep. Good riddance I thought, nobody likes devil lizards anyway. This time we ate it instead of the reverse.”
“Joy. Unreal, physical, substantial joy was playing in our hearts as we stood over the fallen demon. I ate to my heart’s content on the insides of it’s reptilian skull only to discover something I hadn’t really ever thought about before, but there it was. It had a brain.”
“Imagine that? This moronic beast has a think box quite like we did in its head. I just stood there for a few moments contemplating the full measure of what I had discovered, and the quasi ridiculousness of my situation as the Queen mother ordered me on to some other glory, and I lovingly accepted.”
“I was climbing now, another one of my jobs, and, as usual, everyone else was too. Wow every one is ANGRY! Even I am extremely mad! Get away from me everyone else because I am going to bite something HARD! Hey you! Get away from me or get bitten FOOL! And there I was almost to the top when I heard this terrible sound.”
“A low rumble at first was shaking our hill, but BOY I can’t stop thinking about that brain! I know I should be raging like the rest of the ants but it’s kinda funny. I am going to crush whatever this noise is that rings my eardrums apart. I am going to punch this torrent of force pushing down on me from the top of the hill right in the armpit. I can feel it before I see it and I somehow know something terrible has happened. I know that whatever is waiting for me up there has already displaced half of my brothers to who knows where. And I am laughing?”
“There it was, amongst the torrent of dirt, a sand giant with the power of tornadoes that casts one at us. We had a mission, I guess. Up here all I could hear, or feel was the torrential winds. Every step towards the ghost was fury! Every muscle that my exoskeleton had was being tested to its limit, and the dirt wasn’t helping as it quickly flew into the air.”
“Fear overrode, my call, because I couldn’t feel the Queen mother up here in the sky. And for the first time in my life I didn’t know my purpose. As I was thrown feet away from the only home I ever had I didn’t know what to do, and it was hysterical”
Chapter Five: Work.
“Time to get to work.” Randle says as he shovels the dirt but gives up on that because, well its work, and goes back to his blower.
He spends the next thirty minutes pushing the dirt out of the court but quickly realizes that this much dirt is a disaster to move. The strain on his back is a new experience since he spends most of his time sitting in a chair feeling out his imaginative process on his old computer. The heat on his face is almost unbearable and it isn’t even the hottest part of the day yet. He has been out here for exactly thirty-one minutes and he wasn’t liking it.
Sweat is trickling down his brow but a single solitary, and particularly salty tear stabs him in the eye like a branding iron. He yells out like a baby falling over due to being a wobble-monster. He wipes his face furiously only to find that he is still, thankfully, alive. And that’s when he notices something that he disliked more than work.
He approaches what he thinks could only be a mountain. It was an incredible. Taller than the rest of the dirt combined. It was towering to a single point at the top like an… an ANT HILL!
Randle almost fell over backwards in shock but quickly recovered because there might be hidden ants scattered throughout the dirt underneath. He quaked with fear. When he was just five years old he had sat down right onto a fire ant hill. Lets just say it was so bad that he had to be transported to the hospital… upside down.
He stared at it with a sense of dread. The hill cast a shadow of both doom and curiosity from its rather overlarge size. Randle felt himself compelled forward, no longer in control of his legs. Now, just within a foot of the hill, the rumbling wind machine lightly blew the loose upper layers off of the apex of the hill. A wave of pure ants poured out, and right at him
He would’ve screamed if he could but terror took hold of his lungs and wouldn’t allow them to expel. The wind machine was keeping the vicious monsters at bay, and what’s more they were being pushed back. Randle looked down at the machine he held aloft in his right hand and realized that it was just in idle. He pulled on the trigger of the machine unloading what could only be deemed as justice on these wretched creatures, throwing them far into the air.
He could do this! A newfound courage had poured into his veins. He was a man again, or for the very first time in his life. He knew that he would be able to overcome this obstacle. He would overcome his youthful fear of Ants. He pulled the trigger all the way down and stuck the end right into the hill.
Chapter Six: Stand.
An Ant Speaks: You will have to forgive me for laughing, as I was tossed high into the air and landed into my nightmares. I stood there looking up at a landscape I was completely unfamiliar with, far away from the call of my Queen mother. It was here that I felt the need to laugh the most.
It was almost as if I couldn’t help myself but to laugh, and at the same time I could feel inside my tummy that I needed to. I wanted to laugh like I wanted to toot when I am incredibly gassy, and I loved it. I was enthralled by just the idea of laughing.
I walked aimlessly staring at stuff, giggling as I went. I was actually having a good time, living a life I had never known before. This was the real me. It was making me laugh so very hard that I thought I wouldn’t be able to control my pee. But why would I want to I thought as that huge force of air was lightly blowing on my antennae.
I remembered my call. I was connected again if only for a moment to my Queen mother and I felt terrible. I had abandoned her and all of my brothers to the gloom of death. Tears fill my I eyes as I know that I had forgotten my mission and the hill… and I was laughing again. No voice in my head telling me what to do and who to be- but I am still moving to where the hill is.
It is hard to tell why I am outside of the idea that it is the most familiar way to go and that I still need to protect that hill. I am moving but I stop as a memory strikes me right in the chuckle factory. The devil Lizard had a thought can. I laugh so hard that I roll around on the ground for hours, years, decades.
A few of my brothers find me on thire way back to the hill. They are more robots than I am, at least they aren’t laughing. My giggles actually disgust them as they call out their anger at me. I give them huge HAHA’S in return. I can’t help it and I wouldn’t if I could because I am free. More wind… the Queen needs us!
We must hurry before we are too late. We need to rally together to send this hurricane maker away from our hill. Our families are dying and we are out here messing about, now just outside of the visible area of a large grass colored square. My brothers are almost frantic with fury at our enemy. I am as well but to a lesser degree because the Lizard’s idea container pops back into my mind and my stomach hurts from the amount of laughs I release this time.
The wind is pressing us more than it has before, limiting our travel. We huddle up to help each other push. Every step takes a lifetime, and every inch takes a miracle. All at once we are thrown forward toward the hill. The wind is gone, the rumble is gone, the noise in my head is clearer, and I am laughing. Stupid Lizard.
Chapter Seven: Man.
Randle takes authoritative steps toward the hill with his blower. He has a substantial confidence now well protected from the evils of these pint-sized terrorists. He sprays everything he had through that black pipe directly at the crumbling tower. It’s upper half disperses out of the tennis court and a million more ants run to its aid- no use.
Even behind the protective barrier of gales, a bead of sweat appears, for the sight of this many ants. Although Randle had grown up in this short amount of time, he still held a deep seated worry about them. This disappeared as he screamed like a pony, and shoved the end of the blower into the ant hill again- demolishing the middle. The wind stopped.
Randle jumped back, away from the dirt, to examine his machine. He had only been out here for 50 minutes, how could he be out of gas already? Well it wasn’t the gas. He jogged back to the garage. Noticing that he was running out of time for his show he ran. His daughter and a long line of Furbys behind her all waved at him on their way to play some game in the yard. He returned the curtesy in a huff over the machine.
He pulled it apart to find that a valve was leaking, and that there really wasn’t much he could do about it. He cleaned what he could, and tightened down the bolts as much as would allow; before he took off back into the heat. He stopped just long enough to witness his daughter playing tag with her Furbys, but all of them ran so slowly that even Sidney’s quick walking was catching them all.
Randle took the oil on his hands, and marked them on his face like war paint. He took his tie off and wrapped it around his head like a Rambo headband. He yelled his fury at the tennis court. He approached and with a mighty pull knocked the life back into the blower. This was where he was going to decide the fate of his fear of ants, and he knew that they were going to loose. He knew that right now he was a MAN, and definitely stanky like one.
The machine blew air, but not as hard as it used to. For the little bit of dirt left from that mighty hill- he didn’t need much air. All he had to do was stand a little closer than last time, and push the blower all the way into the dirt. All he had to do was close in on his target, and stand victoriously over his conquered enemy. All he had to do was get face to face with an ant, and let it know that it was beneath him.
He looked over all of the tennis court and how in just this one hour he had removed so much dirt. All but a handful remained, and it was sitting there on the other side where only that shallow remains of a skyscraper once stood. Standing there on top of the bit of dirt that was left was a single solitary ant. The Ant was… laughing?
Chapter Eight. Home.
An Ant Speaks: I am home. I stand on the shattered remains of my whole world. I can see my scattered family trying to pull everyone up out of the debris. The thick voice of our Queen mother is calling me to help. I help but I am still flabbergasted by the Lizards dream basket that I laugh so much I throw up all over some larva. Sorry.
BOOM, BOOM, BOOM! Earthquakes are approaching, still far off yet. Not I but one of us can see the shadow of the titan that had rendered our home near nonexistent. We must leave. My mind changed in an instant, and I am moving along with everyone else back to the unknown abyss I was forced to explore just centuries ago. I can’t quite explain I,t but it makes me stop laughing.
I am not sad, or angry but I can feel the increase in my heart rate. I stop altogether. Some of my brothers try to band together to pull me away but I have been through more than they, and I can control myself, so I easily escape. I start marching my way back into what was left of our sand castle when there she is right in front of me. My Queen mother is staring at me with the saddest look on her beautiful face.
She was climbing out of that last dirt pile with somber sadness. Deep in my soul I felt her pain. I realize that the mixture of joy, and her crushing despair, is what I am feeling. But why am I the only one walking back to the sand. Why is she looking at me like that? Does she want to eat my delicious face off, I mean who wouldn’t?
I look back to see that the thousands of my brothers are all looking at me now in wonder. If they are confused it is not as much as I am believe me. The Queen mother walks forward and grabs onto my arms. She has the fiercest look in her eyes- NOT MY BEAUTIFUL FACE!! She speaks, “Protect our home Frank the Laugher.”
“Yes, my Queen.” I respond embarrassingly. “You gave me a name?”
“My mother did right after she gave birth to you. She told me that you laughed when you saw her. She said that you then passed gas, and went to sleep. So she called you Frank. I have liked you the most of all of these ever since.”
“I, Frank, will honor your mother and earn my name today.” Frank said without really knowing what he was talking about. “Just one question if I may my Queen mother.”
“Go ahead my laughing Frank.” The Queen said in all of her royalty.
“Did you see that the Lizard had a brain?” Frank asked with a smile.
“Yes, and it was HILARIOUS!” The Queen hunched over laughing as she left and Frank walked into the remnants of his home prepared to defend it to the death.
Chapter Nine: Frank.
A small audible squeak was emanating from the small area of dirt in front of Randle. He moved closer to look upon his foe. The sands shifted around the ant as Randle tried to get more to surface, but where would they come from when there was truly only a handful left. The tone broke his focus. Upon further investigation it was that one little Ant laughing it’s head off.
Randle didn’t know what to be. He wanted these little heathen monsters to know that he had grown up with a fear of them and today was their reckoning. But this thing was laughing. Whether it was laughing at him or not was beyond the point. He knew that the ant wasn’t afraid and that irritated him.
Randle pulled hard on the throttle of the blower and released the full power of his defective machine which did unsettle the sand but that little ant stuck all his feet down into the court, and held on. It struggled against the wind with all it’s might. It hunkered it’s head down and kept on laughing. That audible tone kept pestering him. Tormenting him. Randle was a man, and this beast was defying him. That little ant must fail!
He brought his shoes right in front of the ant. The ant stared up at him, and Randle could see that it had been laughing so hard that it was actually crying. This further irritated him. Without even knowing what he did, he lifted his size 11 foot, and brought it down. The tone ended.
His heart pounded faster. Cold sweat started to trickle down his face. What had he done? Had he become a man in this instant. Had he truly conquered his past. Was he a man now? Why did this matter anyway. Poor Ant, he thought. In all of the insanity of the situation he wished he could hear that annoying tone one more time.
Randle moved backwards, and sat down. He pulled his knees back, and stared at that very last bit of sand. A tear fell to the ground as he continued to stare at that little mangled body and wish that it would make a sound. He wanted more than anything for his mistake to be forgiven and for that little ant to keep on laughing. He should’ve stayed home.
He got up dejected, and moved over to the net. Both of his arms were glistening with sweat as he held onto the metal cord holding the nets up. More tears filled his eyes for that ant. What was an ant anyway? What was he? A man, maybe- a monster, probably. Out of Anger he reacted and stole the life away for this defenseless creature.
He started to walk away. Just as he was about to leave the court he thought he had heard that tone again. He dove across the court and flung himself on the ground in front of that spit of dirt. Right there was that little ant standing up with its fists raised. That little ant was laughing more than it ever had before. Randle could’ve listened to it for the rest of his life. But his favorite show was on.
Chapter Ten: Tennis.
“Honey?” Laura asked her husband out at the tennis court the next day.
“Yes, my Cuddle Captain?” Randle answered.
“I thought you told me that you were going to clean this place yesterday.” Laura stated not hiding any of her fury.
“I did my love lobster.” Randle said.
“Then why is there a huge ant pile right on the edge of the tennis court?” Laura demanded with tomato cheeks.
“Oh that,” Randle said looking over at the hill which had reappeared over-night. “Don’t worry about that.”
“How could I not worry about it? That is a huge ant hill and my friends will be here any minute to play. I mean what will they say when they see that.” Laura worried.
“I don’t know, but I do know that I don’t care.” Randle said like a boss, as he walked over to the ant hill.
As he approached two ants climbed to the top with little crowns on their heads. He looked down on them, and they up at him, and each of them laughed as loud and as hard as they could. The deepest pits of joy were shared between these three friends. And friends is what they were. Laura, confused by the sight of her usually sane husband laughing with some Ants walked back to the house to cancel with her friends.
Her reason was that her husband had come down with something and she needed to look after him. Every day after that, Randle would go out and laugh with his ant friends. Every day after that Laura worried for the mental stability of her husband. End.