I had quite a scare earlier today. First, a quick note: This is not the dystopian fiction vignette post I promised last time. That post is still in the works and will be coming soon. No, this story is not fiction. No, Oh Goodness, No. This tale is all too real, all too frighteningly true.
It all began Sunday afternoon, just a handful of hours ago. I had just let my dog outside, stepping out briefly into the mild but windy afternoon. Nothing felt unusual or out of the ordinary. But for the wind, a beautiful day. I stepped back inside and into my bathroom to wash my hands, and noticed something black hanging off my right cheek, like a piece of dark fuzz or yarn. I brushed at it quickly without studying it too closely. I didn’t feel it at all, so I didn’t think it was anything too dangerous, but I wanted it off my cheek ASAP nonetheless.
To my surprise, a large black ant fell onto the sink near the faucet. From the brief impression I’d gotten of the object dangling from my cheek a moment earlier, that ant must have been hanging from my stubble by two legs with the skill and stealth of a martial arts master, careful not to give me any sensation of something crawling on my skin. The ant, however, had not been prepared for me looking in a mirror. Its shiny black exoskeleton stood out against my pallid cheek like an embarrassing permanent marker accident.
I do not, nor will I likely ever, know what plan the ant had for such a vulnerable area as my head. A vicious bite to an eyelid, perhaps, or inflicting a creepy moving scalp itch for several moments before jumping safely away from my vigorously scratching fingers. More likely, though, and I just felt it with a shudder of dread after the whole event was over, that the ant was going for a nostril. I get the heebie-jeebies just thinking about the havoc that ant could have wreaked up there, especially if it had been a suicide mission.
Anyway, that ninja ant was not ready to give up so easily. It started crawling across the sink ledge toward me again. I grabbed a wad of toilet paper, snatched up the relentless insect with the tissue, gave a quick squeeze, and threw the wad into the toilet. With satisfaction I saw a tiny black shadow going under. I breathed a sigh of relief.
I know what you’re saying. Maybe even screaming. NOOOOO! WHY didn’t you FLUSH?
I don’t know, dear reader, I don’t know. It’s like during one of those horror movies when the protagonist, who up to that point might have even proven himself or herself rather intrepid and clever, suddenly turns their back on the monster they believe they have just slain. You howl at them in your head not to be so stupid; that no one in real life would ever be so stupid.
Yes, hard as it is to admit, I found out today that I am that stupid. I evidently had something more important to do in that moment than assure my own self-preservation, because I didn’t flush. I walked away to do something else.
And when I returned a few moments later, I looked down at the little clump of tissue floating in the water.
I looked again.
No trace. No black shadow. No sign of an exoskeleton — crushed or intact.
I panicked. I lifted up the toilet seat, checked around the rim. No sign of the ant. Oh, no. Please, no. Then I thought, what if it’s hiding under the rim, where I can’t see it?
Now, finally, I flushed, and watched carefully. Hoping.
Nope. No ant. No trace of the stealthy die-hard beast. I felt panic rise up in my throat again, and stood there staring at the toilet as if it had let me down somehow. I didn’t know what to do next.
You won’t believe it, dear readers, but it WAS just like in the horror movies. As I stood staring at the bowl in stunned despair, I suddenly noticed movement. First, a pair of undulating antennae. Then a little evil black head peeked out from beneath the rim. Cue horror movie theme music. It crawled out into the open again, unfazed. No sign of even the slightest injury. That ant truly was as skilled and tenacious as any human ninja I’d ever seen portrayed in a movie. It was still coming after me.
I’d learned my lesson by now, however. Finally. And I had the size and opposable thumb advantage.
After another wad of toilet paper and a great deal more forcefulness, along with a satisfying flick of the flush lever, I’d shown that ant — finally showed it — who rules around here.
I was, however, afraid to go outside again for the next hour.