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Impending Doom

Not based on true events

At times you hear the saying “It is a small world after all,” when there is a meeting of long separated friends or acquaintances, or “The world is not big enough for the both of us,” as an utterance of defiance and loathing between enemies. Yet, for one miniature critter, the world was far to big for only her. She was a worker ant of a species which I have not been yet able to decipher, perhaps a Little Black Ant. She made multiple errands for her queen and the colony in a land where giants roamed and insensitive titanic feet stomped. This tiny insect was able to evade such dangers masterfully, but when she came upon a chemical trail left by one of her fellow workers, she believed her end was finally nigh. For, where did it wind but across a busy city street, roaring with the engines of the traffic, and overflowing with the sound of honking horns? For a moment, our dutiful ant hesitated, divided between the thought of the upcoming doom and the urge to follow the worker’s path. The latter urge, though, soon overpowered the former fear, and without any more deliberation, she scurried from the sidewalk and began her perilous journey. After all, it was but two lanes of passing vehicles. To ease her fears, the ant began to focus solely  upon the trail which she pursued and not the dangers which lay before her. With her antennae twitching convulsively , the ant came to the edge of the first lane. Whoosh! A humongous wheel zoomed directly before the tips of her feelers, and in shock and terror the she stood stalk still like a black statue. Her mind mind no longer could function under the immense strain of frightened surprise, and all she could ponder was the way across this deadly place. Another wheel flew by and in panicked desperation , she bolted forward, her six legs working like pistons and her antennae trembling violently. Again, another wheel roared past, but to her great surprise, it was behind her, and so was the next which immediately followed. The tiny ant had crossed the first of the wheel-ways, and was long as no vehicle changed lanes she was momentarily safe. Then, after a pause, she ventured forward to the boundary  of the next wheel-way, and there awaited the passing of a pair of wheels before risking a crossing. A wonderful relief overpowered her when this first leg of her travels had been completed, for she had now crossed the first lane! There the worker ant stood between rumbling giants , in relative calm, to rest. But it was not to last long, for, hardly had she claimed her nerves, the ant noticed a devastating fact: the chemical trail had disappeared! The ant which she had been following had succumbed to the very fate which she hoped to escape! Once more, all thoughts were driven scurrying from her mind, all sensibilities which were hers fled, and with rash steps , she rushed headlong into the next lane. Hardly had she gone two inches when she heard an ominous noise, and glancing down the lane to behold a roarer speeding directly towards her, its wheel directly in line with her black body. In a moment, it was upon the worker ant, and she crouched and accepted doom. The dark shadow of the rubber giant loomed over her, and all passed in a second. There was a crunch beneath it and then it was gone. Yes, it was gone and left the little ant behind it alive and well. Yes indeed! One of the treads, with all fortune, had passed directly o’er her cowering figure, and left her alive, though terribly shaken by the near encounter with death. The noise had been naught but pebbles being crushed under the weight of the vehicle, and not an innocent brave insect worker who would pursue duty to death. This time, she had escaped alive, but the ant was not one to tempt fate. With a swift ant-speed, she ran from the deadly place, across to the next wheel-way while another vehicle passed over and she rushed across the last stretch of the roadway onto the sidewalk, and into a clump of tall grass. There the ant fell flat on her shiny face and thanked the Lord that she was yet alive.

Family Formicidae
( Worker Ant )

Ants are an indusrious little group of insects closely related to bees and wasps. This fact can be seen in the king and queen ants during their mating season, for both are winged and resemble wasps. The male ants, known also as “sausageflies” because of their elongated, rounded bodies, die directly after mating while the queens shed their wings and begin a nest. All the worker ants, those commonly seen upon sidewalks, are females. Like earthworms, they renew the soil by shifting it during their diggings. The largest species of ant is the male African Driver Ant (Dorylus species) which can be one and a half inches long, while the tiniest is the workers of an Oligomyrymex species which are 1/ 30th of an inch long.

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Wednesday August 4, 2021