Antics

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: BoMoWriCha Prompts
Written for a prompt from the BoMoWriCha House.

Submitted: September 30, 2018

A A A | A A A

Submitted: September 30, 2018

A A A

A A A


Antics

Remember, this is very important. Tonight must go perfectly.” Harry gave Janice, his wife, a serious look.

Stop worrying, Harry. You’ve told me time and time again how everything is riding on this. The dinner will be fine.”

Harry frowned. “Just fine?”

Okay, not just fine. It will be perfect! Now go or you’ll be late and will have messed it up before it’s started.” Janice gave her husband a quick kiss then steered him towards the door. “Damn ants,” she said, stepping hard on one and squashing in flat. “I’ll make sure I have a good spray everywhere first.”

Only when he had got into his car and riven away did she relax at all. She made herself a coffee, then grabbed a notepad and pen. It was going to take planning, but planning was what she excelled at. She squashed another ant with the end of her pen and flicked it’s body on to the floor. The first thing she had to do was to find out just how those things were getting in.

Two more dead,” the scout reported to his commander.

I don’t know what they are playing at, but they have pushed it too far. We cannot keep on like this.” The commander seemed to be lost in thought as he rearranged two grains of sugar over and over again. “Extra vigilance is called for. Spread the word to the other scouts.”

Janice searched through the cupboards underneath the kitchen sink. She knew they had some somewhere. This wasn’t the first time that they had found themselves being invaded by ants after all. She was certain that they had sprays and powders that would get rid of the things; yes, there they were, right at the back of the cupboard. She pulled them out, blew the dust from the tops of the containers and went in search of their entry points.

The previous year they had been coming in from underneath the back door and around the patio window. That was obviously the first place to look but there was no sign of any there. She’d give it a spray anyway, just to make sure, but Janice was certain they had found another way in.

Shaking both the can and the powder container, Janice reckoned that she had enough to go round the edges of most of the exterior facing walls. That was bound to put a stop to them. She lifted carpet edges, crawled beneath furniture, moved shoes and shelves until she was satisfied that it was all done.

Can you smell that? She’s at it again! Deploying those chemical weapons, attempting to wipe us out indiscriminatingly. How many casualties?” The commander was fuming. How dare they launch such a full-scale attack when there had been no more than a couple of gathers sent out.

Clearly they are not aware of our new position, as the focus for the attack has remained on previous entrance-ways. Fatalities are few; there are some that have been hit but should recover given time and a bath.”

Glad to hear that at least.” The commander thought for a minute then said with a great deal of authority. “Gather the troops and distribute the weapons. They launched the first attack; this means war!”

Unaware of the war-plans she had instigated under the floor, Janice re-read the menu that she had planned, marking off the ingredients that she already had, and writing the others on an extensive list. It was going to be one hell of a shop; she just hoped her credit card would foot the bill.

Janice hated driving to the store; the memory of a crash and an insurance claim still haunted her. She’d take the bus as a rule but she’d not be able to lug all that in bags on and off the vehicle. Still she’d take the opportunity to check out the garage for any sign of ants while she was at it.

Not a sign of even one. She put down a few puffs of the deadly powder just to be sure, then sighing, climbed in to her, much smaller than his, car and headed off to the store. Of course it took her far longer than she imagined; most of the items on her list were not ones that she’d usually purchase and finding them was no easy task. Then there was the moment when her card was declined at the check-out.

Do you want to give it another go?” the cashier asked, with a weary sigh.

Janice nodded, mentally going through the recipes, thinking what could be left and what couldn’t. The relief she felt when the card was then accepted, cleared her mind of all thoughts of ants and anything else, right up until she got home.

Spread out. Maximum coverage. We’ll let them know that they have started something that they are going to regret. Be careful, though. Try to make yourself seen but keep an escape route close by. We want as few casualties as possible.” The commander was holding off deploying the highly trained soldiers until he was sure the time was right for the unveiling of their new weaponry.

Janice was running late after her trip had taken so long. She grabbed her notebook; no need to panic, she’d still have time to get everything prepared and tidy herself up too. She was just about to start on her first recipe when she caught sight of it. An ant! Just one, climbing down the leg of the kitchen table.

By the time she had grabbed the spray, somewhat reluctant to use it where she was going to be cooking, the ant was no longer visible at all.

Had she imagined it? Janice was pretty sure that she hadn’t but there was no time to waste looking for it now. Should it dare to appear again she’d squash it. Simple as that! Concentrate, she told herself. Harry would be slow to forgive her should she mess this one up.

Wherever she went, they were there. On the refrigerator door, inside the pantry, climbing across the top of the cooker. Janice was starting to get frantic, especially as they were always alone and always had disappeared when she returned with something to smack them with.

The time was mercilessly ticking by. It was almost too much when she returned to her flour-dusted board and saw tiny little foot-prints in it.

Okay! Troops, line up! This might be your final battle but go forward with a brave heart and the knowledge that they will not know what has hit them. Look for the targets the scouts have already found and go for maximum effect. These people have been practising large-scale anticide for too long now. It is time that we fight back.”

Janice worked solidly for a while, caught up with some of her lost time. She could still do it! Less time to spend on getting herself ready, that was a given, but that was okay; she’d go for the smart but casual look. Harry might moan a bit afterwards but that was better than messing the entire dinner up. And if it was a success she was sure he would not moan at all.

The first explosion took her totally by surprise. The flour she had carefully weighed out and sifted, lifted from inside the bowl in a miniature mushroom cloud. Why? What had happened? She’d have to throw it away and start all over again. As she wiped the white powder from her face, she saw them, six scurrying black figures, now partly white.

Janice raised her fist in anger, ready to let them all have it in on go, when a loud sploshing sound drew her attention towards the cooker. The mixture, simmering in the saucepan, had risen in a big pop, spattering the wall, the ceiling, the floor, not to mention the gateau she had so painstakingly prepared. She peered in to the saucepan, expecting to see some cooked bodies floating around. Not one appeared, but before she turned away the was another pop that caught her squarely on the nose.

All around the kitchen there were little explosions. Egg yolk mixed with gravy, hot oil spat and hissed. There were sugar clouds, flour clouds, and snow-storms of salt. All around her, Janice could see them. Little black bodies were rushing around, dodging her retaliatory attacks with almost military precision.

She looked at the clock, she looked at the mess, and with a scream of frustration, Janice dashed from the room, shutting the door firmly behind herself. It was hopeless. What could she do?

Well done, chaps! Any casualties? No, why this is excellent. No fatalities I hope,” he added, as it seemed almost to good to be true.

Not one, Sir,” came the reply.

Well, that is good news! I declare Operation Give-It-To-’Em-Back a total success. Expect a celebratory dinner tonight.”

Janice barely got through to Harry before he left for home.

There’s been a change of plan, dear. I’ll meet you at The Rendezvous’. A table for four is booked in your name. And don’t worry. I’ll foot the bill.”

She slammed the door angrily. Her inheritance had never been intended to be spent on business dinners, such as it was, but desperate times called for desperate measures. Tomorrow she’d have to clean up the mess, and she had no illusions that it would not take her a whole day.

Let them think they’d won. But they were so wrong; the war was only just beginning.

 

(1595 words)


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