Saturday, July 8, 2017

STORY #11

 THE ANTS GO MARCHING ON


“I want these things out of my house,” the lady said. “I can't take it anymore.”
There were so many ants I was surprised they hadn't picked the house up and walked off with it.
I didn't dare tell her that though. Yeah, not really a good idea when you're dealing with a customer who has about all they can take over the pesky little creatures.
I stood there contemplating, not really sure how I was going to deal with it myself.
Ants were climbing up the walls by the hundreds.
The counter was completely black. They didn't even so much as budge when I walked in the door.
More like looking at me like 'what you think you're gonna do, pal? Ha? You think you're going to do something do ya? Do ya really. C'mon, gimme your best shot.
She was pretty irritated. I've seen many customers over the years and haven't seen a one that hadn't had enough of these ants.
I've seen women bawling their eyes out over the things.
Some feel like they practically going to move out cause they feel the ants had taken over.
Or better yet. Light the house on fire and move on.
That's what she told me. “She was going to burn her house down and move on but apparently her husband had stopped her form doing so.
I guess you could say she was lucky. Maybe he was. It wouldn't feel very good to come home after a long hard day at work and discover your wife burned your house down cause she was fed up dealing with ants.
“I feel like they're just laughing at me,” she said.
She tried it all too. All the famous home remedies. The pepper all over the baseboards. The salt. The ant bait you get at the store.
“It's just not as strong enough as the stuff you guys use.”
Actually, some of it is really. I couldn't be that honest with her though. People think that when you call an exterminator that we're using some kind of high potent stuff that is going to really knock them on their butts.
Truth is. I've been doing this for over nineteen years and those of us who have been doing this for a while have just learned enough about the biology.
Ants are really pretty complicated. I'll give her that. They are a highly organized insect with a chain of command and everything.
You can shoot them with all the raid you want and you will kill what is on the surface. And you'll rejoice at see all their dead bodies scattered all over your counter and you will think you've won the battle.
ha. Don't be fooled my good friend.
The battle has only begun. You know like that song.
It has only just begun.
“The girl I spoke with on the phone said you were the best,” she said.
“Is that what they said.?”
“She said you were very detailed.”
“They can be complicated. Does take some time.”
“I don't care how long it takes. I just want them gone.” She smacked a couple on the counter and cursed them.
“I understand.”
I asked her all the usual questions like how long has she been dealing with this. Which I knew was for a problem like this is at least for a couple of years.
They all make the same mistakes. They spray just about anything under the sun, anything they can find and douse those suckers to oblivion thinking they're going to show'm a little somethin' somethin.'
What tends to happen is they end up scattering the problem out in the long run making it worse the next go around.
Since ants are known to pack up their colonies and move elsewhere through out the house just over night it is no wonder they scatter about. Something like this takes can happen in a matter of a couple of months to a year.
Often the more they try to fix the problem themselves, the worse it becomes. By that time the owner gets so fed up with the whole thing they decided to call in the professionals. That's usually after they've spend hundreds of dollars on the do it yourself kits and not to mention the hours of time.
I'll come in and spend only thirty minutes at most.
Squirt here. Squirt gel there and be done with it and tell them to call if they have any problems. Often there are a few touch up services needed during this process.
“This isn't the worse of it,” she says. She opens a cabinet door. “Ever see ants this bad?”
My eyes widened at the sight. “Wow. That is bad.” I have seen ants pretty bad in the cabinets but I'm surprised they hadn't rebuilt her entire kitchen yet to be perfectly honest.
“I'll be able to fix that,” I said.
I did have my doubts. The longer I stayed here the worse the problem became.
“Wait. I'm not done.”
I couldn't wait to see what she had to show me next. “What else you got. Lay it on me.”
“They ate my dog last night.”
That one was a new one on me. I'm thinking of course they did lady. I bet you they just gobbled up poor ole Fido or Fi Fi or whatever. She must've saw the unbelief in my eyes.
“I''m serious.”
“I've never known ants to be able to eat pets.” Thinking, well now I know exactly what I'm dealing with. And she's a little touched in the head if you know what I mean.
Every once in a while we'll all come across somebody who is delusional. Wouldn't be the first time.
I had to play along and at least act like I was believing her. “Where did your dog sleep?”
I follow her to the next room. By the closet door there was her Fi Fi's bed. Large splotches of blood were splattered on the bedding.
“I heard him yelping last night and when I came out here to check he was gone. I knew it was them. I just knew it.”
I handed her a tissue as she started to cry and guided her to her living room and sat her down on the couch.
“Now, don't you worry about a thing. I'm going to take care of this.”
“Are you sure you're going to be able to fix this?”
“I'm positive.”
“Cause I sure spent a lot of money. I already paid on the phone.”
“You'll be fine.”
I left her there on the couch to regroup. She was still grieving over her lost dog. I thought if if an ant was able to walk off with her dog then I was going to need stronger juice.
I'm looking around,doing my inspection thing. I placed a bit of ant gel bait on the counter and watched the ants run right to it like a herd of cattle. They were feeding on it in no time which also meant that in a few days the problem would be gone.
I watched them pour out by the hordes.
Hundreds of them climbing out of the wall sockets along the counter. Coming out from under the counter, you know those little gaps nobody ever seals up.
In just a matter of seconds all the gel I put out was completely gone.
I added more. This time I laid out several more splotches. At least ten to twelve more. And watched them devour that.
I was beginning to think I wasn't going to have enough. I've never seen ants eat that gel bait up as quickly as they were.
I added more. This time I laid it in long streaks along the counter and watched as they grouped around it.
Another thing I noticed they weren't your typical odorous house ant. They were a little bigger. I was surprised at how big they were. It was possible I was dealing with a different species.
Not likely.
But possible.
The easiest way to tell if it really was an odorous house ant was to crush it and see if it had that smell.
I grabbed one of the ants and held it between my thumb and finger.
Crushed it.
I let it go immediately when it screeched.
I thought. Seriously, did I just hear an ant scream?
The thing fell on the floor and walked off.
I heard a scream outside.
“Come quick,” the lady said. She motioned me to come over to the window.
They were the largest ants I've ever seen. All big as a F-150 truck.
“That thing has Marge.”
Marge was her neighbor. The ant had ole Marge in it's jaws. Blood dripping from its mandible as it crushed her in half.
Then Marge disappeared down the ants throat.
An ant plowed through the house across the street. Splinters of wood flew up along with dust debris
“Ever see any ants that big?” she asked.
“No, mam. I'm afraid I haven't”
Upon seeing the large ants outside and what we surrounded by I immediately realized this house was their main nest and these were her young.
“Where is your basement?”
“Down there. But I don't ever go down there. Haven't been in a long time.”
“That may be the problem.”
Ants poured out from under the basement door. More were coming down from the ceiling. I was thinking that burning this house down wouldn't be such a bad idea after all.
She beat at the ants with a broom.
SMACK SMACK SMACK
Cursing them.
A couple of the ants stood up on their back legs and charged at the broom.
I opened the door and shined the light downstairs. I only had to go down a couple steps to see the place was crawling with ants.
I nearly fell down the stairs when the lady screamed.
I found her on the floor. Ants devouring her like she'd fallen in a river of piranhas. The ants tearing at her flesh. Ripping off large chunks.
Blood dripping form their mandibles.
I took out my can of high level pyrethrin and started dousing the douche-bags. By the time I got them off of her it was too late.
Nothing remained of the poor woman except for a skeleton.
When they were done with her they immediately turned on me.
Biting at my legs.
Tearing off large chunks of flesh. Mostly around my ankles.
I kicked at them but they just kept coming back. I squirted them with all the pesticide I had from my tin can. Still, the suckers were still moving.
It was like they were mutant creatures from another planet.
Maybe that's what it was. They flew down from outer space one night.
Realizing I wasn't going to get anywhere with these things I knew I was going to have to resort to more drastic measure.
I noticed her stove was gas. And then I thought that perhaps blowing up the entire house wasn't such a bad idea after all. I hated to think that the customer had been right all along and now she wasn't going to live to see their demise.
I turned the stove on and set the knob on high.
Most of the windows were closed except for the living room. I went ahead and shut it. Not a good time for any gas to be escaping.
Ants kept biting at my legs.
Tearing off my shoes.
One of them walked around with it in its mouth like it were some kind of dog.
I grabbed the co2 off the wall, pulled the pin and sprayed them down freezing the suckers. That was going to buy me some time to get the heck out of the house. The more I thought about it, the whole gas exploding thing didn't seem like that great of an idea.
Scratched that one.
I went to the garage to see what I could find and found a gas can sitting in the corner.
That'll do the trick.
I doused the the area entire house with the gas making a trail out the front door. I grabbed a match, struck it and tossed it into the puddle.
In no time the house was on fire. I watched the trail of fire making its way across the living room floor and into the kitchen.
Which immediately, I had forgotten about the gas stove in the kitchen and ran as far away from the house as I could.
The house went up in a mushroom cloud. Shaking the ground. Thank god there weren't no house next to it. The only houses that was affected was the one across the street where I'd seen the large ant attacking the old lady.
The explosion was large enough that something must've been off on that house too cause it went up in flames as well.
Black ant body parts soared through the sky along with wood timbers.
A mandible landed at my feet. I picked it up and carried it to my truck. That one was going to make a great souvenir.
I had never seen any ore ants in that neighborhood after that. It took a few days for the dozers to clean up the mess. When they did they didn't find any evidence of any large ants in the area. In fact I was told it was impossible for ants to get that large.
I on the other hand have to disagree.
Unfortunately, the authorities didn't believe any of what I said. That was okay. I have the large mandible and they told me that I could've gotten that anywhere. But the truth is, I can tell them anything and they still wouldn't believe me.


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