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The Little Ant (Part 2)

Don’t worry, my friend, this is only the start of the story . . . Time?? None of us have it. Time isn’t internal. Nor is it external. Let me ask you, what does a clock do? . . . But, someone has to do the reading, do they not? The clock doesn’t measure anything if no one is there to see the little hands moving . . . Would there be time if there were no people? . . . No. Clocks wouldn’t exist if there were no humans on this planet. Time wouldn’t exists . . . We’ve chopped up our lives into the most micro of moments—seconds. Recording every passing second and making it appear to be accumulating something, that’s madness, my friend . . . Ay, I agree. There is something presumed with time, though; and that is the person experiencing the idea of time passing . . . Yes, I did get lost in it—like it was a blackhole, that slowly sucked me in—but, it turns out, blackholes are interesting to me . . . Rabbit hole? Is that the expression? Well, I like blackholes . . . Where will you go?? . . . You can stay for a few more minutes, can’t you? Drink one more with me, for old time sake. Time moves differently when you’re wrapped up in a story, doesn’t it? . . . Yes, yes, back to the ant. Where was I . . .? Ay, that’s right, he roared like a lion! Ha! . . . You have to admit, though, it was a good start to the story, wasn’t it? The smallest of all the ants stood the tallest that day. He was the king of the forest for the briefest of moments. But, that moment was enough to sway the wolves. And once you have wolves on your side, well, the world is your canvas . . . A pack of wolves? Yes, they’re hunters. And they decided to extend a dinner invitation to the little ant. They just had to catch their dinner first. The ant had never been on a hunt before, you see, and the wolves, who were now suspiciously friendly, were teaching him how—as if he would someday be able to actually hunt something. They taught him how to track an animal; how to stay downwind; how to use the forest as camouflage; how to listen to the forest; and how to use each other to hunt as a pack. It was all fascinating to the little ant, even if he didn’t think that it was very practical. They laughed and joked with him, but he was still tense. They had been ready to kill him earlier. Ants didn’t let any other species of bugs join their colony.  Why are these wolves so eager to have me join their pack? he asked himself . . . And then they found a little red fox all alone. The real hunt began. They spread out, covering a radius of the forest—one that the little red fox wouldn’t be able to escape from. The little ant’s little heart started to pound. He started to sweat and shake. The alpha took the lead, approaching the fox from the front. The little ant slowly stalked the fox with him. He was right by the alpha’s side, watching the fox sniff around an open meadow. The fox was right in the middle of the circular meadow that had a patch of trees right in the middle of it. The fox gave no sign of knowing that it was being hunted by hungry wolves and a little ant. They crept up to the edge of the meadow and the alpha wolf turned to the little ant and said, “We wait here for now. As soon as it gets closer to one of us, we will spring the trap. If the fox wanders close to Leon, he will take point, leading him to us, and if it wanders close to Moon, he’ll do the same thing. And if it gets closer to us—. . .” Ant put a hand up, “I get it.” he said. The alpha smiled a nasty smile at him. Ant could feel his warm breath on his face. They waited. And kept waiting. The fox stayed in the center of the meadow, casually sniffing different things, and nibbling at certain flowers and berries. The fox eventually curled up under one of the trees and went to sleep. “We’ve waited too long, Ant. And I am famished. It’s time to spring the trap. You stay here, Ant.” He slowly crept out into the open meadow. The fox noticed the alpha immediately, and opened up one eye. To Ant’s surprise, the fox closed his eye and went right back to sleep. The alpha turned around and shrugged towards Ant. Then, with wild eyes and drool falling from his mouth, he started to sprint at the fox. The fox ran up the tree he had been sleeping under with tremendous speed and grace. The alpha had only had enough time to sprint a few steps before the fox was sleeping on one of the top branches of the tree. Leon and Moon emerged from where they had been waiting, watching. The three of them met under the tree that the fox was under. “Well, Knight, what the hell do we do now?” Leon asked the alpha. Ant noticed that Leon only had one eyeball. The alpha shook his head. Then, he looked back to Ant. “Ant! Come out!” he called out. Ant hurried to the tree. He looked up at the fox as he sprinted across the meadow and was surprised to see that the fox was awake and watching him curiously. “What do you think we should do, Ant?” The alpha asked him. Ant hesitated before responding. He looked back up to the fox, who was asleep again, then he looked at the three massive and hungry wolves in front of him. “Your name is Knight?” Ant asked the Alpha, who grunted in response. “I think that fox up there knew we were hunting it from the very beginning. There is a reason why he didn’t wander towards us. And there is a reason why he chose this tree to pretend to sleep under. He is smarter than us. Or, more aware than us. They say that foxes are cunning, don’t they? Maybe that’s what this is, a cunning red fox.” Knight nodded in agreement. “Ay, I reckon your right, Ant. But, the fox is making the same mistake we made.” Ant looked at Knight, puzzled. “What mistake?” he asked. Another wicked smile flashing across the face of Knight and Ant got a good look at the size of the teeth on his wolf friend. “The fox is taking you for granted, Ant. Just like we did.” He leaned forward, closer to Ant, and lowered his voice. “We can’t climb this tree, but you can,” he whispered. Ant looked up to where the fox was. It would be a tough climb, but he could do it if he had to. Fox had an eye open again, still casually watching them. “What am I supposed to do when I get up there?” Ant whispered to Knight. “Finish the hunt,” he said, drool falling from his lips again. A shiver ran down the spine of Ant from the way Knight had said, ‘finish the hunt’. Moon and Leon nodded along in agreement. “You want me to kill a fox by myself? . . . How?” Ant asked quietly. Knight narrowed his gaze, “With everything we just taught you, Ant.” . . . Alright, it is my turn to drain my compass. I’ll be right back . . . Okay, so the fox was up in a tree and Ant was going to climb the tree to finish the hunt he had started with the wolves . . . I do call it a compass sometimes, yeah . . . Well, because it points me to where I should go. Women are my North, my friend. And they are much more real than North . . . Oh, it didn’t work out with her . . . No reason, I guess. Just didn’t mesh well . . . Yeah, same thing with her. I like being single. It suits me better. How else can I get drunk and get lost in my stories every day? . . . They seem to think that they can handle me, but I am never able to give them enough of my time and attention. And they do deserve better than what I can provide. Maybe if I ever stop writing, then I’ll settle down with one of them. I am just not ready to end my relationship with words. I love them. And I am only getting started . . . Wait until this next book is finished, my friend. You’ll see then. You’ll better understand what I am doing.

CH 5/19/24

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