Deep in the thick green foliage, day after day I work, sometimes risking my life - all to support the home that lies deeper still. Out here it would be easy to get lost. Of course there is a large team of us so it’s not likely that any one of our group would be alone, let alone lost. Plus, we learned a long time ago how to mark a trail. No, we’re good here. We’ll be around as long as our great creator wills it.
I am a scout. It’s prestigious, yeah and it takes guts, I won’t lie. Listen to what happened the other day when we went searching for food.
We left by the regular door and alerted ‘Great Cephalus’. “Hey GC,” I called and touched his head. “Can you let us through?”
“Sure, you guys goin’ then? Good luck. Be quick, be safe and find something good. I’ll be here when you come back.” He moved aside, we made our way past him.
Now, his is a job I wouldn’t want. Similar to the urbane ‘Walmart’ greeter, but on a protective, not a welcoming level. All day, every day. What a head he has for it though. A perfect fit!
So I met up with my pal Mitz. Me and Mitz. “We love it out here eh, buddy?” I clap him on the shoulder.
“Yep Clymber, we sure do. The warm and earthy air, the way the humidity hangs in huge drops from the tall grass and leaves. I love it so much, it almost makes me light-headed.” Mitz inhaled deeply and smiled one of his real big, smiles.
We didn’t go very far when I spotted something. “Hey, look over there,” I motioned with a foot. “Those gorgeous red-orange blossoms with the purple throat and all that wonderful nectar! I love it when we find them early enough that the flowers are still open and we can get a drink. What a treat! Talk about light-headed!”
“Oh yeah, Lets go get some of that juice!” Mitz agreed.
“Say, but talking about light-headed - I heard something about you getting mugged last week, that true?” I asked Mitz.
“Oh yeah, I’ll tell ya. These two fly-weights came out of nowhere. They tapped on me when I wasn’t looking. I didn’t even turn around. I thought they were from our group and needed help. It all happened so fast–before I knew it I’d brought out the good stuff and they took it off me. Then they hit me with their ‘stuns’ and that was it. When I came to, I felt all weak and empty–but alive–so that’s good. I sure don’t hope to go through that again.” Mitz shook his head and rubbed it.
We were walking while he talked, making our way to those flowers and I couldn’t believe what he’d been through. “Yowza! What a story!” I said. “You ever think about writing...” and then, just like that, something grabbed me. “What the doodle? Mitz, help! I stepped into some kind of pit! Something’s got me! Help!”
“I see it Clymber! It’s the lion! But don’t worry–I got ya. Kick him with all you got - right in those jaws!
“Mitz, he’s pullin, you’re pullin, I hope I make it out with all my parts!” I cried.
“Sure you will, they don’t call me ‘Mitz’ for nothin’!”
Mitz pulled and yanked and mangled. He wasn’t giving up–and then he wrenched me free!
“Mitz, this is crazy stuff-I’m gonna freak out! Does he have one of my feet? Did you get all of me?”
“Yeah, Clymber, it’s okay now. Just lay here. Let me see if I can cough something up to calm you. Try to rest.
Rest? Can you imagine? I never thought I’d rest again–but then everything just sort of faded away. I don’t remember anything else until I woke up at home.
I never was as thankful as I was then that I have a family and friends who take such good care of each other (and me).
...And that this nectar is actually healthy to drink!
I’m looking forward to the next hunt!
Setting: a backyard somewhere in suburban New Jersey
Great Cephalus - ant who guards the hill by blocking the entrance with his head
Clymber - scout ant and narrator
Mitz - scout ant and Clymber’s best friend
(Great Cephalus, Clymber and Mitz would be female in real life.)
two fly-weights - mugger flies
Lion - doodle bug/ant lion
Exotic blossom: Scarlet pimpernel
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