ants, musicians and chemical messages
(originally posted 9/9/2012)
They had called out ant detective 47Q17H to investigate so you know it wasn’t the usual run of the mill ant disappearance. 47Q17H had been with the colony for over 60 days and had seen it all. He headed out following the chemical trail left by scout 45R62A and felt certain he would have answers for the queen in only a few hours. 45R62A was a legend among the foraging crowd , he was not only responsible for finding the dropped spare rib a few weeks back but he also warned everybody of the termite invasion that was successfully turned back thanks to his quick thinking. 47Q17H put his antenna back to the ground with steely determination.
There are no musicians in an ant colony. What does this have to do with the fate of 45R62A? Plenty. The fact is despite having 6 legs there are no musicians. Certainly with that many appendages there could be if they wanted one. Ants are amazing insects and can pretty much do anything that they want to. It’s scientifically proven.
There are plenty of human musicians. In fact, it could be argued (very easily) that there are too many musicians. Why do I say that? Because as I was jogging through the rain this morning it suddenly dawned on me that musicians are carriers. Carriers of a disease far worse than Epidermodysplasia Verruciformis or Calcinosis. I’m talking about discontent. If you think about its effect on human society just imagine how it would sweep through an ant hill.
One minute you’re sitting there all content and the next you’re listening to The Replacements Unsatisfied and thinking “Hey! I AM unsatisfied!”. Don’t believe me? I dare you to try it.
And there it is. The discontent has been spread… and what’s worse is that you’re now a carrier. You think poetry slams just happen?! Normally happy and upbeat youth transformed into turtleneck-wearing, finger-snapping douche bags huddled around candles trying to remember their lives before hearing Fire and Rain by James Taylor. I want to break into the club and grab a half-decent guy and extol the virtues of just going out and getting laid! “Really, it feels great!”. Then I’d find a not-horrible looking girl and explain that if a penis isn’t her thing there are plenty of penis-shaped objects that she must having lying around the house that will do the job. The point being that discontent must be fought.
But the unfortunate truth is that half-decent guy will probably listen to Colin Hay’s I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You on the way to the bar and suddenly an ex-girlfriend will pop into his head and he’ll feel discontent.
Turning a certain phrase over and over in his head, clinging to it like some underinflated floatation device. Lost at sea. For the world is riddled with war and poverty and plagues and famine but the seeds of discontent are moved most easily through the victims heart and these sick-fuck musicians know it. For example, more people are infected through Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here than their lesser-known song Ujulu Could Really Use A Sandwich.
Obviously any hue and cry to stamp out musicians would be a waste of time so that’s exactly what I am suggesting.
45R62A had come upon a Kerengga Jumper of the genus Myrmarachne. A spider that looks like and mimics an ant. Pheromones were involved.
47Q17H came to where the trail ended. Typically there was some chemical signature of what transpired. Some last will and testament scent left to give the colony an idea of why the ant is no longer with them… usually who ate or stepped on them. There was a chemical here but it was one that 47Q17H had never detected before. He walked around and looked for additional clues but could find no markings, no indication of violence and no corpse.
Had 45R62A come upon a male Kerengga his fate would have been easy to determine. Unlike the female, the male lacks the ability to inject their paralyzing venom and must instead hold down the ant and stab it to death before sucking up the fluids of their mangled prey. 47Q17H had no way of knowing this because it was a female. And the only scent left was one that 47Q17H had never come upon before in his long 60 days as an ant detective.
So are you infected? There is an easy way to tell. You can believe that the female spider paralyzed the ant and then carried off his body to eat at her leisure, content that the ant would be so confused as to leave a final chemical explanation that was equal parts stunned and what-the-fuck.
Or you can believe that the spider felt something for the ant that she had never felt before and the ant had felt something for the spider that he had never felt before and they had left together to start a whole new life and the ant had left the first and only known chemical interpretation of love that 47Q17H or any other ant in the colony will ever come upon.
Do I have to explain which explanation means that you’re contaminated?
Spoiler alert! The truth is 45R62A had come upon the spider and had felt things he’d never felt before but the spider just saw him as lunch and approached and injected him with her fangs. 45R62A accepted this and left the first and only known chemical interpretation of love that 47Q17H or any other ant in the colony would ever come upon before dying and being dragged away to be consumed later in the day by the Kerengga Jumper.
At least you can hope for the sake of colonies everywhere that this is the last time that any ant comes upon this scent.