Micromanaging an Ant Hill (A 10 Minute Challenge)

During our last meetup, we went for an extra 10 minute challenge. And this one was abstract. Hilarity ensued.

Micromanaging an anthill.

Sean Flannigan

I see you. You’re the laze-about. Don’t think the others haven’t noticed. They have. They stop talking at the water cooler when you walk through, haven’t you noticed. How worthless you are, they say. You think that they’re actually just standing wordless at the water cooler? How dumb are you? They will literally eat you alive. Usually they would pick you up and throw you from the anthill, block your entrance with ant bouncers. Here they need to just “dispose” of you. I can’t help you. In that plastic cave, you are only acting as like an ant version of Sopranos to me. And let me tell you, you are not a main character.
This guy over here, for example. He’s one of those toughies. Gets shit done. He’s most likely the one who’d do you. He doesn’t feel pain they say. He got the clap, they say, and clapped back at it so hard that it ran off in fear. You’ll die in there, don’t think otherwise, and I will be here to watch it. I’ll be here, hovering like an angel of death. Just waiting for your eventual end.

Stephen K

Argh, why are you moving that leaf there?
You, don’t stop digging! We’ll need more storage by next week!
You can lift many times your own weight, and this is what you brought in here? I hope the queen doesn’t see you.
Scouts just reported there’s a carcass to the east. You lead a line to it!
Is the fruit to the north completely collected yet?
Where is the scout team for the house? They’ve been gone for a very long time. Either they found a way in or they’re dead. Prepare a team to followup.
SOMEONE JUST STEPPED ON THE MOUND! Builders get moving right now!

Lucas Orion Cain

“Move, you little fuckers!” I look through the plastic walls into the tunnels and I’m disgusted at
how slow they are. Little grains of sand. Little disappointments.
“You need to bury your dead.” It said on the box that you bury your dead, but they are just lying
there; upside down with curled legs. This isn’t how it’s supposed to be. This isn’t my farm.
It said to give you drops of water and food pellets. I did that. It said to watch as your queen makes
babies and you make a nursery. You didn’t. That’s why I’m mad. Two weeks in and nothing.
The tunnels follow a zig­zag pattern along the enclosure. Those are fine.
“I’m giving you a new crew,” I tell them with contempt in my heart. “Out on the back porch I saw
a bunch of you little fuckers.” I’m their queen now. In a mason jar I collect several hundred black
and brown ants. I pour them into the green and clear cage with a funnel made of paper. These new
ones will be better.
I watch the war begin. With mandibles, they cut through the bodies of the invaders. “Stop!”
“You’re hurting them.” I watch in horror as, one by one, the new recruits are killed. They bury the
bodies. At least they got one thing right.

Grant Granger

Productivity remains at enviable levels, but the project managers on the front lines have departed from their orders in ways that suggest either gross incompetence or the more dangers combination of artistic license and naked ambition. The workers themselves churn through earth with singular purpose, but clearly these lines are all wrong. Three of the main passageways have been carved twice as wide as designed, the exhaust vents are all over the map, and the main chamber has no clear traffic flow. It’s a goddamned nightmare, and who’s going to shoulder the blame? You. No one’s going to glimpse this staggering failure and blame the pea-brains at ground level.

You push back the yellow plastic PlaySchool helmet and fog the glass with the embers of rage. Your finger raps the pane with demonstrative toddler authority.

“Move your thorax, bub!”.


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