Kevin the Ant
by Chris Lowe
He’ll die and come back as an ant, Kevin will, and it will be a hot and humid summer evening, the bloated sun about to chomp down on the tree tops, and I’ll be sitting on the cement steps in front of my home, on the walk that leads to the street sidewalk, drinking an after-work gin and tonic and reading the paper, feeling that first warm buzz from the gin caressing my brain, and that’s when I’ll see Kevin again whom I haven’t seen in years, not since my first real job out of school when Kevin was my first real boss. His greedy antennae will twirl like pinwheels hunting for something to carry away and make his own, or if not that, something good to suck inside himself.
And then I’ll spit a half swallow of gin and tonic onto the walk a foot or two in front of Kevin, far enough away so he’ll have to journey to get there but close enough for his antennae to catch a whiff and launch his six legs scurrying toward the liquid treasure.
“Don’t screw it up,” I’ll say to him.
When he gets there and plunges his black proboscis into the puddle of gin and tonic and spit, I’ll take off my reading glasses, line up a lens with the sun, and laser a ray into Kevin’s greasy little exoskeleton, not enough to make him pop like a balloon, but enough to make him feel a burn, the slow burn of humiliation that, like a virus, infects and spreads and grows stronger until the body either builds weapons to kill it or adapts and absorbs it within.
And then Kevin the Ant will look to the sky with one compound eye, his hexagonal lenses sparkling and dancing like tin foil in a microwave, and curling his bristle-haired mandibles into a sneer, he’ll say, “I could care less what you think of me.”
Leaning back against the concrete steps, my reading glasses now hanging limp between my knees, I’ll take another glug of gin and tonic, and just sit there and watch Kevin slink deeper and deeper into the wet mess, his oversized head bobbing like one of those thirsty bird gizmos you see on people’s basement bars, dipping and dipping in rhythmic perpetuity.