Wednesday, 29 August 2007


In his classic song, Diamond Dogs, David Bowie begins: “This ain’t rock ‘n roll…this is genocide”. Indeed, it was not rock ‘n roll. There was no music on at all in the condo.

Yesterday, flip-flop in hand, I found myself joining the exclusive club of genocidal maniacs with such illustrious members as Pol Pot and Adolf Hitler. I speak neither Khmer nor German. Perhaps at annual meetings we’ll just nod, point, and use hand gestures if we meet.

But I digress.

For weeks up to that day I had been a mere serial killer. It was time to step up and realize my full potential.

And it all started innocently enough. All I wanted to do was send a birthday card.

I had just finished penning a note in the card, slid the card into the envelope I’d pre-addressed, sealed the envelope shut and affixed the Hallmark Gold Crown seal when I remembered Edson had bought us both Chinese seals when he was in Singapore last month. The characters on the seals are supposed to sound close to our names or some such thing. Atop each is a carving of our sign in the Chinese zodiac. They are both made of stone and each is packaged in a lovely silk-adorned and lined box that also holds a ceramic container of cinnabar seal ink paste.

Since we have no practical use for such a thing, I like to use it to adorn cards and letters. When I’m not sending cards and letters it sits on the shelf beside Edson’s, a couple shell necklaces from our trip to Boracay, a few AA batteries and some business cards. We look at the names on the business cards from time to time and ask each other who most of these people are. We really have no idea. We must have met and exchanged cards with them at some event. Ours are probably in their homes on a shelf or drawer too. Every once in a while they will come across ours and ask themselves the same question. Which reminds me, I’m running short on business cards.

Again I digress.

I removed the box from the shelf and sat it on the table beside and opened it. I removed the contents and noticed something else inside.


We’ve had some problems with ants the past two months. They’re just little ants and appear a dozen here or there at a time. They’re annoying and I kill them. Edson says they’re a sign of luck or some such thing.

I kill them.

I question why they’re here. We don’t have anything in our kitchen, really. We don’t cook. There’s very little foodstuff for them, not that ants eat much.

I tapped them out of the box and killed the 5 or 6 that fell out, picked up the seal, noticed more near the box, and killed those. I turned the box upside-down again and tapped it harder this time to get the rest out. When I did, I noticed the red silk lining was coming apart from the side of the box and inside I saw more ants. I began to pound the box down instead of just tapping. When I did, hundreds of ants spilled out onto the table.

We had been invaded! Five or six queens, their rears puffed-up to exploding were amongst the others and eggs.




My flip-flop came down hard over and over again, crushing the ants until all were dead.

I washed the bodies from the sole of my flip-flop and cleaned the carnage from the table and swept the floor, flushing them all down the toilet like dead pet goldfish.

“Good luck”, I thought. I had just flushed our good luck down the toilet.


I finally did finish printing the seal on the envelope and getting it in the mail, but by the time I did I was also 45 minutes late for a meeting I was supposed to have with a friend.


A late genocidal maniac. In our little game of charades, I'll have to take up the problem of being punctual while committing genocide with Adolf and Pol, if I may use their first names.

No, it wasn't rock 'n roll.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If they were in your box, what about Edson's? Did you think of that? If I could be there I would help commit genocide on the ants for you.