Ant Eater

by Nathan Blake

I do not take lightly my eating of ants. There is technique, an ethos. Don't dismiss me as merely gluttonous or obsessive. As a child I stalked the fat ones, picked ants off windows and wooden picnic-tables to hide later in a glass jar filled with crabgrass. I knew what it was I was doing. I even had to go to the hospital, you see. Ants had crawled into my eye and nested in my frontal lobe, inhibiting my ability to recognize future consequences based on current actions. Thus, I ate more ants. I brought ants to school folded up in a handkerchief, savoring them at recess in the hollow space between mouth and tongue. I dreamt of fistfuls, colonies even, entire species at the bottom of my lunch-sack, finding tuna-salad instead. Mom said I'd die if I kept at it. She conceded me to a specialist, a moustachioed man who sought to trap me in my predilections, to reveal to me my absurdity, asking why I hadn't tried spiders and wasps, various others. But I evaded his heartless logic. I knew that would be crazy, anything but ants. I wanted the ants, the squirming mess of them, that jolly pop of the gaster, the bulbous black eyes, the taste of the funiculus, which in Latin means slender rope, like a noose.

BIO: Nathan Blake currently teaches in an elementary school system, a recent college graduate. He has long-term plans of vagabondery in the Oregonian foothills. His fiction has been published in boring places as well as some not-so-boring places.