Dylan Love: editorial gun for hire.

Scene from a formicarium

Formicarium explainer. I needed one at one point, too.

Two ANTS are murdering a CRICKET with their mouths together.

ANT: I don’t like this. He’s still up there. With a magnifying glass.

ANT: Sure, but he’s holding it a safe distance away. I don’t think he means any harm, but he’s probably the oldest young person to use a magnifying glass to actually observe ants.

The CRICKET falls to its side, oozing juices. It gasps but does not breathe.

ANT: You know how sometimes when you’re underground in the nest and then suddenly it’s all bright like you’re outside?

ANT: Yeah! I hate that!

ANT: That’s him too! He’s got a removable cover that keeps the nest dark when he’s not watching us underground.

ANT: That means he can watch us all the time. Do you think he knows us? Individually?

ANT: I don’t know, but there he is, watching anyway.

The ANTS chant their RITUAL KILLING POEM. The CRICKET doesn’t like it one bit.

ANT: Do you think he knows about the secret language we speak with the chemicals in our butts?

ANT: No, that’s special and obviously far beyond him.

ANT is sucking fluids out of one of many abrasions on the CRICKET’S MOTIONLESS BODY. She is joined at the gushing well of nutrients by ANT.

ANT: Where did this cricket even come from? We’ve only ever found the same thing every time we search this place: Two mealworms every 48 to 72 hours. And now a cricket!

ANT: It must have come from here. Nature.

ANT: Please, Cheryl, I thought better of you than that. Don’t you realize we live quite outside Nature?

ANT: [pensive, confused]

ANT: Let me tell you a story. One day he was watching us with his damned magnifying glass again, and I, deciding I had had quite enough of this, chased him full well with the intention to recite that ritual killing poem, if you know what I mean.

ANT: You didn’t!

ANT: You know what? I couldn’t even touch him. Though that was a long time ago. Since then I’ve read every single one of the messages others have left behind in the secret language we speak with the chemicals in our butts, and I think I’ve finally distilled it. It all goes around in circles. We are contained but we can’t comprehend the edge.

ANT enters the CRICKET’S NOW-HOLLOW ABDOMEN and fills her stomach with CRICKET JUICE.