A Barrel Full of Ants

A Barrel Full of Ants
Photo by Guillaume de Germain on Unsplash

As Yakov Rodionov fell dead to the ground, his Walther PPK fell from his hand and bounced off a rock into the stream next to him. The gun, Yakov previously stole from Adolf Hitler after it was used by Hitler on himself. As one of the first to discover the Nazi ruler after his death, he knew the gun would be valuable and therefore scooped it up before anyone else would notice.

Although questioned about the whereabouts of the weapon, Yakov denied seeing it insisting it must have been stolen before he stepped foot on the scene. As the bullet left the barrel of the gun entering Yakov’s brain, the last thought running through the soldier’s mind was that he would be dying by the same gun as the deceased leader. In a way this thought made Yakov proud, but the bullet made Yakov dead.

The gun itself would stay in the water for many years slowly sinking into the mud as the stream continuously pounded the stainless steel surface of the weapon. After the stream became more shallow over time, various insects would inspect the gun from time to time. Some nestled in the exposed barrel, while others crawled into the magazine well squeezing between the magazine and the inside wall.

The most curious of these insects was Barley, an young ant who was out scouting for a new place for his colony. Barley was really trying to find a unique location in order to make a name for himself. His brother, Todd, once found a hole in a tree that was cherished for a long time. They had a great view and the weather was always nice. There were also friendly neighbors in the tree. Squid, an adventurous squirrel, always talked to Barley and filled his head with grand ideas he got out of comic books. His cage was always lined with comic book before he escaped his captures, but by then Squid was addicted to the sequential art.

Barley wanted his colony to be proud of him, and he searched for weeks looking for the perfect spot for his colony. After dismissing several trees and some decaying tree trunks, Barley turned toward finding a place near the stream. The soft dirt would provide some great opportunities for creating pathways, and there would be plenty of water nearby constantly bringing in new food sources.

Even though he wanted something by the stream, he wanted to make sure it would be safe for the queen. When Barley came across the PPK, he immediately saw the safety of the gun barrel. He crawled down into the empty space which had previously discharged bullets killing at least two people. When he reached the bottom of the cavern he took a little nap.

He dreamed of the cheers as everyone would surely applaud him for his excellent find. The queen would praise and honor him. His brother would even give him a pat on the back and tell him what a great job he did. Yes, this was the perfect place. When Barley awoke, he charged back to the colony.

He told Milo, his supervisor about the amazing location explaining all the benefits it offered. Milo had to see for himself. The two ventured together through the field until they reached the edge of the stream. At the location Barley showed Milo the barrel standing at an angle perfect for protection. Milo agreed that it would be an excellent place to keep the queen. As the two discussed strategic details, the stream washed some of the support mud away from the gun. The weapon shifted and the barrel dug down into the mud splashing both of the scouts. Milo looked at Barley, who smiled back, awkwardly. Milo began his long journey back in silence. Barley began searching for a new place for his colony where he wouldn’t wind up with mud on his face.