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Usually the truth is stranger (or funnier, wittier, snarkier, etc…) than fiction, so sometimes I take a minute to write or revise bits of nonfiction that I have put together over the last few years. Some of these were for writing class prompts, others for the hell of it.

For your entertainment, I present to you:

“The Memories We Make”

A massive colony of ants invaded our trailer (yes I live in Alabama and yes, at one point we lived in a trailer) and countless attempts to get rid of them had failed. They needed to die a violent death. I drove to the dollar store with my sister-in-law (who had graciously volunteered to help and was not at all coerced) and we loaded up on garbage bags, duct tape, boric acid, several cans of ant spray, ant bait, ant traps, and ant fogger. I may have gone a little overboard.

Back at the trailer, every piece of clothing or linen that was determined to be ant-free was stuffed into giant black garbage bags, tied shut, then sealed with duct tape. Same for the dishes and cookware. We took all of the food out of the cabinets, threw away anything opened, and stuffed the rest into the bottom of the fridge. Then I sealed the fridge door shut with duct tape. We each set a change of clothes in the car, along with plastic bags to store our current clothes.

Come killing time, we started with the boric acid, spreading a thick layer of it around and under the trailer. The ant bait and traps were thrown pell-mell underneath beds, couches, and appliances, and in any dark corner that might have been an avenue of escape. We saturated every angle where floor met wall with the spray, and strategically set up the fog in the kitchen, living room, and hallway.

Before we pulled the pins on the foggers we theorized that the ants were plotting their escape and revenge; the foggers spray straight up, so what if the ants were able to crawl combat-style underneath them and reach a safe place. They would hide and wait out the chemical warfare we had wrought.

The bug spray had gone to our heads.

I decided we should spray the floor all around the foggers to prevent the ants’ survival. Becky took the kitchen and living room while I sprayed the hallway. The only flaw to this plan was that once I sprayed said hallway, I would have to walk (run) back down a part of it after I pulled the pin on the fogger.

As soon as I got the fogger going I tried to run down the hallway. Instead, I ended up doing a split. And then a spin. Maybe a pirouette? No matter what I tried, there was no footing to be had. A drunk deer skating across a frozen pond would seem more graceful.

I spent about a good thirty seconds bouncing from wall to wall until I finally cleared the hallway and found my footing on the living room carpet. Becky spent that time rolling in the floor laughing at me before she recovered, somewhat, and managed to set off the other foggers.

We escaped to fresh air. The ants did not. The subsequent cleaning job was a pain, especially with the carpet, but I relished every ant carcass that was sucked up into the steam cleaner.

Nearly a decade later, the annoyance of the ants is nearly forgotten. The mess that we made barely registers. But the vivid memory of my staggering slip and slide down the hallway still sends us into fits of laughter.

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