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“O for a Muse of fire,
that would ascend
The brightest heaven
of invention,
A kingdom for a
stage, princes to act
And monarchs to
behold the swelling
-Willam Shakespeare
King Henry V


     That was before the Ant People came, though. The Ant People come and twist the tops off all the fire hydrants. The Ant People bite trees in half, with their giant ant jaws; the trees fall and cut power lines, crush cars. People run around in the street, Help! Help! they all scream, while the Ant People storm through the aisles in the supermarket, smash all the ladders at the firehall. The Ant People start fires. Their six buggy, horny legs and their squishy, slimy abdomens. They build an ant-hill, in the parking lot of the recreation centre, out of mattresses and car seats, chesterfields, deep-freezes. The ant-hill towers up into the sky and everybody hollers and hides. Why, oh why, they holler, Why did these awful Ant People come? When will they leave?

     I hide in the gully, in the old tool shack. I cover the windows with some old classified ads, and make a fire, like Mullen’s dad taught me. Building up a little teepee out of twigs. It gets pretty loud at night, down in the gully, with all the burning and hollering and eating alive up the hill. I cover myself in old newpaper and the red sky shines through my newspaper curtains. I wonder if Mullen and his dad got away from the Ant People? I bet them and the Russians high-tailed it out, drove up on the sidewalks in Mullen’s dad’s pick-up truck, running over Ant People, kicking them in their six ugly eyes when they tried to climb on the running boards. I bet they’re all out in British Columbia by now, sleeping under the stars, in the box of the pick-up truck.

2006 Calgary International Spoken Word Society