The sun was scorching, the winds dead. An army of ants walked patiently to the base of their camp. The queue was very long. If the ants were tired, they did not show it. The Queen’s army was watching them. They couldn’t refuse their orders. However, there were two ants that constantly broke the rules. Ant Bea and Ant Dee were the youngest of the lot. They were known all over the village for the pranks they pulled and the troubles they caused. Twice, they had been put in the county jail, left weeks without any sweets but all in vain. One second they were behaving, going wild the next. They had a very bad standing with the town’s Marshal. Everybody was afraid of Marshal Squiggly’s temper but oh, no not these two. Once, Ant Bea and Ant Dee had set his butt on fire. They repeated over and over again that it was a mistake and they just meant to burn his hat, Marshal Squiggly thought otherwise. Spanking couldn’t even stamp out the hooligans in them, he thought with a sigh.
Ant Bea and Ant Dee couldn’t just stand there quietly. They were an eager lot; waiting in queues was one of the many things that bored them to death. Soon, they were trying to sneak off behold. Marshal Squiggly grabbed them by the scruff of their necks.
“You hooligans! You can’t disobey my orders!” he screamed, his grip tightening on their necks, “I am the Marshal! The chief Marshal and you dare to disobey me?”
Ant Bea and Ant Dee tried to pry his fingers off them but Marshal Squiggly was much stronger. The other ants looked helplessly at them. Bea and Dee were done now, they thought sadly. Only the Marshal detested the two ants, however, the whole village was quite fond of the twins and their pranks.
“Where were you running off to just now?” he asked them, spraying spit all over their faces, “Were you cooking up another plan to set me on fire?”
“Come on, Mr. Squiggly… We were just playing a magic trick. No harm done.” Ant Bea said quickly.
“NO HARM DONE?” he bellowed, “YOU TWO ALMOST KILLED ME!”
Ant Dee sniggered. The Marshal let out a furious scream.
“YOU TWO ARE GROUNDED, I TELL YOU!” His eyes were bloodshot and his face was pink.
Just then, a colonel came running towards them.
“Marshal… Marshal…” he panted.
“YES, er, I mean yes?” Marshal tried to pacify his anger.
Marshal impatiently waited for the colonel to catch his breath.
The marshal tried to remain calm.
“Got word…” The colonel paused to catch his breath one more time.
“OUT WITH IT, BOY!” Marshal Squiggly screamed, impatiently.
“I’ve-just-got-word-from-the-Queen,” the colonel said quickly, scared the Marshal would punish him.
“She wants a 100 more sugar crystals,” the colonel breathed out, “She wants it quick, sir.”
Marshal Squiggly turned his back on them to think. He had just sent 50 of his best troops to get the sugars from outside. The Queen was ruthless, he had to follow her exact orders or else she’ll kill them all. Turning around, he blew a whistle. All of the ants came and stood before him. He gave each of them duties to go and collect as many sugar crystals they could find. If the Queen is not happy, they will have to suffer her wrath. One by one each ant left the village.
“YOU TWO! Come here.” He yelled at Ant Bea and Ant Dee, “You two have to go to the house 10 miles from our village.”
Ant Bea and Ant Dee’s ears pricked up. They were never allowed to go outside. They started dancing in joy.
“Adventure, here we come!” They screamed, tapping their feet.
“This is nothing to be happy about. This is your punishment,” Marshal squiggly explained, “Here are your bags, store the sugar crystals inside and COME STRAIGHT HOME.”
Ant Bea and Ant Dee ran off to the gate. It was the first time they were going out into the Human World. They were told it was cruel, barbaric and nasty out there but they didn’t care. They had always wanted to go out and adventure into the World of Humans. They soon realized what the other ants meant. Ant Bea and Dee had to be very careful in the Human World. Thrice, they had been nearly squashed to death by footsteps. Two kids zoomed by in roller blades and Bea and Dee leapt in each other’s arms in screams.
“Bea… I’m scared,” Dee said hiding under a rock.
“Oh, Dee. It’s nothing to worry about. Come on, let’s hurry up.”
And so the two ants walked 10 miles to the house they were assigned. When they arrived, they were mad with joy. Their worries lay forgotten as they ran here and there gaping at everything with their mouths open wide. They had never seen the kitchen before. Standing at the top of the counter, they couldn’t hide their excitement. Ant Bea found the sugar bowl and they both jumped in and swam in sweet, wonderful sugar crystals.
“Wow, Dee!” exclaimed Ant Bea with a mouthful of sugar crystals, “This sugar is the tastiest of all… It’s so sweet; it’s melting in my mouth.”
“I think we should take some for us.” Ant Dee said stuffing the bag with the crystals, “Because the mean grinch will noyt let us have any, I tell you. We are her slaves, doing her bidding all the time.”
Ant Bea paused for a bit to think.
“Yeah, and she never lets us have more than one crystal. She gobbles them all up, that fattie!” Bea made a face when he mentioned their Queen.
And so they both started stuffing as many sugar crystals their bags could hold. When it was full, they turned the other way but Ant Dee found something interesting. They were just examining the big, silver spoons when a human came in the kitchen. She grabbed a mug from the rack and poured herself a steaming mug of coffee. The phone rang and she ran off to answer it. The smell was liberating, Dee thought as he went to see the coffee. He climbed up the mug and peered down. An ocean of hot black sea blubbered beneath him. Bea also climbed up.
“Dee, let’s get down.” Bea said in a hurry, “The human will be here any minute!”
Bea spoke so soon. The girl walked in. Grabbing the mug, she knocked Bea and Dee into the coffee. Screaming, they started to flap their hands and legs in order to swim. As the girl brought the coffee to her lips, she noticed two ants in her coffee. She let out a shriek and drained the coffee in the sink. It was a difficult feat for Bea and Dee to not wash down the drain. They clung to the dirty, wet rag in desperation, holding on for dear life.
Somehow, they managed to get up and walking even though their legs were shaking.
“Oh God, Bea. That was horrible… Just horrible,” Dee exclaimed, shivering.
“We need to dry up or we will catch a cold,” Bea replied, looking around, “Look for a dry rag or something.”
They found a tea-cozy near a toaster. Dee ran towards it and Bea followed suit.
“Bea, look at this!” he exclaimed in delight, eyeing the toaster with an excited look in his eyes, “Whatever is this magnificent thing?”
“Dee, let’s just dry ourselves and get out of here,” Bea spoke firmly.
And so, the two ants dried themselves and when Bea turned to go, Dee was nowhere to be seen. Bea turned and found Dee climbing up the toaster.
“Look, Bea! I think this is a ride. Look!” Dee nearly squealed with joy, “We press this button here!”
“Dee, get out of there!” Bea said looking scared, “We don’t know what that thing is. C’mon, let’s go…”
“BEA! No, you come here,” Dee waved his hand, “Come on, it’s starting!”
Bea walked to the toaster and clambered inside. Dee pushed the button and sat beside Bea. They waited for a few seconds yet nothing happened. Soon, the air started getting hot.
“I think something is wrong, Dee,” Bea said, covered in sweat, “Why is this ride getting hot?”
Suddenly the ride felt as if it was on fire. Bea and Dee started jumping from one foot to another, yelping in pain.
“DEE, MY BUTT’S ON FIRE!” yelled Bea.
“Mr. Squiggly would like that!” Dee laughed.
Suddenly they were ejected out of the toaster and went flying.
“Look, I’M FLYING!” Dee screamed as they soared across the room and landed in the living room with a thud. Bea lay there for a moment or two, trying to catch his breath. His butts hurt. He rolled on his stomach and glared at Dee, who was laughing hysterically.
“That was AWESOME!” he jumped in excitement. “Bea, let’s do it again!”
“Are you crazy, Dee?” Bea got up and patted his sore backside.
“It was so much fun,” he said, “It is the best adventure we’ve ever had!”
Bea was suddenly speechless. Someone was crawling behind Dee. It wasn’t a human. It was a beast, Bea gasped. A dog was sniffing the floor and just as he spotted the two ants he started growling, showing his sharp, pointy teeth.
“Dee… Dee…” stuttered Bea.
“Behind you… RUN!”
The dog started barking and off he ran behind the two ants. Bea and Dee ran for cover and climbed inside the only safe place they could find: a hole in the wall. What they didn’t know was that it was an electric outlet. The dog, unable to lick them out, pressed his nose against the switch. It was on. The poor ants suffered an electric shock for the first time in their lives. They didn’t know what it was, poor them. The dog ran away as soon as he saw the sparks and heard the screams. Bea and Dee were almost fried. The hole was covered in black smoke. They dusted themselves and quietly climbed out.
Off they ran the way they came. They huffed and puffed but they dared not to stop. They reached the village gate and continued running and running. Marshal Squiggly was watching them from his tent. He could tell from the look in their eyes that their adventures had turned disastrous. He got out and walked towards them.
“So… Ant Bea and Ant Dee, have you two completed your mission?” he asked, his hands behind his back.
“Yes… Yes, Mr. Squiggly,” replied both, showing him the lumps of sugar they had taken.
“Well, well, well,” Marshal Squiggly smiled, “What a great job you’ve done. I think I think I will assign both of you this job, starting tomorrow. How does that sound?”
Ant Bea and Ant Dee looked at each other in horror. Today was a great day, tiring nonetheless. Marshal Squiggly laughed at the looks on their faces.
“Remember this, my two little hooligans,” he smiled, “Remember this day before you cause any troubles in my village.”
Ant Bea and Ant Dee quickly nodded. They didn’t want to go back. They didn’t like the Human World very much and had a feeling that they didn’t like them either. Mr. Squiggly smiled at the sight of his two troublemakers. Waving them away, he watched them walk over to the long queue of ants, holding their bags of sugar. Ah, his days were now trouble-free. He could breathe, without worrying about his backside, at last.