The girl enters the far basement room, suited-up in long pants, long sleeves. Armed with the spray. The pre-pubescent knows what to do. Spray. Tonight between grace and Dad saying his day at work was fine and passing round the beans and fried potatoes Mom will surely speak of how Emma bravely stood her ground in the fruit cellar against the carpenter ants.
The girl shakes the can, points the nozzle at the wall at the marching ants, then aims it into the corners and crevices below which heaplets of sawdust pile. The ants’ vertical grip on the wall loosens. Antian cascades plummet. She likes how the ants tumble off the wall, arching out like tiny Olympian divers. If a man were to fall from a height twenty times his height, he would surely die, but the ants seem to be composed of other stuff–stuff designed for falling. When they drop to the floor she is not always certain they have died. She sprays until their movement slows and stills. She wonders only briefly she hasn’t been instructed to crush the ants with her shoes instead. Maybe because spraying them is cleaner and more scientific.