I leave the house for a couple of months, and upon my return find that a gang of ants and a gang of cockroaches have been having turf wars in my home. I don’t actually see any ants or cockroaches there, but I can tell by those little tiny colorful bandanas they have left behind.




for Takako Arai

I am looking for my friend who promised to meet me on this street at a time that’s right about now, except we failed to specify exactly at which part of the block we would meet, and even then it should not be a problem because I know exactly what my friend looks like and I am not seeing her at all anywhere on the block. I ask around, to the local shopkeepers, but they haven’t seen her either and I look around some more and I still don’t see her but fortunately we are in Japan and everyone has cell phones and right then she calls and says to look behind me, and I do and I still don’t see her, and she says look down, and I do and I still can’t find her, and she says she is under that pile of swarming ladybugs right there and I am horrified but she says she is having a good time and that I should come and join her and I walk away and that was the sad end of our friendship.



No Collective

for Yu Nakai

Believing themselves to be quite progressive for their species, a group of ants get together and decide to form a collective. They gather the necessary documentation, fill out all the proper information in the correct little boxes, get photos taken in appropriate size and dimension and angle, and step precisely through every single hoop required of them to become an officially recognized collective.

Their application is denied, however, on the grounds that ants are an inherently collective species, and this designation would be redundant and downright unnecessary.

One ant is so upset by this verdict that it begins to cry, thereby forging a breach in the collective emotional unity of the group. This very breach, however, makes the officer falter, reconsider for a brief moment, entertaining the possibility of a radical change of heart, but this very possibility of a change in the officer’s heart makes the ant’s tears dry up, which lands them all back at their original, inherently collective state, and that’s the end of that story.



Sufficient Gravity 1

What people don’t pay much attention to is the fact that during the summer, and all the seasons, for that matter, there are an infinite number of festivities and contests that take place throughout the land over, but for today’s installment we’re going to be featuring summer at coney island, live from under our feet.

A large number of ants.
And one human.

The ants are divided by class, which is measured by their total volume. This is tabulated by the displacement method, with a small measuring cup half-filled with water. Some ants never make their way out of the cup, and that is one way of weeding out the contestants.

In the name of fairness, the ants are allowed only to compete against other ants of the same class.

One class at a time, the ants line up, with sufficient room on every side. At the sound of the whistle, each ant releases as much personal gravity as is antly possible, at the same time that a person blows, as hard as is humanly possible, right over the line of ants. The last single ant who remains, while all the others have blown away, is the winner.

At the end of the day, there is a complicated algorithm that determines which ant from which class is the true winner of the entire contest, and often, it just so happens to be that the winner is an unsuspecting ant from the main isle of Japan, as it also happens to be that the only witnesses to the whole event are the delicate flowers, who look on with bemusement at the thought.



Sufficient Gravity 2

from Susumu Kihara

A place where ants, small ants, can go to have fun; some refer to this as the New Kindergarten for Small Ants. The main attraction is an ant-sized slide, where ants can slide down one by one. The neat thing about this slide is that it is set at the exact pitch of the sound made by an ant as it slides down, and so as the ant goes down the slide, making a sound that increases at inverse proportions to the intensity of sound made by the slide, at the exact point which corresponds to the half-life of the decay of the sound of the slide, the ant feels a little pop. Now this moment of pleasure is available only to those ants of the correct ant-weight – not too light and not too heavy – and this, ladies and gentlemen of all shapes and sizes, is at the root of many of our contemporary social ailments.

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