Sufficient Gravity 3 (The Surface Tension Challenge)

Things have evolved as far as this. Once every summer in a nondescript beach town in Southern California, a contest is held. On a smooth, very smooth surface, a puddle, very large puddle is formed. Local ants are invited to the puddle, all with the understanding that the ant who breaks the surface tension, and thus the puddle, shall be the winner of a brand new Chrysler Crossfire Limited. The task looks easy enough that it lures a few ants to jump on first, not realizing the inadequacy of their body mass until it is too late. More ants then pile on quickly, so that the judges are forced to keep a sharp lookout in order to correctly identify the ant that breaks the water surface. When the mass of ants atop the puddle starts approaching critical mass, the ants grow restless and the whole puddle quivers.

It turns out that the puddle attracts quite a bit of attention, and ants, whole colonies of ambitious ants and poor ants and lonely ants with nothing to do, seeking a little friendly jostling, hopeful ants and soon even the random passerby ants with no ambition whatsoever have joined in on the action, having been lured in by all the ongoing excitement. It is just this kind of unambitious ant who finally ends, by winning, this mad contest of jostling ant matter, and is presented with the car. At which point the ants are now returned to their senses, reminded that this game was a human invention after all, the car a human-scale car.

The winning ant is now faced with the Herculean task of gathering enough fellow ants to band together and form a massive huddle, a complex collective large enough with which to operate the car. A pair of ants nearby loiter around the butt of a not-quite extinguished cigarette, taking turns inhaling, and exhaling statements about how overrated winning is.

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