Saturday, April 20, 2013

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Termite Love Story

Lately I have been combing through the sort essays and short stories I wrote in graduate school. I don't know what to do with all of it. Much of the work is good, but I don't really know where to try and publish it. Therefore, I am planning to put together a collection of odds and ends. It will be half fiction and half non-fiction. Then I plan to self publish the collection. I see this as a way to better understand self-publication.
Anyway, below is something pulled from the vault. I originally wrote it for KMSU's Tales From the Poor House. I don't know if it was ever aired.

Termites, like bees, have queens. The king of the swarm, and only the king, is allowed to mate with the queen. In fact, the king and the queen are the only termites having sex out of thousands of hard working and well deserving termites who are charming and well read, with great listening skills and comforting skills. Many are patent and generous and willing to sit through every season of Gillmor Girls and Jersey Shore without complaint as long as the queen is comfortable.
These other termites may even have talents far beyond the king, but the fact remains that there can only be one king, and he is allowed to have sex with the queen whenever he wants, and wherever he wants. The thought of sex being a two way street has probably never, not even once, crossed his big fat head, because he is the king. He has better things to think about like football and golf and how many beers he can chug and still drive back to the hive without swerving into the other lane. He probably even thinks about other, sexier queens, with straighter antennas and larger thoraxes that are willing to do those things the queen wont, like bring him wood chips in bed and put chap stick on his pincers when they are dry and sore. Chances are the king doesn’t even appreciate the queen. Most likely he’s in it only for the sex and not those moments when nothing is said between lovers but eye contact and a subtle but overwhelming flutter of the heart.
We termites chomp though the foundations of homes and the trusses of sheds. We work hard, and when our labors are finished, we like to think about the queen. The way her fore legs scratch the ground when she is nervous. Her large candy shell eyes. The arc of her thorax. The child like way her left antenna falls back, ever so slightly, when she gets excited. We think of her giggle and wonder if the king cares enough to know about her love for alder and her hatred for pine. Her fear of ants and how she longs to move from the hive behind the Quick Trip to some exotic location, perhaps tropical, where it rains in the mornings and is cool in the afternoon, and there are many delectable trees and mouth-watering underbrush, and the fear of extermination by toxic gas is not so pervasive.
Perhaps some day the queen will see the king for who he is: a sex driven egotistical ass clown. She will then look down on the workers busily combining soil, mud, chewed wood, saliva, and feces into the elaborate hive that she calls home to find a termite that understands her needs.