There was a line of ants on the stove, climbing over rubble of scrambled egg, and she smelled like a woman who had not taken a shower yet. It was almost noon. She woke me for the goddamn tortillas, aluminum foil on her head as if she were searching for alien life. No plan—it was just a fiesta for the baby hormigas eating huevos Mexicanos.
Oh yeah, we live in Mexico. There are no decapitated heads in the streets; not yet anyway. The aroma of a woman’s hair in the morning is the polar opposite to that of a freshly shampooed paradise. She’s pregnant and ant society is one with division of labor: they carry cold eggs, gripping the pepper kernels like an inverted rock climber hanging onto the ledge while their superiors feast. Possessed by hunger, these streaks of life dancing the mariachi on my burners, tiptoeing, some survive; others lose limbs in the corners of the circular orange they orbit like the sun.
My daughter was crying in the other room. Tourists were in the ocean, old couples were making love beneath palm fronds; but I was cleaning the insects and their intestines from the reckless mess we created; the streaks of painted organs across the greedy surface of sacrifice. She does not know how to give a blow job. Not a real one anyway. I would prostitute myself for a good price, sell my hand to the abyss of degenerates and inhale the debauchery in hairy nostrils. The razor broke in my fingers. The blood of my pinky caught behind the stove, and the ants climb atop as if it were a magic carpet. The waxing moon makes love to the horizon. A star is dying and something inside of me says: pick up that goddamn knife and cut the appendage. Not the carving weapon, but the one used to cut bread and steak.
The ants march toward the frijoles, swim atop the surface of rotting guacamole like Jesus walking on water. The crucifix falls to the floor above the sink. They begin to nibble on the soft fleshy tissue between my fingers. It feels good, like cutting myself; only more manly and less comforting. The workers are carrying their eggs behind the stove.
“Son of a bitch,” I said.
The bastards were licking the salt, red peppers, tomatoes, onions. Their numbers increasing, I dreamt of being free; picking up the steak knife, taking aim at the problem. Everything turned black. When I woke the ants had made their way up my body, into my eyes, nostrils, lodged in my ears and eyelashes. My orifices an orgiastic mariachi, they find the stinky debauchery of a man in a foreign country, there is nothing left to say. I grab the carving knife.
Like the nomadic Pericú natives before him, Matthew Dexter survives on a hunter-gatherer subsistence diet of shrimp tacos, smoked marlin, cold beer, and warm sunshine. He lives in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.