Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Iguana Fest

I have tracked my path to my nest site: the location good, the soil moist, the river clear and swift-flowing. My excavations are almost complete. The eggs weigh heavy; it is time.

My tail is caught, I am hauled from my tunnel. There is strength; too strong for my writhing and flipping. My bite fails to connect, my thrashings ineffective.

Then, the pain is excruciating. My being centres on the blinding flash of agony in my claws. My limbs are drawn behind, shoulders burning. The pain returns ten-fold, a pin-like digging to my back. Just as I know it can go on no longer, the agony doubles, my hind claws scream, my shoulders burn, the prickling to the back once more. I am immobile. Every twitch causes fire throughout my body. My eggs! The urge to expel is overwhelming, but I am unable to push them from my body. I feel a tightness around my midsection, a band preventing breath or contraction. My mind dims, unable to comprehend what is happening.

I wake. Try to move. The agony returns, the tightness remains, my eggs press hard in my belly. There is now pressure from above; a weight on top not there before. There are human noises around me – a signal to danger, but I cannot run, cannot move, my limbs secured. I hear noises of my own kind; soft sounds of constricted agony. I twist my head as much as the pressure and pain will allow and there I see the awfulness of what is. I now understand the pain, the agony, the burning, the pressure, the futility of hope. Piles of bodies – my own kind, females, heavy with eggs, stacked like logs on the cement floor. Their limbs secured behind, the claws snapped from their feet, ligaments stretched to the limit and tied into knots – unbreakable bonds of their own flesh and sinew. A final insult - the useless claw dug into the leathery skin of the back as if agonies inflicted were insufficient. The bellies of the captives bulge with eggs that strain for escape against cords and bindings. Eyes wide with pain and despair, I know as I gaze upon these eyes it is as if I gaze at my own reflection in the clear pools of the river eddies.

Those eyes I watch blaze with hurt as her body moves, a blade flashes, the binding around the abdomen severs, eggs expelled in a flush of relief. Relief turns to agony, the final glint of a blade at her neck. I see blood, fear, pain and finally acceptance of death.

I watch purpose for life crushed as eggs are consumed; I watch hope for life diminish and fail in the eyes of my neighbour; I see disregard for sense in the face of my captor; I see futility in my own life and despair at its end.

And then I feel no more.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Those Ants Again

Alarms sounded early this morning as waves of red solider ants attacked at Rock Farm.

At first light, the stealth attack went largely unnoticed: reconnaissance units were spotted around known food sources, but nothing unusual to cause alarm. Shortly after dawn, the attack began: and the wave of assault was overwhelming, reaching unprecedented levels before counter-measures could be employed. Food bowls throughout the region were rapidly overwhelmed.

Realising the full scale of the invasion, the coalition of Pump-Action Spray Bottle and cypermethrin were enlisted to combat the intense attacks. Lacking trained personnel and multiple-pump re-enforcements, the officers were unable to execute the proven ‘pincer movement’ resorting instead to the shock-and-awe wave of watering-can attack on the infiltrators. The initial Red Army attack was concentrated on the training facility, but it rapidly became clear that the focus of the invasion was on the First Airborne Flock in their final stages of flight conditioning in Aviary One. Eye witnesses report that it was ‘lucky’ that the trainees were skilled in flight-mode, as ground troops would have been unable to escape the viciousness of the attack.

A few moments into the battle, alarms calls were sounded from the perimeter. Preliminary reconnaissance reported that intense waves of incursion fighters had taken over strategic ration points around the outlying medical and quarantine facilities. Once again lacking trained support personnel, the coalition were forced to refuel and enter enemy territory without back-up. The Vice-Presidential feet suffered sustained attacks, and one or two Muscovy ground troops were caught in the cross-fire.

Sources close to the Presidential Staff admit that this attack had been expected for some time now: in the absence of President Jerry the sporadic preventative measures of covering fire had been abandoned in favour of a softly-softly approach. Vice-President Nikki admits that the Red Army is beyond negotiation, and reprisals must be swift and effective. This evening she was heard to comment that no black mound will go un-punished from now on.

Experts blame the latest wave of attacks on the recent heavy rains: “The Red Army rely on underground food stores” explained Morito Fushiyamo, head of the Fire Ant Research Team. “After heavy rains such as these, food becomes waterlogged and rapidly mildews, forcing the troops to turn to alternate food sources”

It is not clear whether the recent attack on Rock Farm was coordinated to take advantage of the readily available food source, or was an opportunist raid as it had become widely known that President Jerry was out of the country on a fact-finding mission.

Feathered locals grudgingly admitted that they were ‘happy’ that Vice President Nikki was in charge of operations as President Jerry was considered to be ‘over-zealous’ with his attack strategy, although many liked the ‘harmonious state’ that existed when the two of them were in power together.

But there is a sinister side to these red invaders. The recent trend in Fire-Ant-Eating amongst young geckos have resulted in a spate of deaths, causing consternation amongst Gecko Parents. Dried Fire-Ants have become a delicacy at Gecko Parties and some young geckos have died painful deaths as a result of ovedosing on fire-ants. The Ministry of Gecko Health has launched a national campaign entitled 'Don't Do Bugs' in an effort to prevent young geckos from attempting 'ant-sucking'. Grafic posters depicting the death throes of geckos are on display at known ant-suck venues in the hope that the teenage lizards will steer clear of the sport.

Finally, Rock Farm have issued an ultimatum to The Termite King, explaining that reprisals will be ‘swift and severe’ if they kill any more of the lime trees on the property.

Back to the studio.