The midnight noodle tree brushed Angel, the ant, into the apartment window. With quick legs, he scurried on over to the bedspread where sweet Sandy slept and found home in her eardrum. He nestled up under a blanket of skin, untouchable by cotton swabs and pinky fingers alike.
When he felt hungry, he’d wait until nightfall and slip outside, and into her bellybutton. Sandy always had cracker crumbs and stale pomegranate juice jammed deep down in her navel. Before she awoke, Angel would be burrowed in her ear, scarfing down buffets and humming the noise that never stops.
Little did Sandy know, Angel became a bit too comfortable after weeks of sleep, feasts, and the warmest sheets that Earth could offer. He grew fat with scraps and often got stuck between canal walls (even after he threw up food in his room). Whenever he’d get bored, Angel crawled out of Sandy’s ear and up onto the windowsill, but of course only under the light of the moon. He waved his fellow species inside and said that The Angel Extravaganza awaited, just follow me.
By the earful, ants of all colors and shapes entered the room and crept lower and lower into Sandy’s auditorium. Each night they sang songs of luxury and smoked wax from glass shards that’d been shattered beside the bed, and picked up.
You see, Sandy wasn’t too much of a saint herself. She lived with her mother, whom just discovered eHarmony and went on dates each day, sleeping elsewhere. When she’d get back, the apartment would be a garbage truck of broken beer bottles, silver wigs and gold glitter from Sandy’s stripper friends (and co-workers), and cigarette burns branded into the carpet. Her mother hated the house in this condition and whenever she’d ask Sandy to clean it, she received a, “Fuck you!” and a snore that shook cupboards. Mariam, the mother, then logged onto the washing machine computer screen and sought the excitement of another balding airhead. She dressed in ballroom gowns and wore green eye shadow, storming out of the house in fury, only to return the next morning and repeat the process.
Sandy overslept, and she missed most of her 8:00 A.M. accounting classes. The alarm jingled for five minutes before she pressed snooze for another thirty. Three pillows lay away from her head and a Memory Foam mattress made her dreams a reality. She worked at a seafood joint and yelped, “Hand me the flour!” with slobber running off of her chin. The bedroom became a kitchen and toy men in aprons scrambled with salt instead.
However, this morning, Sandy shot out of bed with a pain so evil, her left ear felt aflame. On her way down, she sliced her foot on a sliver of glass but focused too intently on the ear. It seemed to be coming from the inside rather than any exterior wound. She bolted out of the door, screaming for her mother, but just missed her: a black Cadillac peeled rubber out front. She tried dumping water down the canal but no matter how deep the Aquafina went, it wasn’t deep enough.
She flew through her phone and found Dr. Lewis M.D. (a regular at work). Without wasting time, she slipped her sandals on and hit the steps, sprinting down the street in her cotton candy pajamas.
The doctor’s office was a mile away, and dear God did that mile seem eternal. Sandy limped and tripped over every crack in the sidewalk and once fell on her face. A dark skinned man with a “HOMELESS, PLEASE HELP” sign, and bifocals the size of his skull lifted her from the concrete and wiped the blood from her forehead with a handkerchief. He began asking if she needed assistance, although he wasn’t in much of a condition to do so, but onward Sandy ran.
Overlooking the parade of people in suits en route to courtrooms and cubicles, her eyes saw nothing but red. She imagined her ear being beaten by led pipes until pulp dripped onto her button up. The whistles for taxicabs and honks faded her vision to black before she made it to the door of the office. Wobbling like the winos begging for change, she stumbled four blocks further and collapsed underneath a viaduct in a puddle of piss.
The white light of the room woke her with fluttering eyelids and Dr. Lewis M.D. stood with a stethoscope pressed to her chest. She bounced her head left to right in panic before the doctor rubbed her shoulder more calmly than unconsciousness.
“Well, well… look who’s awake,” he said. “Lucky for you, a Good Samaritan carried you all the way to my office; righteous people are so hard to find these days. Now let’s take a look at that ear.”
A tad more mindful of the situation, Sandy allowed an otoscope inside of her ear canal and the doctor oooo’ed and ahhh’ed in understanding. He stepped back, looked her dead in the eyes, sighed, and said, “Okay, there seems to be a few ants living inside of your eardrum. Nothing a needle couldn’t cure.”
Before Sandy had time to react, the doctor went fishing with a metal stick that poked the most mysterious part of her skin, and on its way out, held ten ant bodies, dead as doomsday at the prick. The sight of the pismires made her faint in an instant.
As the old saying goes, there are two sides to every story. Angel sat in his bedroom that afternoon, drinking malt liquor with his friends when a giant steel train came and crushed all company. It broke his wall and reversed away, leaving legs and eyeballs splattered all over his floor. Fortunately for him, his seat lay in a corner, only a hair away from the havoc. Angel checked his six limbs and thorax to make sure that he was indeed safe then peered out into the next room.
A strange salmon colored balloon with black-purple vessels sat at the bottom of a garden, taking up most of the floor space. It resembled a maze, made from clay or some sort of gelatin. Golden tulips and sunflowers bloomed around the bulbous structure and a rotten wood stage stood to the left. Atop the stage, a pole-dancer in silver heels and a matching wig whirled under a shower of singles, thrown by front row druids, drooling in excitement. They fought for attention in white gowns and headdresses, flowing loosely alongside milky beards and fallen sweat. The woman, who looked oddly familiar, shook her hips over to the brook of bills and disappeared beyond the backstage curtain.
What appeared next nearly made Angel about-face and head back to bed. Four fully clothed women in business attire rolled out Apple monitors and sat for what seemed like hours, calculating the costs of napkins: twelve hundred and fifty-five times three, over and over until their eyes popped out, boringly so. Angel yawned and took a half step backward until each computer molded into a cutting board with fresh crab legs and butter blocks. The women on stage ripped off their costumes and exposed chef coats, cracking the seafood shells into edible arrangements.
Angel had never seen such succulent cuisine in his life, so he decided to descend the bone wall, stories down, and step foot on stage. The cooks and spectators scampered at the sight of an ant the size of themselves and left Angel alone with the smorgasbord of beauty…
Dear Dr. Lewis M.D. dumped a bucket of ice water on Sandy’s face and she popped up off the examination table and crawled out of the office on all fours. Before she hit the door, the same dark-skinned man with bifocals sat in the waiting room and raised an arm for attention.
“Hey! Are you okay? I…”
She acknowledged him none and made her way to the tree outside of her window. Sandy climbed with the haste of an insect, until she reached the top, whereupon she stuck her neck out, trying to tongue the most magnificent noodle, then stepped one leg too many on an unstable branch, and fell skull first onto the pavement.
Angel licked his lips and tucked a napkin into the crease of his neck no sooner than the ceiling opened and Sandy’s balloon popped, flooding the room completely. He swam in the red sea, sucking for air, before he flapped around, surrounded by grass and clean soil. Angel blinked and wiped his eyes, watching the sun watch him.
“Am I in heaven?” He asked himself.
Angel once again checked his body to make sure that he was safe, and then got eaten by an earthworm.
The sun winked.
Cody Lee graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a B.A. in Creative Writing: Nonfiction, and spends his free time kissing hibiscus flowers, and wondering why this biography even matters…