May 3rd, 2017
I was at the dentist, fantasizing about my ant problem, also possibly on a stronger-than-usual anesthetic, when I finally came up with a solution for the pavement ant infestation. The kids and I had been talking about Eragon or one of the other books in the Inheritance Cycle by my good pal Christopher Paolini, and realized he could probably help me. So I called him:
Me: “Hello . . .Chris?”
“This is Ben.”
Me: “Your friend, Ben Hewett. Soon-to-be-famous author.”
CP: “Uh . . . how did you get this number?”
Me: “Your agent. Listen, I just need a little help. Shouldn’t take long.”
CP: “Er. . . okay. Anything to give a fellow author a boost, I guess.”
Me: “Actually, the writing’s going fine, thanks. I just need help killing ants.”
CP: “Wait. . .Who is this?”
Me: “Ben Hewett. And it’s not unrelated. It’s hard to write when the ants go marching across your fingertips. While you’re typing.”
CP: “Listen man, you’re a writer. Write a letter to your HOA. They’re responsible for animals that enter your home from the exterior.
Me: “Um. Yeah. How’d that HOA letter thingy work for Thorin Oakenshield?”
CP: “More like, ‘How did it work for Smaug…’ ”
Me: “Of course you’d side with Smaug.”
[Even more awkward silence.]
Me: “Listen, Chris. What I really need—besides your endorsement on my next book—is for you to send Eragon over to my house real quick. He can just sort of… you know… do that thing he did in Eldest. It seemed like a pretty weak plot device at the time, but this idea of sucking the life-force straight outta the entire ant colony has really grown on me in the last few weeks.
CP: “Eragon isn’t like that anymore. He carefully considers the impact of each action and . . .”
Me: “This is sort of important. The pavement ants are recolonizing faster than my neighbors and I can poison them. Faster than Galbatorix learning new, obscure languages, actually. Your guy wouldn’t even have to kill that many. Just like. . . eight ant queens. And anyways, My neighborhood would be more grateful to him than the whole continent of Alagaësia. Remember how much crap he got just for blessing that poor purple girl? Come to think of it, pest control’s a great fallback position for him. It’s safe, fun, and he could definitely minimize the environmental impacts of pesticides like Termidore and Anthrax.”
Me: “Um, hello? Chris?”
See what I mean?
Nobody wants to help.