(The picture I’m including is NOT of Three-Dots, but is disturbing nonetheless.)
Three-Dots are tiny ants. I don’t know their official name, but we call them Three-Dots because when you look at them, they are composed of three tiny dots in a row, with an almost microscopic pair of antennas at the top. Their middle section, the stomach, is almost invisible, it’s so small. Three-Dots are generally harmless, but from time to time they can leave a vicious mark. Their poison must be incredibly strong, because the welts they leave are altogether out of proportion to the size of their miniscule bodies.
This morning, I was cleaning up my room. I wanted to listen to some music, so I pulled out my IPod. Drew insisted that I buy a pair of “earbuds” for my travels, which are way better for listening to music than the crappy little headphones that come with an IPod. Earbuds fit deep into your ears, snug like earplugs. They block off outside sound, and make the music quality better in your ears. They’re pretty awesome.
So I pulled out my Ipod, and nestled my earbuds deep into my ears. I turned on the music. There was a weird crunching sound coming from my right ear, though. I thought it was the speakers and adjusted the volume. Crunch, crunch. Crunch, crunch, crunch. It was this deep twisting sound, like something was seriously off. Then it started in my left ear. Crunch, crunch.
I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t that be gross if it was ants?!” I was mildly amused for a moment, thinking about it. The crunching continued. I imagined smashed ants in my ears, and others, barely alive, pulling and twisting their way out. The images were disturbing.
Suddenly I pulled the earbuds out of my ears and threw them on the bed. The crunching stopped, but a ticklish feeling continued, and the tiny hairs in my ears stood on end. I swiveled my fingers into my ears, imagining tiny bodies being smashed, and then pulled my fingers out and looked at them. Nothing. I squinted down at the earbuds and jumped back. There ants on them, Three-Dots, and they were everywhere! They were crawling in and out of the folds of rubber, circling the outer shell, parading up and down the cords.
I shot a look at the countertop. Q-tips! I grabbed for one and swirled it in my ear, then pulled it out and looked at it quickly. Three-Dots. A few of them. I jabbed the fresh end into my other ear and pulled out a few more, two dead, one struggling. I spent the next few minutes frantically cleaning my ears, treading the fine line between pushing too deep with the cotton swab and pressing bodies further down my ear, and not digging deep enough, thus leaving Three-Dots to march around victoriously, stinging and biting whenever they saw fit.
After I was assured that my ears were clean, I set to work on the earbuds. They are complex little things, I discovered. Three-Dots kept coming out of the folds, and I would flick them away with a cotton swab. Just when I thought they were clean, another Three-Dot would climb out of a tiny hole at the base, and then another, and then another.
Thirty minutes later, I was sure the Three-Dots had been eradicated. I had meticulously cleaned out the earbuds, going over them once, twice, three times. I put them back in my ears and began cleaning. I was jamming out to Mazzy Star when I heard a crunch. My eyes widened. I pulled out the earbuds and threw them to the bed again. There were no Three-Dots to be seen, though. I grabbed another Q-tip and stuck it in my ear. When I pulled it out, a half-smashed Three-Dot was there, his legs wiggling in the air, struggling for life against the white cotton.