The old town was still inside the city. It's center was the courthouse. This was an
evenly formed from dark red bricks. Behind the courthouse, nestled and shaped in identical fashion only a little smaller, was the jail.
It was a short walk for the convicted. Across the street was the Wellington five
story apartment building. Inside the building was a resident named Mr. R.R. Napoleon. He was a psychotherapist who loved his wife deeply. He kept her a smaller apartment one floor beneath his own.
The two had been divorced for one year. They had used the attorney right around
the corner. His office building was shaped very much like the Wellington. Both were made of tan bricks and each had two tall protruding structures on the ends of the front face. In the case of the Wellington these were decorative extension while in the case of the law office they functioned as chimneys.
Beside the law office was an old Methodist church. It was made of red brick
exactly like the courthouse and the jail. The town was now run by Norwegians and Swedes who had been in America for the last one hundred and twenty years or so, but at one time the official pace was set by early English Methodist settlers. The only things that were a bit chaotic in these blocks of old town were the giant oak tree that contained warring factions of red and blacks ants and the mind of one Mr. Indefinite Administrator Expatient. Mr. IAE, as his mailbox stated, lived as well in the Wellington building.
The therapists former wife enjoyed running marathons and traveling to women's
conventions across the globe. The therapist gladly paid for these expenses along with a new car, the apartment rent, and weekly dinners out. There was a good deal of drinking at the weekly dinners at the Mexican Village. The margaritas were only one dollar each. It was usually by the third drink that Mr. R.R. Napoleon would realize that his wife never did show up at these dinners. He told friends that they still occasionally slept in the same bed, but none believed him. She was after all ten years younger and from a religion that not many belonged to in this part of the country.
There were two certainties in this neighborhood. One was that the black ants,
much larger, usually had victory over the red. The other was the great dislike between Mr. R.R. Napoleon and Mr. Indefinite Administrator Expatient. The two existed with a common irony. Years before Mr. IAE had been a patient of Mr. Napoleon at the Waterloo Clinic for the Progressive, yet Disturbed. Currently Mr. IAE was Mr. Napoleon’s supervisor at the St. Helena Hospital for the Incurably Dogmatic.
It was not certain if the therapist's wife secretly had desire for Mr. IAE. One
thing that was happening was a mail war. For several months Mr. IAE was hiding Mr. R.R.N's mail and then replacing it in his box after a two week delay. Rumor had it that Mrs. Pent and Ms. House spied the therapist's wife viewing this theft of Mr. R.R. Napoleon's mail, but mention of any of this reached Mr. R.R.N's ear. It was assumed by Mr. IAE's memory that Mr. R.R.N recalled his issues of distress from those therapy sessions several years before. Mr. IAE would have liked to find the file that held held any and such information. His had broken into Mr. R.R.N's office and apartment on several occasions and had found none. Still the red and black ants raged on in warfare.
Rumor who lived in the basement in summer and on the top floor in winter had
been pondering of telling that he saw Mr. IAE slipping out of the therapist's apartment late at night. This never actually happened. That is the telling was not done.
Mr. R.R.N. had high productivity ratings at the Hospital. Patient's came back
over and over for his advise. His raises were based on such evidence and he had garnered many. Weak people could not get enough of Mr. Napoleon. If there was some facet of their lives they could not control then just his sheer presence intimidated them sufficiently with guilt and worthlessness to end the habit over time. Napoleon was thin and rigid and so gave the appearance of utter control. It was only Louise in old town who knew the difference.
She was the waitress at the Mexican Village each Wednesday night. She escorted
Napoleon to his private booth with beaded curtain where he proceeded to drink eight to twelve margaritas before pulling Louise into the booth where he made love to her, each Wednesday, and either gave or one hundred dollars before or after the sex - he never remembered which.
Mr. IAE also knew Louise. He had paid her five hundred dollars to install a video
camera in the private booth of the Mexican Village especially for Wednesday nights. IAE was saving the tapes for a possible new marriage by Napoleon in the future. If the therapist's wife were not off running and traveling and not showing up on Wednesday nights then the tapes might have been more valuable in the present time. It was not certain what the two rivals wanted from each other. It was not simply a case of having one leave the neighborhood or the office. It was deeper than that. A death would be required. The ants raged on. IAE snickered as he watched Napoleon sob out loud his former wife's name as he made love to young Louise of the Hundred Dollars. Once a month, upon request, she wore a wig of the former wife's hair color while visiting the beaded booth.
Napoleon was no student of history. He decided upon winter to launch his major
counter attack against IAE whose ancestry was rumored to be Russian. Indeed there was an old file of IAE's psychological issues that ended up in Mrs. Pent's mailbox. The stares in the hallway began immediately. IAE's paranoia increased satisfactorily to Napoleon's expectations.
The battle was for private laughter as much as anything else. IAE was in no
laughing mood. The turning of tenant suspicion assured him that Napoleon had revealed his records to the lifers in the building. It was a case of paranoid accuracy. The fact that they were living with someone who had been into that thing and that that person knew they knew was too much IAE's Russian blood - since he was the person who knew in the first place. He had been observing the ants for some time. They would come to use.
It was Wednesday evening. Napoleon sat in his booth alone. The projector was
well hid. As he finished his meal the wall on the far side of his booth lit up with the film of his and Louise's lovemaking. The added sub-title stated, "Your wife has viewed - she knows - but does not care". The combination of ten margaritas and the anticipation that he was supposed to be making love Louise by now instead of all this was too much for the man. He wanted to rush off somewhere, but his mind had no destination that serve a purpose.
Louise was no where to be seen. His wife was away. Then it stuck him - this was
the work of that bastard IAE and too Louise must have somehow been in on it. Perhaps the other tenants would know what the good doctor was up to during his Wednesday evenings. He wanted to flee far away. The horror was terrible. Then the pain began. The ants were crawling up his leg and across the video movie and in his food and he was being bitten violently and he had to run now - he ran out into the street and he screamed and maybe the police heard him and his neighbors did hear him and he ran further to get away, but the scream continued..