I Am Not Safe.

From the summer of 1991 to the fall of 1995, I slung ice cream and made Dilly Bars for the fine folks in the surrounding vicinity of the Rutherford, New Jersey, Dairy Queen.  I met many a character in my seasons there, but none were as disturbing as Ant Man.

Ant Man.  His name alone strikes fear in my heart.  It’s important that I point out here that other than occasionally serving the man ice cream, I never had any real interactions with him.  He never said or did anything to imply anything was amiss or that I should be alarmed in any way.  His head was simply too small for his body.

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Notice how skinny the body of the ant is in relation to the size of its head.  Ant Man was the opposite, thus making his moniker somewhat perplexing.  Just the same, the man creeped me out with his too-small head and I maintain that he reminded me of an ant.  He also reminded me the Shrunken Head Guy from Beetlejuice, but honestly, that’s just a mouthful. 
So it was that wherever I went around town, Ant Man was driving along in his 1970s-esque pale blue car.  Mostly I saw him driving down the main road where the DQ was located and mostly I saw him around rush hour when he was likely to be driving home from work or something of that nature.  Nonetheless, I became convinced he was out to get me.  In all the years I lived in that area, I saw him probably hundreds of times.  Possibly all but 3 of them were while I was at the DQ.  
Surely you can see why I was unnerved. I mean, his head was tiny.  And he drove down the street where I worked!
Every time something went wrong, I conjured up an elaborate story for how Ant Man was to blame.  If he appeared at my DQ window, I would make up a task requiring completion in the back and force one of the newer workers deal with him.  I always warned them though.
“Don’t trust Ant Man.  I mean, just LOOK at that head of his!”
They looked at me like I was crazy.  He seemed perfectly harmless to everyone, but of course he would.  He wasn’t following everyone else around.  He was following me. 
Eventually I stopped seeing Ant Man.  He may have passed away, though with his exceptionally small head it was impossible to tell how old he may have been.  Perhaps when I quit the DQ he got thrown off and couldn’t find me.  Perhaps he only followed me around when I was in his hometown.  I really don’t know.  But I was relieved, that much I can tell you.
Relieved, that is, until just a few weeks ago.  As I was out for a fitness walk a mere 5 miles from the ol’ DQ, a familiar looking pale blue old car drove by.  I didn’t get a good look at the driver, but his hair was dark and his head did not look all that regular-sized. Worried, I sped up to get home.  I didn’t tell anyone who knew me back in the day about this because I didn’t want to scare them.

I can remain silent no more.

A week or two later, as I was out for a walk during my lunch break at work, all sorts of troubles befell me.  There were many, many bees hovering in the flowers that perfectly lined my path.  There was a squirrel fight.  A scary pit bull growled at me.  A rock fell from the sky and landed straight on my head.  Sure, it was only about an inch in diameter, but had it hit in just the right place, the results could have been disastrous. 
Also, since then, the sidewalks on my route seem to be getting more and more uneven causing me to trip and nearly fall every single day.  
This is no coincidence.  This is a calculated assault perpetrated by none other than, I suspect, Ant Man. Everything was fine until I saw someone who sort of maybe looked like some guy with a small head who I used to see many years ago.  
You can’t convince me that I’m safe.  I know he’s out there.  I just know it.

I’m linking up with some wonderful writers again this week.  Please stop by and read their hard work.  If you’ve got a great story to tell, we’d love to have you join us.

35 Responses to “I Am Not Safe.”

  1. cynk says:

    So, how long does the Ant Man effect last? While he is obviously evil, it is nice to have someone to blame for any misfortunes that may befall you.
    Thanks for making me smile.

  2. well of course i can see why you were unnerved! his head was tiny!!! i’ve heard tiny headed men driving pale blue cars have been spotted wreaking havoc all over nj! beware. so amused.

  3. Cindy says:

    I loved that damn DQ in Rutherford. About the only thing off of Route 3 that I miss. Ant Man needs a logo, and t-shirts.

    • Wow – you know the DQ? I won’t tell you what went on in there so you can keep your memories.

      Route 3 is an awful place. That whole area is a mess for years now because they’re widening it. Pretty much all of my growing up took place in that area. And nothing has changed much except the construction.

  4. Angela Ryan says:

    I am just copying and pasting this first part. Sorry … I promise you will only have to endure it once. I’m Angela — new to blogging and new to yeah write. But, not new to writing. Until becoming unemployed this June (effin’ Scott Walker … oops!), I taught high school English and Creative Writing was one of those courses. So, long story short: I will always have lots to say. Feel free to curse at me if you don’t want to hear all my feedback. If you want more, let me know that too. I will glady offer even further feedback, but I’m not interested in pissing anyone off my first time on the grid. Now, on to your post …
    This was really entertaining and relatable. I worked at a DQ once too, and also had random nicknames for most of the customers. I loved how you point out the perplexity of his name too; I would not have otherwise actually considered that. Thank God I had no Ant Man, at my DQ though, because my sidewalks don’t need to become more uneven and I don’t welcome rocks falling on my head. I think I will probably recall this post every time that I see a pale blue car in the future. Thanks for that.

    • HI Angela! Always glad to meet new bloggers!

      You definitely want to watch out for Ant Men (oh no, what if there really IS a whole colony?!).

      Thanks for leaving a great comment. Feel free to say whatever you want in the comments. I always welcome constructive criticism. That’s how we get better, right?

  5. It doesn’t suck! This was so fun to read, I kept laughing. It would be spooky to see someone creepy over and over, even if he was a really nice guy just suffering from a pinhead affliction!

    • Thank you Stacie. I really do have a hard time trying to be funny. I suspect it is that trying part that’s always getting me down!

      I’m sure he was lovely, had a family and has no idea I’ve been talking about him for half my life. He would probably be so surprised to learn he was a local legend!

  6. Girl, you had me at Dilly bar! I love it. This style of writing, that is light and funny, sounds like your voice. I liked it alot. I kept trying to picture this Ant Man, and it didn’t seem scary as much as hilarious. Now I wanna see him. If you find him, snap a photo and do a follow up post.

    • Dilly Bars. Do you *know* how hard it is to get them looking perfectly dilly bar-like? Ugh. Then they slide off the freezing tray, you catch them but you ruined the shape and your boss takes a cream count every night so she knows if you’re messing them up…

      Curious when you say it sounds like my voice – and I agree, this is my more lighthearted voice – do you think my other “serious” writing doesn’t sound like me? Or is this a different me?

      It was supposed to be funny, so I’m glad you thought it was!

  7. IASoupMama says:

    I love it! And clearly Ant Man is evil incarnate. And he leaves chaos in his wake… you have been lucky to make it so long. If I prayed, I would move you to the top of my prayer chain. Best of luck to you…

  8. This was so much fun to read. Like Christie said it sounds like your voice, and that was a refreshing change!

    • Thanks Dawn. I’m going to pose the same question to you that I posed to Christie. Do you think my other writing sounds inauthentic? This is definitely my sillier side, but it comes out more spontaneously. When I try to be funny, I feel like you can tell I’m trying. So while I talk like this (or tweet or facebook this way), I rarely plan to write like this because it feels forced. But maybe the other posts read forced… I’m curious about your comment!

  9. Joe says:

    Now I keep scratching my legs because I can’t stop thinking about ants.

  10. Haha, this is hilarious. I’m glad you were able to find a story to write about!

  11. Michelle, this is so funny and good. I think I will try to find a stranger on whom I can place all the un-placed blame in my life, and I have lots! Be careful out there!

  12. Kathleen says:

    I think Ant Man needs a theme song. How about “Ant Music” by Adam and the Ants? Seems appropriate.

    This was hilarious, Michelle. Loved it!

  13. christina says:

    :) cute. :)
    i like your voice here, too; however, i really do like your more serious pieces better… there’s a way to your voice in your more serious pieces where i really feel a connection to the narrater. not sure if that makes ANY sense as i’m on cold meds so feel free to ignore.

    • It makes perfect sense and I appreciate the feedback. I feel like the lighter pieces don’t score as well at Yeah Write, which is fine, but I don’t know exactly why. Maybe I just need more practice with them.

      But I do love feedback either way!!

  14. Ugh, tiny heads are so creepy. I hope this story was as fun for you to write as it was for me to read. I definitely kept laughing out loud. I think it is entirely appropriate that you blame him for things like rocks falling from the sky, and tripping and falling on the sidewalks. As a matter of fact, I think I need an ant man of my own :)

    • Don’t wish an Ant Man on yourself!!! NO!!

      I’m glad I made you laugh. That was the point. Even though it *sounded* ridiculous, I’m totally serious :)

      Sometimes I feel like my sarcasm doesn’t translate well to the written word!

  15. two things: the Shrunken Head man from Beetlejuice. I died. :) And the only thing I can envision now is that Orkin commercial with the creepy ant driving around the neighborhood in an old car! Creeper McCreeperson! Creepy tale, told well. :)

  16. I will have nightmares. How do we know it’s really you and not Ant Man taking over? Hmmmm…I’ll search for an Ant Man antidote and email you directly (in case Ant Man is possessing you through this blog). Love it!

  17. Jester Queen says:

    I’m not as comfortable with this as I might be. I think I want him to do something besides be different, something he can’t control, to make the narrator fear him. I kind of feel more sympathy for ant man than the narrator as the story currently stands. I did love the description of working at DQ slinging the dilly bars! I could absolutely identify with that character.

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