Dean Traylor is a freelance writer and teacher who writes about various subjects including education and creative writing.
“You’re suspended,” Terrence Moore’s dad uttered after he heard his son’s excuse for his latest foray into juvenile delinquency.
Speechless, Terrence pleaded with imploring eyes. Daddy wasn’t falling for it.
“You heard me,” he added. “If you’re going to play the fool and follow someone’s lead, then listen to me: go to your room. You’re suspended.”
“But everybody does it,” Terry whined.
“You mean ditching school and stealing 40 ouncers from the liquor store?” Dad snapped. “You want to go to jail because everybody else does it? I didn’t raise you to be a fool. Go to your room while I get a hold of the recruiter.”
Terrence knew when he was beat. He stomped off to his bedroom, and barricaded himself behind a door shrouded in images of his teenage pop star heroes. He threw himself onto his bed and cursed his father as he buried his face into the pillow.
“Not the recruiters. Not the recruiters!” he kept saying over and over.
He cursed at himself, as well. He had been warned of the consequences.
Ever since Terrance started junior high he had been running with the cool kids; kids who routinely got in trouble as well as raise the ire of his father. He warned him to stay away from them or face the real possibly of being enrolled in a military school.
They seemed to be marching, in a near perfect cadence on the side of the wall and onto the floor.
“You want to march to somebody’s tune?” His father often said. “Then you might as well to march to a military beat.”
Then, in the midst of self-pity, Terrence's attention turned toward a corner of his room. There, he saw ants following one another in nearly straight lines.
They seemed to be marching, in a near perfect cadence on the side of the wall and onto the floor. They were disciplined, Terrence thought, and they were following each other closely. He also noticed they had a destination; an ant trap his mother had placed in his room to rid the place of this infestation.
Terrence came to the horrible realization they were marching – in unison -- to their deaths.
Terrence sat up on his bed; the revelation that this event birthed hit him hard.
“That’s me.” He mumbled. "What a fool I've been."
He continued to watch the death march, head and shoulders slumped as tried to come to terms with the biggest mistake he made in his young life.
© 2017 Dean Traylor