Since the beginning of time man has upheld himself above comparative others not necessarily because of any particular importance, but because a sense of a superiority among men in the pettiness and ambiguity of reality. Such relationships have been the hallmark of man, encompassing arrogance and an inevitable end. Man only denies this because he sub-consciously knows it is true, as did Michael Finley.
Michael Finley slouched in his personally favorite seat – a traditional, modest red leather chair riveted by aged brass buttons – and studied the ant colony encased in perfectly transparent glass, resting on an awkward, once neglected and still little cared for wooden table. The item was a novelty that his daughter had begged for and soon left it to the decaying sense of memory.
Finley, a revered father and a prestigious landowner in his town, had now taken interest in the concept of the ants, a consistent laboring force; an efficient faceless army. The man currently stirred.
"Mathews," he beckoned easily, casting his vision forever over the colony.
"Why did my daughter want such a gift?"
The servant, an old withering but loyal man, simply replied, "It was her wish, perhaps on whim, perhaps on temporary desire, and I felt I needed to provide for her. No matter her feelings, I believe she shall rediscover it at some later point, sir."
Finley nodded in agreement while taking a sip of warm tea. He attributed a comment to himself then, proclaiming, "I must not allow for her to embark on these wasteful indulgencies. How impractical…"
The servant, still at attention, leaned forward in response. "Excuse me, sir?"
Finley continued, addressing his servant now. "I said how impractical: why purchase a sightsee, an artifact rendered obsolete by the television and the moving screen? This shall of course join her collection of unused toys and playthings. Again, wasteful."
Noting his frustration, the servant politely tried to allay such negative sentiment by conveying the following: "I'm sure it shall serve some purpose, sir, even if you do not see it. I believe the ant society to be quite amazing actually, functioning on such a high level of organization that -"
"Enough, Matthews. I'm sure of the inability of this colony to serve any purpose in this household. Amusement and entertainment are nonexistent when no one is there to marvel at such things. As my daughter should have known, this, this…"
The telephone rang. Matthews took leave to attend to the purring call. He was devoid of any expression, utterly stolid and unquestionable concerning the remarks made to him.
When he returned, he found his Master scowling at the colony.
"Sir, that was an occupant of a particular estate. He says we see him immediately."
Slightly shifting his head, Finley inquired: "Business then?"
"Yes sir, immediate business."
Staring at the colony, Finely stood and fully turned to his servant. "This sight is one too irritating to bear; it is a stain to these settings and the whole homely atmosphere. Understand me when I say that you should leave it standing for several days to ensure that it is of no more importance to my daughter. In the meanwhile, don't feed that colony, but let it rot as it is of no use."
Michael Finley's daughter was hugging his legs, smiling at her loved father.
"Hello honey. Daddy and Matthew have to do some business, but your mother is upstairs if you need anything. Alright?"
Finely took leave, kissing his daughter goodbye.
Upon arrival, the pair of men was greeted at their house with dissent.
"Michael, how did these ants get all over the house? They're eating the food, spoiling the furniture and ruining my hair!"
Finely brushed aside his upset wife and briskly trudged to the living room. As he neared the corner of the living room, the forgotten glass case stood only at the base, shattered entirely along the top portion. On the floor lay a hammer.
And thus Finely saw the ants scurry across his Oriental rug, his famed throne, up the walls and around his feet. He saw his daughter standing in the entry to the living room, carefree and smiling, just as before. The prestigious man, feeling defied, strode up to his daughter with the onus of his own irritation.
"Did you do this? Why did you break the glass?" He pointed toward the demolished piece, indeed now forgotten.
"I wanted them to be free."