From there on out it's a numbers game. You know, as in safety in. Don't ask me why life is this way. If it were up to me I'd work my way into a comfortable crevice and count the grains of dust sliding by. Live on crumbs that come my way. Kind of like an 8-legged doom walker -- just sitting in his web, not a care, waiting for his lunch to wake him up. I envy those guys. They mostly leave us alone. They're okay by me. No, for us it's your mother turns on you and you must become part of a crew. Why? Because you can only be a victum so long.
What I mean is it is very unfun to be stealthily followed by a cadre of larger, fiercer, but suprisingly quiet, adolescent roaches calling themselves The Tip-Toers, who, after you have led them to a forgotten Dorito you located atop the immense four-post sleeping module, suddenly appear from nowhere and surround you, make fun of the way you talk, call you an ant, then "hang-glide" away with your weeks worth of grocery. It is very unpleasant to wake up on the surface of water in the Great Concavity and look up to find six unfamiliar faces laughing at you from the brim, yelling "Morsel Hunters bitch!" before leaving you to hastily make your escape before one of the Providers has to shit. It's enough to make one angry. More than angry, make one hurtful. There is a hot leaking feeling that builds in your thorax, and since you have no way to produce "tears" your eyes just burn and burn.
So you kill. Kill things smaller than yourself. For me that means ants and little else. They're a menace anyhow. And so cocky they are. When they're 50 or 60 deep, systematically dismantlying an entire chicken leg in the Meal Room and you run across them they want to pick a fight, but get 3 or 4 of them alone and it's "No, please, please! It wasn't us that stole the peanut brittle from your crevice we swear!" Then you say but I saw you, it looked just like you; and then they drop their "But we are all identical!" line, which does them no good because it's true they all do look identical so how would I know if this particular ant was lying to me or not. It's all moot anyway. They're dead no matter what. Good riddance. One less to worry about. When you kill an ant he deflates and wrinkles up like a tiny prune. I suck the juices from their heads and drag their bodies back to me crevice, line them against the wall, and stare with satisfaction.
Single-handedly kill half an ant colony and you become some kind of a celebrity. Roaches start telling stories about you. Hatchlings see you and exalt your name. Even the Providers take notice, but of course they end up giving the spiders all the credit. Those lazy freaking spiders, 8-legged doom walkers. I'm out here taking care of our mutual ant problem and the Providers start laying off the spiders and continuing to stomp us roaches. Eddie from Frequent Flyers is murdered with a foot-helmet during the male Provider's "day off". Daniella from 5-Legged Females is washed down the Food-Liquifier while attempting to gather droplets for hatchlings.
This must not continue.
Since achieving notoriety I have everyone's "ear". I say: Roaches, we must band together. I say the spiders will multiply. Because they will. They are protected. A protected species. I say the spiders will begin to pose a threat. Because they will. At least I'm afraid they will. Others are afraid too. I go from being alone and angry to being un-alone and somewhat scared. Something must be done.
"Killing ants is one thing," an elder named Carlos from Wall Walkers says. "But spiders, that's a whole other bag of toothpicks."
"What's a toothpick?" says a female named Fern.
"It's those pointy silver things that Providers use to eat with," says Marco from Morsel Hunters.
"Yes," says Carlos. "That is exactly what a toothpick is. We mustn't give in to this kind of paranoia. The Ant Killer... "
"Rodney," I say. "My name is Rodney. Please do not speak of me as though I am not standing right next to you."
"Mr. Rodney here," Carlos gestures, "is very young. He knows not what he is saying. Let us speak with these spiders and find out their intentions. They have always been equitable with us. Let's not jump the gun."
"What's a gun?" asks Fern.