The Battle of Mrs Robinson’s Table
As an ambitious academic I discovered that nobody had done any work on the famous ant
war of 2020. Moreover, I was thrilled to discover an ancient manuscript, written by Globus, a
ant who was an eyewitness to the event. His manuscript would be my primary source during
For those who are not familiar with the above events, I will recap. The famous ant war was
between blue ants, led by Rumpus the Orange and red ants, led by Xing Ping the Atrocious.
The war took place over a short period on Mrs Robinson’s polished, mirror-like dining room
According to Globus, the ants had lived in harmony for years, each species respective of
which side of Mrs Robinson’s mirror-table they could invade to seek and retrieve bread
crumbs, yogurt spillage and blobs of marmalade. However, things changed dramatically with
the sudden arrival of a terrible disease that ravaged the red ant colony.
Nobody knew where the disease had come from. Some said parrot droppings, but no one
was sure. The disease spread rapidly through the red ant colony. It was so bad, according to
Globus, that Xing Ping the Atrocious humanely ordered the execution of 40 million red ants
to stop the spread of the now-called Parrot-21 disease. Unfortunately, the majority of the
slaughtered 40 million were worker ants, the ones who gathered the discarded offerings from
Mrs Robinson’s table.
When news of this reached the blue ant colony a spokes ant for the colony said that no blue
ant would ever catch Parrot-21. The next day she was dead from the disease and Parrot-21
spread rapidly through the blue ant colony. In days, some 40 million blue ants, again mostly
workers, died of Parrot-21.
Food was now becoming scarce in both ant colonies because of the huge death rate among
worker ants. Rumpus the Orange was furious. He called the disease a ‘Red Ant Disease’.
Wearing a blue ant-sized baseball cap with bold blue writing on it saying ‘Make Blue Ants
Great Again’ he rallied his ant colony.
According to Globus, Rumpus the Orange gave his colony a rallying speech:
‘Ask not what your ant colony can do for you, but ask what we can I get from the other side of Mrs Robinson’s table!’
Stirring words indeed.
Not to be outdone, Xing Ping the Atrocious also gave his ant colony a rousing speech.
Quoting Confusion, an ancient but wise old red ant, Xing Ping said:
‘Confusion say, red ant with one leg is worth two more than blue ant with four legs.’
Again, stirring stuff. Within days, millions of red ants had ripped off three of their legs to
prove that Confusion was correct. According to Globus, Xing Ping the Atrocious then
introduced a new slogan for all red ants.
‘One leg good, four legs bad!’
Food was now scarce, making war inevitable. Rumpus the Orange talked long and hard
about going over to the other side, meaning the red ant side of Mrs Robinson’s table. Xing
Ping also talked tough about going over to the other side, again meaning the blue side of Mrs
Browsing through Globus’s manuscript I found all this fascinating. To think that ants
would stoop to this. Killing and blaming each other, exchanging nasty words, wanting war. I
was glad I was a human being and above all this.
War came one night after Mrs Robinson had given her mirror-topped dining room table a
clean and polish. A good clean meant that scraps of food were scarce. This meant that the
survival of the ant colonies was on the line.
According to Globus, the red ants attacked first, though they claimed that the blue ants
attacked first. Whatever, it was war. Fighting over corn flake droppings, the causalities
mounted . Thousands of one-legged red ants perished. Equally, thousands of blue ants also
died as their leaders, giving orders from the safety of their respective ant colonies, sent wave
after wave onto the mirror-table, over to the other side and to their deaths.
The slaughter was appalling as Mrs Robinson attested to the following morning. According
to Globus, Mrs Robinson wiped the table clean of dead ants, said something about mirror
polish being expensive, then, holding up a dirty cloth Vivien Leigh-like, vowed to have the
mirror-topped table removed. Two days later she sold it and the ant war was over.
As for my thesis, I completed it in time to present a lecture at the underwater University of
Bass Strait’s Department of Ant Conflicts, 33rd Annual Conference. As I drove my car into
the sea I was accompanied on the car radio by an old, but familiar Simon & Garfunkel song.
By the way, my lecture was a resounding success.