Then the exterminator came and I liked him right away by the sound of his voice in the doorway talking to Ginger, crouching down, petting her, making some joke about the ants, but then he was all business: what have we got going on here? Show me. And out in the kitchen: how many, what size. And then all the facts about carpenter ants, their time to maturity and life span (18 years! 21 for the queen!), opening a cabinet where the honey was and seeing one there, him smiling and saying you and I are going to get to know each other real well pal, stabbing it with his finger and holding it up writhing, going on to describe their habits: the parent colony, likely set back from the house but as many as 15-20 satellite colonies possible in the house (15-20!), how you could follow their trail through the grass and what to do when you find it (call us, we’ll fucking nuke ’em!), the banal but self-assuring details of the treatment, how it kills because they preen just like cats, or by touching one another to communicate (because they don’t have lips), how it passes like a disease. Why exterminators all look like that, a bit off—but good to love what you do, it’s good. Death and mayhem is my business he says, and then we left for two hours for Beth’s house, took the cat and dog with us, came back, and it was all quiet again.