"One thing I don't understand—," Macie started.
"Don't get me started," Chevron said.
"No, do—do get him started, Macie!" I coaxed. I was starting to weary of this testy taste tester.
"Ants aren't the size of chickens," she finished.
"Usually," Chevron said.
"Always," Macie insisted.
"No," Chevron explained. "An ant—yes, an ant is smaller than any one chicken. But do you know how many ants there are on Earth?"
"I know how many chickens there are—" I offered. "Fifteen plus four...that's..." I counted on my fingers. "Practically twenty of them!"
"There are more ants on Earth than there are molecules in the Universe," Chevron asserted—with absolutely no shred of proof or scientific standing.
"Uh huh," Macie nodded, accepting the statement at face value.
"So you can imagine—imagine with me, would you? You can imagine just how easy it would be for those ants to assemble themselves as molecules assemble—into any shape or color or motive they'd like," Chevron said.
"Hence the chickens," Macie said.
"Hence the chickens," Chevron warned. "But I'm afraid the chickens are only the beginning. How many did you say there were?"
"Fifteen...sixteen...seventeen...eighteen..." I calculated. "Eighteen or nineteen, I think."
"Fifteen, remember, of the new ant variety," Chevron corrected. "But to make what looks like fifteen chickens takes many more ants than even you or I might surmise."
"Forty," I said boldly.
Chevron looked back; bold as his big eyes would allow: "Try forty thousand; nay, forty thousand thousand—"
"You mean a thousand times a thousand?" I asked.
"I mean just what I meant," he sent back. "I mean, you have to understand what you're dealing with here. Actor ants could be anything or anyone at any moment. Once you've seen 'em in action, you see 'em in inaction everywhere. Nowhere is safe from their thespian ways."
"Haha!" Macie laughed. Or was it a laugh? Or was it Macie?
"Trust me," Chevron said. "You'll never trust anyone ever again."
And he was right. I didn't trust a word of it!